Cristiano Ronaldo lost almost five million social media followers after his move to Al Nassr according to new analysis by CLV Group.
Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo lost almost five million social media followers in the days following his move to Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, according to a new analysis by leading data and insights company, CLV Group.
The news will come as a blow to Ronaldo’s commercial team – an influencer with five million followers on social media can command up to £50,000 for a social media post. It will also prompt fears that he could struggle to stay relevant following the move to Saudi Arabia, especially as Lionel Messi is more popular than ever after Argentina’s World Cup win in Qatar. The two are re-united this week when Messi’s Paris St Germain team meet an XI selected from Al Nassr and Al Hilal in Riyadh.
The CLV Group found that:
Ronaldo’s social reach fell by 4.5% thanks to the Saudi move
In Brazil, 600,000 unfollowed Ronaldo
Most of the decline happened in Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries
323,000 unfollowed him in Mexico and 292,673 did the same in Colombia
Only 6% who unfollowed Ronaldo are Man Utd fans.
His social clout actually increased among Man Utd fans who also follow him, rising from 17.6% to 18.2%
CLV’s analysis also reveals that, despite fears to the contrary, Ronaldo’s departure from United has barely dented the club’s following. Of the five million people who unfollowed him, the same proportion continue to follow United (6% compared to 6.6% before the move).
So what’s driving the drop-off in Ronaldo’s followership? CLV Co-founder and Chief Executive Neil Joyce says the analysis reveals the answer:
“The data tells us that the people tuning out of Ronaldo’s socials are typically not hard-core football fans. Instead, they are more likely to be interested in profiles that create celebrity gossip, reality TV, fashion and lifestyle content. What’s actually happening here is that, for these people, Ronaldo’s move is taking him out of the centre of these worlds and making him less relevant to what they’re interested in. The flip side to that is that his remaining followers are more likely to be football-centric. That makes it even more important that he remains a success in the game if he’s to keep up his commercial reach.”
This insight also speaks to the differences in the followerships of the two great stars of the global game, Messi and Ronaldo.
CLV also analysed Messi’s followers, compared them to Ronaldo’s and found:
Messi’s followers are more likely to be interested in football, compared to Ronaldo’s (96% vs. 89%).
Messi followers are into gaming, with 65% following video-gaming profiles
Ronaldo’s followers are into TV and only 35% of his fans follow gaming profiles
Puma is a favourite brand of Messi followers, while Ronaldo’s prefer Nike
Neil Joyce says that the data shows what many analysts overlook:
“The footballing stories of Ronaldo and Messi are closely intertwined, but off the pitch – and commercially – it’s a different story. Messi’s social following is understandably rooted in South America but it’s also strong in Africa. Ronaldo’s followers are more global but also skew towards Spanish-speaking markets. And while Ronaldo’s followers tend to be more interested in celebrity, Messi’s are more of a traditional football market. Whatever the result is this week, commercially both of them win when we see a match-up like this again.”
Countries where most Ronaldo ‘unfollows’ took place:
Country Unfollows %
BRAZIL 628,001 15%
SPAIN 455,354 11%
MEXICO 323,202 8%
COLOMBIA 292,673 7%
UK 228,785 6%
USA 225,649 5%
VENEZUELA 183,622 4%
IRELAND 179,274 4%
INDONESIA 174,441 4%
TURKEY 169,428 4%