World Cup 2018: The most successful national soccer teams on YouTube

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France, England and Poland top the list of countries with the most subscribers to their YouTube channels

This World Cup, the action will not just be on the pitch - it will be on YouTube too! All of the countries chasing the trophy (except for Iran and Saudi Arabia) have accounts on the video platform. Most of these accounts are for the countries' national federations and associations, but some of them actually represent the national soccer teams themselves. This is the case for Spain, England and Germany, among others, as shown by a study conducted by Brandboost by Divimove, the online video creative agency of Divimove, using YouTube data.

The 10 channels with the most subscribers

Combined, the 10 countries with the most subscribers to their channels have over 2 million subscribers. France (656,000), England (534,000) and Poland (506,000) are at the top of the table, followed by Brazil (275,000), South Korea (81,000), Germany (64,000), Japan (55,000), Spain (45,000) and Argentina (33,000). This reflects growing demand among people who use online video as a way to keep up with the latest sporting news. In fact, demand is now so strong that the oldest of all the channels included in the study, namely England's, uploaded more than 380 videos in 2017, compared to just 52 in 2010 - the year the channel first became active, despite being created in 2006 - and is gradually beginning to include YouTube proprietary formats.

The countries that have grown the most: Tunisia and Peru  

Tunisia is leading the way in terms of subscriber growth: over the last 12 months, the number of subscribers to Tunisia's channel grew by 1,780% to reach 7,000. The video that kicked off the increase was the video of the friendly with Costa Rica, which featured images of the match itself, the training session and the build-up to the match. The channel gained over 700 subscribers in the days after that video was published. Although the channel does not follow a regular posting schedule, its subscriber growth shows that knowing your audience and producing up-to-date content that suits their tastes is a recipe for success on YouTube. Other countries with high subscriber growth rates include Peru (574%), Switzerland (363%), Egypt (247%) and Russia (198%).

The most active channels this World Cup: Portugal, Brazil and France

As for the most active channels, Portugal is in first place with more than 1,100 videos published in the last 12 months. Hot on Portugal's heels are Brazil (1,000) and France (862), followed by South Korea (605) and Russia (572). Regular posts have enabled the channels in question to achieve high levels of engagement (number of 'likes' and comments) across all their videos over the period. More specifically, Portugal received over 62,000 'likes' and comments, while Brazil and France obtained 379,000 and 839,000 respectively. This shows how regular publication of content is key to creating a solid community around a YouTube channel, not only in terms of subscribers, but also in terms of user interaction.

For the purposes of this study, we looked at the channels of the national teams representing Spain, Argentina, Nigeria, Australia, Germany, Mexico and England.  We also looked at the channels of the football federations or associations of the countries that are taking part in the World Cup but do not have a specific channel for their national teams. The channels' success was measured by the absolute number of subscribers and the growth in subscribers. Unlike video views, which are generated in part by paid pre-roll campaigns, subscriber numbers are a very accurate reflection of organic reach and brand growth on YouTube. Finally, the data for the study were gathered between May 2017 and May 2018.

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