National Olympic Committees (NOCs) around the world have a combined social media size of 28.4 million, with more than half of them coming from the Americas, a new survey has revealed.

The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Social Media Survey, conducted by Redtorch sports marketing agency, analysed the social media performance of all 206 NOCs worldwide on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube between January and August 2020.

Among the key findings was that 91 per cent of NOCs have at least one social media profile, of which 63 per cent were on Facebook.

A figure of 53 per cent of the total audience is from NOCs in the Americas, representing a figure of 15 million.

The better-performing NOCs on social media have a higher number of Olympians and Olympic medals.

Connectivity factors, including internet penetration and speed, have an impact on social media performance.

Other key findings included that 60 per cent of NOCs have between two and four people working on their social media channels but only 21 per cent have staff dedicated to maintaining them on a full-time basis.

While 80 per cent of NOCs have social media integrated into their strategic plan, just 37 per cent have a documented social media strategy.

The biggest challenges facing NOCs on social media typically relate to content creation and lack of resources.

The two areas on which they would most like to focus to improve their social media are branding and content creation.

The United States, with a total media following of 7.2 million, accounts for more than a quarter of the overall total size of traffic around the world and 48 per cent in the Americas.

Europe has a combined media size of 8 million, the second largest of the continents.

Particularly impressive is that the Czech Republic has the largest YouTube following in Europe with 78,200 subscribers, second worldwide after the US.

Of the 28.4 million social media followers, 17.8 million are on Facebook, 6.5 million are on Twitter, 3.7 million are on Instagram and 400,000 are on YouTube.

Other interesting statistics include that 82 per cent of Africa’s total social media size is on Facebook at 400,000, the highest of all continents.

Oceania is the only continent with a higher proportion of fans on Instagram at 16 per cent, compared to Twitter at 13 per cent.

Europe, at 59 per cent, and the Americas, with 60 per cent, have the lowest proportion of total fans on Facebook and the highest proportion on Twitter at 24 and 25 per cent respectively.

Asia has the second largest proportion of its fans on Facebook at 74 per cent and the second lowest proportion of fans on Instagram at eight per cent.

The US, with 4.1 million, Brazil, with 2.3 million, and Britain with 1.6 million have the largest Facebook accounts.

America’s Facebook account has been boosted by 88,600 new likes this year, the most of any NOC, ahead of Brazil with 41,400 and Jordan with 27,800.

When it comes to Twitter, the US dwarves every other NOC with two million - more than a million ahead of its closest rival, Britain with 874,400.

Canada, with 742,700, Japan, with 412,000, and Brazil, on 363,800 complete the top five.

The report reserves special praise for El Salvador and Rwanda, with followings of 18,400 and 7,200 respectively, which it says, "despite being in lower-ranked connectivity and Olympian groups…have been able to amass relatively high followings as the result of frequent posting."

The US also have the largest following on Instagram with 860,500.

That is more than double the second most followed country, which again is Britain with 318,200, who are marginally ahead of Canada on 315,900 and Brazil on 260,500.

YouTube is the most under-utilised of the social media networks, with only 55 per cent of NOCs having an account, of which only one in three posted in the period surveyed.

The London-based Redtorch grouped NOCs by factors that might impact their social media performance to benchmark and analyse which performed best in each social network in each of the five continents.

The assumption was that the bigger NOCs by social media size were likely to generate more engagements and amass more followers, but they took into account population size and how big each social media was.

Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube
Africa Kenya Nigeria Kenya Morocco
Americas United States Canada United States United States
Asia Uzbekistan Uzbekistan Japan Japan
Europe Romania Austria Great Britain Czech Republic
Oceania Australia Australia Australia New Zealand

Notable by its absence in the research was China, where most social media networks are banned by the Government. 

To read the full report click here.