Study: F1 sees social engagement decline for first time since 2018

Dominance of Red Bull and Max Verstappen appearing to turn fans away.

Study: F1 sees social engagement decline for first time since 2018

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  • Mentions fall 70.7%; new followers down 49.2%; social reach down 64.1%
  • Terms like ‘boring’ and ‘disappointing’ increasing in usage among social conversations

Formula One’s social engagement has declined for the first time since 2018, according to a study by Buzz Radar.

Prior to this season, social engagement, which includes things like mentions, new followers and social reach, had been growing year-over-year.

However, it appears this peaked in 2022, with mentions declining 70.7 per cent, new followers down 49.2 per cent and social reach down 64.1 per cent so far this season.

Buzz Radar also analysed the tone of fan conversation on social media and found phrases like ‘not good’, ‘boring’ and ‘disappointing’ were all increasing in usage while ‘love’, ‘great’ and ‘fun’ were all declining.

The report concluded: ‘The data comparison between 2022 and 2023 revealed significant drops in the overall mentions of F1, along with dismal numbers in the growth of new followers of high-profile accounts.

‘The reach of F1-related content across various social platforms has also receded, in stark contrast to the steady progress observed yearly before. But, the declining numbers are only one part of the story.

‘The social data from 2023 also offered insight into a fundamental shift in conversation about F1: a noticeable upswing in the use of negative adjectives associated with the sport.

‘Words like 'boring' and 'annoying' are now becoming high-frequency descriptors, replacing erstwhile positive words like 'interesting' and 'exciting'.’

The conclusion reached by Buzz Radar is that Red Bull and Max Verstappen’s dominance is seeing interest wane, with 2016 and 2021 the most talked about seasons before 2022, years in which there were close title battles.

Last season appeared to benefit from the wave of popularity off the back of Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s championship fight, but 2023 seems to be going in the direction of 2017 and 2018 when Hamilton was dominant. Mentions for 2023 are currently on course to fall 20 per cent compared to last season.

However, it should be noted that fan interest is more passionate than it ever has been before, with a one per cent increase in negative conversations and a 27 per cent increase in positive conversations compared to 2016.

It can be assumed that ongoing turbulence with X, formerly known as Twitter, has contributed to a decrease in overall social engagement, but it is not the root cause of this significant drop.