With Euro 2016 kicking off imminently, excitement is reaching fever pitch. Balls will be kicked, goals scored and questionable offsides called. Roy Keane, owner of the most piercing death stare in football, will also be in attendance so there’s a good chance an journalist will be entertainingly annihilated at a press conference. Every great sporting event needs its moment of schadenfreude.
As usual, fans will support their teams by becoming representatives of their nation’s cliches; the French with their tricolore berets, the Irish as cheeky leprechauns, the English boozed and sunburnt. However, there’s a relatively new and rapidly expanding dimension to the tournament, the torrent of fan generated social media activity.
After indexing millions of social media posts from ten sample countries, The 7th Chamber is proud to present an exclusive insight into the online audience of the continent's gigantic festival of football.
Euro 2016: Football Fan Audience Insights
- Men love football, but women are tuning in too. Guys still constitute the majority of the football audience, particularly in Germany and Turkey, where 61% and 69% of the audiences are male respectively. However, across the ten territories surveyed, females constitute a significant chunk (43.6%) of the Euro 2016 audience.
- You can win with kids. 65% of the online male Euro audience is aged under 34, while 62.5% of the female audience are also similarly young. Turkey has the youngest fans, with 73% of its online supporters under 34. The older generations are watching of course, but not in the same volume as the kids.
- The beautiful game spans demographics. At 36%, Germany has highest proportion of fans with less than a university level education. 67.5% of the football fans surveyed are educated to degree level. An impressive 7% of Belgian fans are educated to postgraduate level, the highest proportion of any country. As well as spanning education grades, the Euro 2016 audience will range from ABC1 to C2DE.
- Northern Irish fans love to engage. It makes sense. The country is celebrating its first ever qualification for the Euros. Over the last 30 days, the Northern Irish fans have, on average, commented, liked and shared more than any others. They’ve also been the most likely to click on sponsored stories. In total, users in the country have averaged a fervent 79 post interactions in just one month. The more restrained German fans registered 36 interactions over the same period. Winning all of those tournaments must have been surprisingly boring for Die Mannschaft.
- Second screen is key. A large group, 46.5% of football fans, will be accessing social media exclusively via mobile devices this summer. There’s only a minority of countries (e.g. France and Turkey) where desktop only use exceeds 9% of social traffic. When we looked across participant audiences, 92.5% of users will be browsing on mobile at some point during the tournament. Throughout Euro 2016, fans will have mobile devices firmly in hand.
- Apple rules English speaking countries, but not everywhere. While the largest group (25%) of English and Welsh social media users are browsing social media on iPhone, Android is more popular in Germany (28%), Spain (35%) and Turkey (33%). Blackberry is dead last in all territories. The once great telecomms company failed to capture more than 1% of social media users in any surveyed territory.
- Facebook users don’t always use the app. Mobile web accounts for 24% of average usage - a fairly large chunk of users who may be saving the battery life of their phones by avoiding Facebook’s native app.
No matter which team ends up raising the trophy, this is certain to be the most digitally led tournament in the Euros’ history. For users, mobile devices will be central to their experience of the event. It’s digital natives and millennials who have most readily adopted social media and it’s this age group, who make up so much of the Euro audience, that will most influence the tournament’s broadcast online.
Fans on social are now co-creators of key content that drives the tournament experience. The story is now not just being told by the journalists, brands and big media, but also by the audiences.
Written by James Pullin