Becoming the hub for aquatics events that offers insightful news on the sport’s global stars has been a driving force of FINA’s digital transformation.

Last week saw continued success and encouraging growth for FINA’s innovative digital strategy with the release of the annual 2021 BCW International Sports Federations Social Media Ranking, particularly on Facebook.

FINA’s Facebook page, followed by over a million people worldwide, was ranked as having the most engaging Facebook post which garnered more than 3.7 million interactions, earning FINA second place in the ‘Most Interactions Per Post on Facebook’ category. The success continued as FINA was also up six places from last year, taking second place, in the ‘Most Views Per Video on Facebook’ category.

Moreover, FINA’s Facebook page had the most-watched IF Facebook videos in 2021, accumulating more than 128 million views and a staggering 3.7 million interactions.

Competition was high for 2021, as the summary of this year’s BCW Sports digital rankings included the social media presence of 41 Olympic Winter and Summer governing bodies as well as the 56 non-Olympic sport federations. For FINA, the efforts made online in 2021 reflect a significant boost in its digital transformation and continued adaptation and online response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although not all sporting events were able to go ahead in 2021, it was key for FINA to remain engaged with the aquatics community and these efforts have significantly contributed to FINA’s digital engagement. 

This sentiment is also mirrored in the FINA Reform Committee Report recommendations; digital transformation being the fifth pillar of the report. Notable points of mention within the FINA Reform Committee Report specifically regarding digital transformation are:

  • Positive digital trends are coming from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with encouraging results on organic engagement and reach
  • FINA has the expressed goal of working more with athletes on its digital channels and producing this type of original content on its social media channels – both during events and in-between
  • The next stage for FINA’s digital transformation will firstly be having a photo platform, and subsequently, a video platform where all media can be housed and then shared with key stakeholders, such as National Federations and athletes

It doesn’t stop there! The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games report included the following highlights:

  • Aquatics was the number one most searched sport on the internet, with the highest page views and unique viewers on the most popular websites during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
  • Aquatics also ranked number one in social media conversations throughout the 2020 Summer Games

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the appetite for aquatics coverage is in the top tier globally, and that FINA’s new digital activation plans are reaching new audiences in new territories around the world.

Other stand out statistics from 2021 across FINA’s most popular social media platforms include:

  • In 2021, FINA counted 370 million video views on Facebook, corresponding to a 500% increase compared to 2020. FINA constantly strives to create interesting content for the aquatics community, working around rights holder issues to ensure aquatics fans gain as much insight into competitions as possible
  • Post-Tokyo 2020, FINA continued its positive social media growth and also focussed on generating original content during the FINA Swimming World Cup and at the 15th FINA World Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi.
  • As a result, the 1-minute+ audience retention of these videos grew by an impressive 700%
  • FINA can certainly celebrate the most viewed IF video on Facebook in 2021 with the USA Artistic Swimming showcasing the sport's most difficult lift in history, but there are also other disciplines that enhanced social media engagement via the aquatics community such as diving
  • On Instagram, FINA was in the top-10 IFs per followers’ growth during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, a positive trend that shows the increasing interest for photo, video and story content posted across the platform
  • FINA’s YouTube saw a record-breaking year for the channel in 2021. Subscribers increased by 80% (total 125k) and registered more than 25M views (+916%)
  • Finally, let’s not forget the new FINA website, launched in 2021, just a few months before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that saw a 100%  increase in unique sessions and more than one million unique viewers visiting the site in the last year for the first time ever

The 2021 BCW International Sports Federations Social Media Ranking summarises Ifs performance on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok and YouTube, by looking at an aggregated number of followers and by quantifying their ‘True Reach’ using an algorithm-based formula measuring how many users the account reaches with their posts. The full report can be found here.