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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Collins


Updated: Jun 19, 2019

Mailman Group released the ‘Red Card: 2013 China Digital Champions League‘ that addressed teams’ digital competency across the two key spaces which dominate the Chinese social media landscape: Sina and Tencent Weibo.

Western football clubs and international brands face a major challenge in China’s digital market, where familiar outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are non-existent and an entirely parallel social media ecosystem has emerged.

To provide deeper industry insight and help marketers better understand how football clubs are using specific social media marketing techniques, we analyzed 14 teams’ accounts across 5 verticals: total follower numbers, official presence, engagement rate, localization and popularity.

We are seeing more and more football clubs powering their way through the intricate world of Chinese social media” said Andrew Collins, CEO of Mailman Group. “Insights from this study not only confirm that Chinese consumers have a strong interest in European football, but it is also a wake-up call to the market’s biggest players.

Fifty-seven percent of clubs have an official account on both Sina and Tencent Weibo – a presence that facilitates consumers’ trust and connection with the team. The results of this study provide a benchmark for marketers to gauge their online success in China, and a basis upon which they can assess their own digital strategies.

Key insights of this study include:

– 40% of fans follow a club because of a specific player, not the club’s history – Tencent users will retweet 8 times more often than comment. – As follower numbers increase, a page’s engagement rate decreases. – Approximately 30% of Chinese social media football fans are female – User generated fan pages are growing exponentially as knowledge of the sport spreads in the country

To download the full report, go to: 2013 China Digital Champions League

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