How Sportswear Brands Use Social Media Today

Social media intelligence company Unmetric released research on how 30 sportswear brands operating in the U.S. have used social media and the trends that emerged in the industry during Q4 of each year from 2013 to 2016.

Discover, Unmetric's searchable database of brand content, surfaced the four most popular topics in Q4 of 2016 that sportswear brands talked about on social media. The most frequent topics included collection launches (684 brand mentions), fitness (1,544 brand mentions), holidays (14,280 brand mentions), and winter (3,945 brand mentions).

Unmetric also found that as is the case with many retailers, Instagram dominates engagement with sportswear brands. The report shows that 90 percent of all user engagement occurs on Instagram for the industry, and for every one user interaction on Facebook, there are nearly 10 interactions on Instagram. Instagram posts also result in 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 percent of the interactions than posts with no emojis. A single hashtag however increases user interactions on Instagram by 80 percent. More than one hashtag per post produces diminishing returns.

Other notable trends highlighted in the report include: 

+ Interactions per post have grown each year: Interactions per post have grown by 143 percent 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 percent since 2013.

+ Video content has increased and creates more engagement: In 2013, just 3.1 percent of all brand content were videos. In 2016, this rose to 11.1 percent and looks set to rise even further. In 2016, this 11.1 percent was responsible for 25 percent of all user interactions (excluding video views).

Published content drops between October and December: Unmetric's hypothesis that published content would increase throughout the holiday season turned out to be incorrect. Content actually drops by an average of 10 percent 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.