The on-field rivalry between LaLiga giants Real Madrid vs Barcelona rivalry is matched by fierce competition off the pitch in the form of social media following. I’ve been tracking the progress of these famous Spanish clubs over the past 6 months over different social media platforms.
Whilst Real continues to lead the way, the Catalans are making up ground fast. The current state of play can be seen below (the table updates hourly, so what you see will have actually stayed current since the publishing of this article on 8th April 2019).
This really does illustrate how much of a 2 (maybe 3 if you include Atletico Madrid) team competition!
As of today, 8th April 2019, Barcelona are about to enter into a Champions League quarter-final with Manchester United, with Lionel Messi leading the way. Real Madrid, on the other hand, are (for their high standards of success), not doing very well at all. Knocked out of the Champions League already (by surprise package, Ajax) and sitting third behind Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the LaLiga table, Los Blancos are suffering.
Losing their superstar player Cristiano Ronaldo seemed to have an almighty impact in terms of their success on the pitch and it was reflected on social media, and felt particularly hard on Instagram. Using Instagram as the main measure for indication of player and club image and thus popularity/following, take a look at how the gap is narrowing:
The first data point was recorded in October 2018, when Real had a “lead” of 3,543,793 over Barca in Instagram followers. Today, the Madrid club have surpassed 70 million followers and are to be congratulated on the achievement (70,552,670) – the first club in the world to reach the landmark. Barcelona are, however, cutting the gap with 67,741,220 followers – and are now just 2,811,450 followers behind. That is a difference in the size of the gap of 732,343 followers in just 25 weeks.
So how do we attribute this difference? It can only really come down to three main factors: a) On-field success, b) The social media appeal of each clubs’ star players and c) The execution of the clubs’ Instagram accounts.
While the number of followers on social media might not at first seem like a very interesting point, it helps drive profits to clubs which they need to compete as the sums of money paid to players reaches more and more lofty levels. At this rate, Barcelona look set to steak Real’s crown on Instagram in two years’ time. However, as we know too well, Real Madrid don’t accept defeat in anything without a fight and will surely hit back in 2019/20 season.