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F1 Drivers Who Rule Instagram

20 of the 21 2020 F1 drivers are active on Instagram – some more active than others obviously.  The one driver who doesn’t have an Instagram presence is Seb Vettel.  He values his privacy and chooses not to partake.

On October 14th, 2020, I took a look at all of the F1 drivers’ Instagram pages.  All of them are verified as is evidenced by the white tick in the blue icon next to their name.  This denotes they are the legitimate accounts of the drivers and have been vetted by Instagram.  I went to Phlanx.com to dig into the stats behind each driver and I first tallied up how many followers each driver had.

Lewis Hamilton struts the field here with 20.2million followers, and Nicholas Latifi brings up the rear with 163k – about 35% more than me.  Lando Norris has had a rapid rise in followers over the past 18 months while others just ratchet up at a much slower rate.

So what’s in it for a driver to have a large Insta following?  It’s great for their brand for one!  Sponsors look at a number of stats to determine what a sponsorship of that driver might be worth.  With Lewis’ audience, a sponsor could expect to pay upwards of US$50k for a post like the one below.

If drivers do a personal sponsorship with a company, they would typically work in a number of social media posts over the contract period and put a dollar value on those posts.  It’s said the likes of Ronaldo and Neymar earn more from paid Insta posts than they do from playing football.

Of course, followers are important, but it’s the engagement figure that companies look at with greater scrutiny.  It’s easy to buy Insta followers and many Instagrammers do this.  How can you tell though? Look at the Instagrammer’s  follower list.  If you see an abundance of followers who follow many but are followed by few, that’s a giveaway of it being a bot. The other way to judge the value of an Instagrammer is to look at their engagement rate.  I used Phlanx.com to provide this info.  They look at the number of likes per post and comments per post to arrive at a percentage figure.  The higher that figure the better.

Let’s look at likes per post: Once again, Lewis Hamilton leads the field. But Daniel Ricciardo is about 11% behind him and YET has a fifth of Lewis’ following.  So is Daniel punching above his weight or Lewis punching below his?

Let’s look at comments per post. Once again we see Lewis ahead of Dan but not by the same margin as he has in the Follower stakes.  So what’s going on?

Experts will tell you, the larger the number of followers the harder it is to keep up engagement, and Lewis’ fan base is huge.

Combining Likes and Comments, we arrive at the “Engagement” rate and how’s this for a surprise result!

As at Oct 14th, 2020 Pierre Gasly was on top and by a significant margin, but more surprising perhaps is Lewis Hamilton who rated 20th.  Lewis has nearly 20 times Pierre’s audience, but Pierre’s engagement rate is around 8 times that of Lewis’.

Now bear in mind these stats are fluid – they will change on a daily, even hourly basis depending on what the driver posts.  Alex Albon was a surprise second on this chart, a surprise because he had posted just 15 posts between the Melbourne GP and Oct 14th, 2020 (5 posts/week) with the most prolific poster, Romain Grosjean at 201 posts, an average of 6.5 posts a week. He is probably the most open of all the drivers. posting pics of him at home and with his family which fans lap up. For more details and a look at each drivers’ Instagram usage, watch the YouTube video – here.

And remember, you can order F1 Driver Photobooks here.