We’re only one week away from the release of our third annual #SportOnSocial – THE report analysing the social media performance of all 35 Olympic International Federations.  
In anticipation of its release, we have our attention firmly on the present and the relevant here are the trends we predict to see take hold of social in the next 12 months. 
If you’re a sports rights holder, considering these trends when creating your digital strategy could improve your social media performance and boost your chances of topping our 2020 #SportOnSocial league table! 


A growing number of Stories 

Like them or not, Stories aren’t going anywhere. They’ve proved successful on Instagram and Snapchat; while not yet as popular on Facebook, 63% of Facebook users plan to use them more.  
Now that mobile social media usage overhauls that of desktop (52% to 43% respectively), Stories are tailored for the smartphone. They enable a form of digital storytelling that gives instant access to an event and enables greater connection between Federation and fan. 

Increasing use of paid advertising 

Paid advertising continues to rise, in use and in price. Our top tip? Make sure you apply the same content strategy as you do for organic – it’s vital to produce consistent creative that is personal to your audienceAlways remember why you’re producing content, and for whom. 
Nike’s use of Facebook carousel with an added personal touch is a prime example of paid advertising executed well.


Rising engagement  

Engagement. Engagement. Engagement. Instagram’s consistent creation of interactive tools makes it easy for rights holders to engage their fans. Polls, questions and the emoji slider are examples that drive audience interaction and provide useful customer feedback data for your brand. 

Expansion of IGTV 

This standalone vertical video application, made primarily for smartphones, launched in June 2018 and is set to really take off this year. It’s a powerful tool that delivers in-the-moment content to users, creating greater interactive relationships.  
The inclusion of IGTV video previews in the main feed gives an indication that Instagram are looking to push this feature in 2019. Great news for sports rights holders who have a wealth of long-form content. 


 Extending LIVE coverage 

Twitter will continue to be the social media platform for real-time debateAs a sports rights holder, it’s important to be part of these conversations to stay relevant to your audience. If done correctly, there are serious gains to be made as a brand by adding value to the twitter conversation around live sports events. If done badly, the consequences can be severe. Approach with caution. 


Moving from short- to long-term strategy 

In 2017, an average 67% of views would come within the first 24 hours of content publication. By the end of 2018, this figure had dropped to around 28%. Strategy is moving from short- to long-term and it’s important to ensure all content is updated with improved thumbnails.  
Content that ignites a sense of nostalgia is becoming increasingly popular, with many turning to YouTube to re-watch previous sporting events.  Whether it’s the Olympic Games of Champions League football, rights holders can capitalise on this trend. By using content from previous events, rights holders not only create engagement in the present – they generate future excitement for upcoming events.

Highlights, highlights! 

Audiences are turning more often to YouTube for ‘highlights’ videos. The battle for attention is still raging, and social media users no longer need or want to watch an entire event in realtime to feel a part of it. 
It has never been more important to move with the times. Remain adaptable to change and work with current trends and it could be your Federation topping our 2020 #SportOnSocial league table.
The question for now, though – where will your Federation rank? The countdown is on…  
Sign up for early access to #SportOnSocial 2019 below.