Manchester United reveals 'Ole Effect' drove record surge on digital and social channels

Solskaer news drives Manchester United media records

Engagement on Manchester United’s owned media has dramatically increased following the hiring of caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The upshot comes after the dismissal of Jose Mourinho back in December.

Social data pegs Manchester United as the most engaged-with football club in the world, scoring eight times more engagements than rival Manchester City in the second half of December.

Following a lacklustre run of on-field results, Solksjaer has brought what is being called the 'Ole Effect' to the club, providing uplift to owned media and marketing channels. To outline this, Manchester United has shared exclusive figures with The Drum.

Online fans' renewed belief in the club comes after the team won five out of its last five games, although a fixture with third-placed Tottenham Hotspur (10 points ahead of United) looms.

On social media, according to Blinkfire Analytics, from 18 to 31 December, Manchester United boasted more Facebook, Instagram and Twitter engagements than any other club in the world, coming in at 55m. This was significantly ahead of second-place FC Barcelona (38.5m) and third-placed Liverpool FC (30m). It clocked in significantly above rival Man City which took 6.9m engagements across its channels.

It said that follower growth was up by 120% on an average week and also saw the fastest YouTube subscription rate since its relatively recent launch on the platform where it was already the most viewed club.

In the week starting 17 December, the club claims weekly website reach was up by 210% compared to the average week. Traffic was reportedly up by a factor of three upon average, and according to SimilarWeb had more visitors than Real Madrid and FC Barcelona’s sites.

In the same period, weekly app reach was up 70% on average. Without sharing figures, the club also claimed to have seen its highest ever downloads of the Manchester United app (outside of launch), the highest visits, reach, session duration and daily active users. Additionally, the app reached number one in the Apple Store’s sports category between 18-31 December according to AppAnnie.

A club source said: "Clearly what happens on the pitch comes first at Manchester United and everyone at the club understands that. Ole's arrival provided a massive surge of interest in the club’s own media channels globally, showing the importance of platforms such as the MU app, the website, and social media in reaching our fans around the world."

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