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Perhaps even more so than 2015’s heavily-billed Manny Pacquiao bout with the latter, people are chatting up a storm on social media.
This weekend’s fight isn’t just about fists though. It’s an excellent case study in marketing and branding, with both fighters hitting their social media channels with propaganda and snarky remarks aimed at their competitor’s already bloodied nose.
But in terms of sheer numbers alone, who wins the social media battle?
We’ve done some digging to compare Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather’s social media impact on four key social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. We’ve also thrown in Google Search data for good measure.
Here’s what we’ve found.
(Note: all information correct as of 25 August 2017).
Facebook: total fan page likes
K/O: Conor McGregor: 6.564-million
Winner: Floyd Mayweather: 13.303-million
There’s a clear winner here, and it’s Mayweather.
While Irishman Conor McGregor puts up a good fight, racking in over six-million likes and page follows, the American bests him by nearly double the audience on both important counters: follower and page likes.
“I know everyone’s excited to see my biggest fight ever… but blowing up my phone isn’t going to get you anywhere. I don’t have the tickets, but I have the talent!” he writes in one post.
McGregor on the other hand also finds time to verbally spar with Mayweather.
“A beautiful skull and a beautiful belt to add to my collection of skulls and belts,” he remarked in a post earlier this week.
His profile isn’t completely savage though. In a latest post, he clads his baby son in a dress suit, because, adorable.
Instagram: total followers
Winner: Conor McGregor: 17.336-million
K/O: Floyd Mayweather: 16.570-million
In a major upset, McGregor lands the final, bruising blow on Instagram by a 800 000-odd followers.
The Irishman’s feed shares similarities to his Facebook timeline, with a number of videos and pictures appearing on both. But McGregor seemingly has better success gaining traction on the image-centric Instagram. But that’s rather thanks to the content.
I mean, who can blame the world for liking this picture 1.9-million times (that was also posted to Facebook)? Incidentally, you’ll soon discover that both these personalities tend to publish similar posts to all channels simultaneously.
Floyd Mayweather on the other hand does boast a better post-to-page like ratio. But his feed is much less personal, often promoting brands and hollering at sponsors before plugging his actual daily life.
Even so, the American does post a viral baby picture or video once in a while.
The below is a short clip of his daughter on her birthday, which was viewed over 3.6-million times.
Twitter: total followers
K/O: Conor McGregor: 5.599-million
Winner: Floyd Mayweather: 7.419-million
The social network for big opinions confined by concise sentences… sounds perfect for two overly-cocky combat athletes, right?
In terms of the biggest users on Twitter, both fall far, far behind. But Mayweather wins this round yet again.
Look, their profiles aren’t safe spaces, and both get particularly proud of their possessions and lavish lifestyles along with their often brutish messages. But their fans do seem to like their rough, unpolished personas.
Full of Irish horse power I am going to run you over. pic.twitter.com/NtaczPEnVM
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) August 22, 2017
The above tweet received over 40 000 likes. But again, McGregor can seemingly be as gentle as a kitten too. The below cracked the 50 000 like barrier, once again, featuring his infant son.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) August 9, 2017
And this tweet? 70 000 likes.
Relaxing and watching some fights with my son Conor Jr. pic.twitter.com/8j36hwlqPF
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) August 8, 2017
Notably, Mayweather seemingly boasts superior reach on Twitter in terms of followers alone, but that’s only until you study individual post likes.
Where’s the engagement, Floyd?
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) July 27, 2017
The above post received just 5300 likes, and is among the more popular posts on his timeline these past two months.
Once again though, content is apparently shared across all social networks as noted earlier. This could be the reason for Twitter’s lower engagement.
YouTube: total subscribers and video views
TK/O: Conor McGregor: No official channel
Winner by TK/O: Floyd Mayweather: 163 574 subs, 42.49-million views
In terms of video though, there’s a clear winner if you simply browse the surface.
McGregor does not have a personal, verified YouTube channel. Mayweather does.
58 videos share a lifetime viewcount of 42-million for the American. With that said though, new uploads are sparse, with the newest video uploaded back in February 2016.
We should acknowledge that McGregor does have a non-official channel dubbed The Mac Life. It’s actually an entire brand, and stands as the Irishman’s news portal, covering a swathe of topics with him at the epicentre.
The Mac Life buries Mayweather’s channel, with 406 000 subscribers, and over 92-million lifetime video views. That’s across 234 videos, with the latest clip uploaded just this week.
YouTube isn’t the biggest platform for the athletes though. Their short, snappy marketing strategies seemingly suit the likes of Instagram and Facebook. YouTube has seen a rise in content creators in recent years, developing a fan base through unique content.
Notably, both have experimented with vlogging in the past, as seen in the above videos.
Finally, let’s talk about their impact on another often misunderstood social channel: Google Search.
Search trends can reveal hidden trends lurking behind social, and thankfully, Google Trends gives us a way to visualise just that.
“When we look at regional search interest for a topic, we’re looking at the search interest for that topic in a given region as a proportion of all searches on all topics on Google in that same place and time,” Google explains in a blog.
Pitting search strings “Conor McGregor” against “Floyd Mayweather” bears some notable results, especially when comparing worldwide search trends for the past five years and 90 days. (For the sake of clarity, Google included both topics and search terms for the below results).
Image: Search trends worldwide, 25 May 2017 – 25 August 2017 via Google Trends
Underdog McGregor seals the victory if both time frames are examined. While Mayweather’s tallest search spike is indeed taller than McGregor’s (thanks to his fight with Manny Pacquiao), McGregor has seen spikes more regularly post-July 2015. Incidentally, his first spike was thanks to a high profile win.
Yes, hype has been building ever since.
Image: Search popularity per region, 25 May 2017 – 25 August 2017 via Google Trends
The likes of Saudi Arabia, Kenya, and Pakistan show favour to Mayweather. This changes drastically when the time-frame is expanded to five years.
Image: Search trends worldwide, 25 May 2012 – 25 August 2017 via Google Trends
Here, McGregor’s relative obscurity is highlighted. Beyond Mayweather’s large red spike midway through 2015 (the Manny Pacquiao fight), McGregor begins to sneak into Google’s searchbar more often. This is remarkable, considering the Irishman’s inferiority in terms of social followers but seemingly corresponds with his reach on the likes of Twitter and Instagram.
Image: Search popularity per region, 25 May 2012 – 25 August 2017 via Google Trends
Finally, looking at Google Search’s regional trends across the five years, his current popular search nations were seemingly in Mayweather’s corner for the entire bout. South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Mexico also make appearances, suggesting that search for McGregor has gradually eclipsed searches for the American over time.
Of course, Google Search trends tend to change daily, so comparing these numbers to those farmed after the fight will be fun. Especially for the victor.
Your winner is…
There’s no winner in social, and to be fair, there are a slew of ifs and buts.
Floyd Mayweather boasts a larger audience on Twitter and Facebook, while McGregor wins on Instagram, recent Google Search trends and YouTube, if you include his subsidiary brands.
Frankly, who wins will come down to the bout on Sunday, and that fight itself will likely influence social trends for the duo for years to come.
Feature image: Conor McGregor via Facebook