How Weibo Reacted to the UCL Final
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
Despite a 2:45 am kick off, the 2018 UEFA Champions League Final was a big big deal in China. Here is our rundown of how it was approached and received on China’s biggest social media platform, Weibo.
Interestingly, Liverpool, not Real Madrid, had the most engaged post of this week. The post showed a photo of Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp consoling a devastated Mo Salah as he left the pitch following his injury. The caption quoted the words of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. The post received over 7,444 total engagements.
Real’s top post was Weibo’s generated “Champions League Winners” graphic (6,341+ engagements)
Mailman Take: Clubs can profit from the emotion of big occasions like this. The final result showed the loyalty of Liverpool fans as the vast majority of comments were positive.
The two clubs drew all of the attention online this weekend. Both teams had a very similar volume of posts. In the period of Saturday and Sunday (26th – 27th May) the clubs had the following total engagement across all of their posts:
Real: 56K total engagements, 784 average engagement
Liverpool: 34.9K total engagements (10x more than 3rd placed Chelsea), 466 average engagement
Mailman Take: Real’s 63% higher total engagement was predominantly through more than double the number of Liverpool’s likes. That said, it is important to note that Liverpool’s posts were 40% more commented on than Real’s (9.6K vs. 6.9K), representing a much higher quality of engagement.
Both clubs’ official UCL final hashtags had a high exposure.
Liverpool ( #决战基辅#): 21.75 million total reads, 19,000 discussions
Mailman Take: Real’s Hashtag was a “Super Hashtag”, meaning that it was owned by Weibo (rather than the club’s account) and therefore attracted more exposure through promotion and recommendations among a larger audience than a regular hashtag. This demonstrates the benefit of a partnership with Weibo and represents a good case study for organisations considering a similar partnership with the platform.
Both clubs were among the 3 fastest growing clubs during Saturday and Sunday (26th – 27th May):
Real: 5,300+ new followers (#1 fastest growing)
Liverpool: 3,600+ new followers (#3 fastest growing)
Mailman Take: The majority of Real’s follower growth is a result of the extra exposure they received, not that winning their 3rd consecutive title harmed their efforts.
Our favourite takeaway from what we’ve seen during this year’s final is that for the top teams that have build a strong digital following in China, emotion is more important to the fans than winning. This is a trend that we have been seeing for a while. For example, one of Novak Djokovic’s most engaged posts of all time was his reaction to his loss to Stan Wawrinka in the 2015 Roland Garros final. This shows how attached fans in China are to their favourite teams and athletes, something which they are sometimes not given credit for.
It’s also worth noting that UEFA’s official Weibo account is currently inactive. They have not posted for over a year and their only activation was an official, invite-only, viewing party held in Shanghai which was part of a global initiative.