New Research From Unmetric Reveals Holiday Social Media Trends for Sportswear Brands

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Instagram dominates engagement for sportswear brands, emojis fall flat

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Unmetric, the leading brand-focused social media intelligence company, today released new research that uncovers how 30 sportswear brands and sub-brands doing business in the U.S. have embraced social media and the trends that emerged in the industry during Q4 of each year from 2013 to 2016.

The 14 parent brands analyzed in Unmetric’s report across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter include: Nike, Converse, Lululemon, Head, Under Armour, Outdoor Voices, JustFab, Fabletics, Adidas, Wilson, Asics, Jordan, Puma, and Reebok. The insights from the report were the result from analysis of 227.6 million user interactions across 40,355 pieces of brand content.

Unmetric Discover, a searchable database of over 500,000,000 pieces of brand content, surfaced the four most popular topics in Q4 of 2016 that sportswear brands talked about on social media. This includes new collection launches (684 brand mentions), fitness (1,544 brand mentions), holidays (14,280 brand mentions), and winter (3,945 brand mentions).

As is the case with many retail brands, Instagram dominates engagement with sportswear brands. The reports shows that 90% of all user engagement occurs on Instagram for the industry. For every user interaction on Facebook, there are nearly 10 interactions on Instagram. Instagram posts also garner twice as many user comments compared to Facebook.

While emojis became a huge trend across all industries over the past several years, an analysis of 57 million user interactions on Instagram for the sportswear brands analyzed revealed that posts that contain emojis receive just 30% of the interactions than posts with no emojis. A single hashtag however increases user interactions on Instagram by 80%. More than one hashtag per post produces diminishing returns.

For sportswear brands, the holiday season starts on social media in November. Holiday content increases week on week until it peaks on Christmas Day. This suggests that brands are more comfortable talking about the holidays in general than Christmas in particular. Fabletics had the largest share of voice around holiday content with 89 posts. This was 30% of the total brand mentions of the holidays. Adidas Originals dominated engagement around the holidays. Its 11 holiday posts generated 807,000 user interactions, which was 61% of the total user interactions around the holidays.

Other Key Trends Include:

  • Interactions per post have grown each year.

Interactions per post have grown by 143% since 2013. While organic reach is at an all-time low on Facebook, sportswear brands have managed to increase the interactions per post by 44% since 2013. Adidas Originals earned 30% of total user interactions across all brands in Q4 2016 with 19.3 million interactions on 152 posts. Nike posted less frequently but made its content count with 128,000 user interactions on 46 posts.

  • Video content has increased and creates more engagement.

In 2013, just 3.1% of all brand content were videos. In 2016, this rose to 11.1% and looks set to rise even further. In 2016, this 11.1% was responsible for 25% of all user interactions (excluding video views). On Facebook, video content generated 63% more interactions per post than photos, while on Instagram, videos fared better by 36%. Fabletics led the pack, publishing 4x more videos than the average sportswear brand.

  • Video content grows in importance for the banking industry.

There was a 631% increase in video content published by banks since 2013. 59% of TD Bank US’ posts on Facebook were videos in 2017. BMO Harris Bank was a close second with 56% of posts being videos. Capital One generated the most interactions on its videos published on Twitter, but its animated GIFs saw almost four times more interactions per tweet.

  • Published content drops between October and December.

The hypothesis that published content would increase throughout the holiday season turned out to be incorrect. Content actually drops by an average of 10% between October and December. Published content has traditionally peaked in the last week of October and first week of November. Christmas Day saw the least amount of content published, but in terms of interactions per post, it was one of the best days to publish content in the quarter.

The full report with additional data and insights is available here.

About Unmetric
Unmetric, an enterprise solution for branded content analysis and discovery, harvests social brand signals to help digital marketers, analysts, and content strategists to analyze, discover and track branded content in order to create better content and campaigns of their own. Hundreds of the world’s largest and respected brands and digital agencies including American Airlines, The Chicago Bulls, Tiffany & Co., General Motors, GroupM, and Ogilvy use Unmetric to access AI-powered insights from the owned channels of over 100,000 qualified brands across more than 30 sectors on all major social networks including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. The company was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in New York City with offices in Chennai, India and the U.S. For more information, visit

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Peter Moran
Indicate Media
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