A report from Shunts 50Mil project has shown that the Australian sport and recreation industry’s social media footprint now stands at more than 64 million across 1,800 Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts.


  • 5 million likes/followers from 1,784 accounts
  • Average number of Twitter followers per account is over 20,000
  • Facebook has a channel market share of 70%
  • Average industry Instagram growth for Q1, 2017 was 7.64%
  • 5% of accounts are on LinkedIn

Follower Market Share

Facebook dominates the social media landscape of Australian sport with more than 70% of the total number of followers engaged with the platform.

Account Market Share

Graph shows the number of accounts from each channel as a percentage.

Account to Follower ‘Yield’

Facebook is the only social platform where account market share is in positive territory (IE. 41% of accounts delivers a total follower ‘return’ of 71%). The other three all under-perform on this metric with Instagram a slightly better bet than Twitter.

The social media channel that has struggled to resonate within the Australian sports industry is LinkedIn. It makes up 14.5% of the total number of accounts tracked but only provides a ‘return of investment’ equivalent to 0.5% of its total followers.

Average Followers Per Channel

Major sports drag channel averages higher

An interesting exercise seen in the chart above was to determine the average number of likes/followers per account monitored. The result for Facebook was 62,000. This is equivalent to a ranking just outside the top 100 nationally, between the Australian Paralympics Committee and the Kookaburras (Hockey). For twitter the result was over 22,000 putting the ‘average’ at number 99 nationally – between Prodrive Racing (V8 Supercars) and Athletics Australia.

In what is becoming a consistent trend across a number of 50Mil metrics Instagram outperformed Twitter with a 25,000 follower average from its 342 monitored accounts and footprint of 8.6M. This is equivalent to a ranking of 88 nationally, one-up on the Melbourne Rebels (Super Rugby) and just behind Etihad Stadium.

Bringing up the rear is LinkedIn that as can be seen by its ‘yield’ (see above) fell well short of its platform rivals with an average of just 1,200. This equates to a ranking of 66, ahead of the Perth Glory (A-League) and Basketball Australia accounts.

Median Followers Per Channel

With the National Sporting Organisations (NSO’s), major national championships and teams skewing the average counts into the stratosphere for a lot of sports it’s worthwhile to have a look at the median score for each of the channels. This offers a much more realistic KPI goal for many.

With 727 Facebook accounts monitored by the 50Mil project the media is number 363. Here you will find Triathlon Victoria with a follower count of 3,906. For Twitter the media is 228 with Athletics Queensland having 2,374 fans.

The median for Instagram is 171 and this spot is occupied by the Philip Island motorsport circuit in Victoria. Their follower count is 3,768. Finally on LinkedIn at number 129 you’d be looking to get the better of Super Netball side the Sunshine Coast Lightening who have 229 followers. 

Social Media Channel Growth

Northern Territory on a charge

A quick scan across the nations Q1, 2017 social media channel growth rates is enlightening. The Northern Territory might have the smallest social media footprint but it’s making-up ground posting an average for the quarter of 6.9% with Instagram growing at over 9%.

At the other end of the spectrum it was a quiet month in Queensland for Facebook with growth flat at 0.46%. The best performing state for twitter was New South Wales at 8.44% with the ACT barely troubling 50Mil on Facebook (0.06%) while delivering strong results on Instagram (7.45%)

Facebook National Breakdown

High-Performing Motorsport ‘Nomads’

Motorsport teams and national championships aren’t ‘tied’ or linked to a geographic location in the same way as participation based sports, events or venues. For this reason these sporting nomads have been given their own category. Inclusive of V8 Supercars teams this group performed well with just 30 accounts delivering a total Facebook count of 2.7M, equivalent to the fifth largest.

Twitter National Breakdown

Instagram National Breakdown


  • Survey period March – May 2017
  • States and territories include representative franchised teams from the following national championships; A-League, AFL, BBL, NRL, Super Netball, Super Rugby, V8 Supercars
  • NSO national championships; A-League, ABL, BBL, NBL, Super Netball, V8 Supercars, W-BBL, W-NBL and W-League
  • NSO national Teams; AOC, Australian Cricket Team, Australian Kangaroos Diamonds, Hockeyroos, Kookaburras, Matildas, Socceroos and Southern Stars
  • Sporting venues are listed where they are located
  • Motorsport teams and championships are listed separately (with the exception of V8 Supercars)


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