Channel 4's 'We're the Superhumans' Paralympics ad is racing ahead of BBC’s Rio 2016 campaign in terms of social engagement

The starting pistols have yet to be fired at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but away from the stadiums in Brazil there’s a race going on between UK broadcasters on social media.

Both BBC Sports and Channel 4 have released spots to showcase their coverage of the Olympics and Paralympics, with the latter’s 'We’re the Superhumans' campaign outperforming its competitor on social.

Data from short-form social video analytics firm Burst Insights measured all official or owned content from both BBC Sport and Channel 4’s Twitter Instagram and Vine accounts between 12 and 14 July when the ads were launched. The figures exclude data from Facebook, YouTube and other platforms.

Engagement wise, the network’s in-house 'Superhumans' campaign amassed over 16,000 engagement retweets and likes on Twitter last week on @Channel4, compared to BBC’s wildlife filled 'The Greatest Show on Earth' animation, which clocked up just 562 engagements on Twitter after being posted to @BBCSports' official page.

Unlike Channel 4’s campaign, BBC Sport’s spot was also posted to Instagram, garnering over 5000 views and 1245 likes, but the figures still paled in comparison to Channel 4’s Twitter-only video snippets.

Channel 4’s engagement rate equated to 2.16 per cent of its total following of 774,041, and eclipsed BBC Sport’s engagement rate which was equal to just 0.01 per cent of its 5.94 million Twitter fans.

While Channel 4 has a lower base of followers, the figures show those who do keep an eye on its timeline have been more engaged with its Olympics advertising so far.

In addition, the BBC only posted its Rio 2016 ad on dedicated sports' Twitter page once between 12 and 14 July, with Channel 4 choosing to post videos related to its campaign four times in the same timeframe; something which could also have had some bearing on the amount of likes and retweets BBC's received in comparison.

According to a recent Crowdtap study, Rio Olympics are poised to be the most social yet, with millennials and Gen Z indicating that they will engage extensively on social platforms, especially Snapchat.