Facebook and Instagram dominate social rivals during US Open

    In Summary

    • The US Open enjoyed a successful tournament across social channels this year, though Wimbledon remains the biggest of the four Grand Slams by some distance.
    • Tennis fans flock to Facebook for updates about the Grand Slams, though Instagram (and to a lesser degree TikTok) are both slowly closing the gap.
    • For players, Instagram is by far the most significant platform, offering fans popular behind-the-scenes glimpses into their lives both on and off the court.

    Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek brought the 2022 US Open to an end with victory at Flushing Meadows over the weekend. This year’s edition was the best-attended in the tournament’s history as a total of 776,120 fans watched the curtain fall on the Grand Slam season.

    It’s been another year of incredible drama and controversy, as established legends have shone, young stars have emerged, and the likes of Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios have grabbed the headlines – not always for the right reasons. But how have events on the court affected commercial performance off it?

    To find out, we’ve looked at the official Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok accounts of the US Open and the four Men’s and Women’s Singles finalists during the course of the tournament: Tuesday 23rd August through to the day after the Men’s Final, Monday 12th September.

    For additional context, we’ve also explored the social media growth of the other Grand Slams when they were being played: the Australian Open (17th – 31st January); the French Open (22nd May – 6th June); and Wimbledon (27th June – 11th July). Finally, there’s a special mention for Serena Williams, whose emotional final match before retirement drew huge attention on social.

    Facebook dominates, but Instagram and TikTok are growing

    We’ll start by focusing purely on the US Open. At both the start and end of the tournament, Facebook was its biggest social profile, with the platform earning an extra 103,710 followers to finish on 4.45m.

    Instagram has only around half that (2.36m by the tournament’s close), but it added more followers than any other channel. Around 157k accounts followed the official Instagram during the tournament – a growth of 7.16%.

    TikTok lags far behind in terms of raw numbers, but its percentage growth is higher than any other platform: starting the tournament on 705k followers and ending it on 783k, it added 78k followers to grow by 11.05%.

    Instagram is the fastest growing across all Grand Slams

    Facebook is also the most important platform when we look at the data for all four Grand Slams. With a total of 14.9m people following the Grand Slam accounts on Facebook, it’s comfortably the premiere destination for fans looking to discover the latest news, interviews and results from the tournaments. Twitter (10.30m) lags some 4m behind, with Instagram ranking third on 10.27m.

    Things are slowly changing though. Across this season, no other platform has provided the same level of growth for the four Grand Slams as Instagram, with a total of 747,488 additional followers joining over the course of the tournaments. TikTok enjoyed the second highest growth, with 475,600 followers joining.

    Breaking the data down by tournament, we see that Wimbledon remains the standout competition, with a total of 14.2m followers across the four major channels. The US Open (9.9m), French Open (8.17m) and Australian Open (7.04m) simply can’t compete.

    Wimbledon dominates when it comes to each individual platform as well: it has more raw followers than every other tournament across the four channels, and grew more too, adding 230k followers on Instagram, 200k on TikTok, 101k on Facebook, and 81k on Twitter.  

    Players shine on Instagram

    When it comes to players, clear conclusions are slightly more difficult to draw. Of the four finalists, only two (Alcaraz and Jabeur) have TikTok channels, but their success (Alcaraz has 230,500 followers and Jabeur 119,800), as well as the strength of the tournament pages, suggests that setting up channels may be worthwhile for players who don’t currently have one.

    Looking beyond TikTok, Facebook’s dominance wanes. When we totalled up the followings of the four finalists across all four platforms, Instagram outperforms Facebook by just under two million followers: 3.67m versus 1.83m. Twitter ranks third with a total of 971k followers, with TikTok on 350k from Alcarez and Jabeur’s accounts alone.

    Unsurprisingly, as winners, Swiatek and Alcaraz grew significantly during the tournament – Swiatek now has a cumulative 1.78m followers, while Alcaraz has 2.37m – and Jabeur is performing strongly too, with 2.28m. Only Ruud struggles, with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook combining to provide him with 391k followers.

    Serena soars

    Finally, this post wouldn’t be complete without mention of Serena Williams, whose incredible career came to an end in the Third Round.

    Having announced her retirement before the tournament’s start, Williams was always one of the event’s big tickets and the increased interest in her was reflected on social, as she generated 638k additional followers.

    Again, Instagram emerges as the major story here, with 214,743 of that 638k (33.64%) coming to Instagram during the weekend of her Third Round exit (Friday 2nd – Sunday 4th September) alone. Across the whole tournament, Williams’ Instagram grew by 448,997, putting TikTok (100k), Facebook (46k) and Twitter (42k) in the shade.

    To learn more about this data or find out how DataPOWA can help you understand commercial performance, get in touch with us at [email protected].