WWE vs. UFC: Social Lessons from the Winning Sports Brands


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Social marketing best practice tips and strategic guides are easy to find, but it can also be beneficial to simply monitor the social channel of a successful brand to understand everything they do and why they do it. We did this in our latest white paper, Marketing Lessons from the Top Social Brands, where we used The Fan Page List (dubbed social media’s leading directory) to determine the top brands in sports, retail and services. Once the brands were identified, we sought to answer questions such as: What do these successful brands post? How often? What kind of imagery supports their brand? What content makes their audience tune in and take action?

WWE and UFC are the third and fourth most popular brands on Facebook by size, respectively. To show you how following every move of a brand for a week or so can provide insight into social marketing best practices, we offer a side-by-side comparison of the brands’ Facebook strategy below.

Facebook Fans 8,857,582 9,337,469
Fans Talking about Them 163,756 288,932
Engagement Rate (= #Fans talking about/ #Followers) 1.84% 3.04%
Profile/Cover Photo: UFC Facebook Cover Photo WWE Cover
Tabs: Photos, Likes, Live Events, Live Streams of Fights Photos, YouTube, Official Page Listings, Live Chat
Frequency of Posting 1-5 posts per day. 10-15 times per day.
Top Content Types UFC aggressively promotes individual fights and links viewers to the website to pre-order access to the fight.The UFC also features fighters and links users to their individual pages.UFC promotes UFC.com and the UFC YouTube channel often in their posts, keeping fans engaged with their content.Photos are utilized in nearly every post to keep engagement levels high.

UFC Cover Photo


WWE posts information on upcoming fights and fan contests like ‘Who is the Best WWE World Champion?’ – which links to their website. They also share the history of WWE through photos and stats. One of the most engaging types of content feature the WWE stars, using photos, videos and news stories.The WWE drives social traffic back to their website, in the majority of instances. This is important, because they keep the traffic they are generating.Photos are used extensively to create engaging posts.

WWE Facebook Post

Contests/Giveaways The UFC runs contests, like offering fans a chance to win a prize pack of merchandise by listening to UFCRadio.com.UFC recently ran an incredibly successful campaign using Spotify and Facebook. On Spotify, fans listened to two songs that contestants of the UFC reality show The Ultimate Fighter would walk out to on the season finale. Then, fans voted on their preferred choice on Facebook. Limited contests and giveaways. Instead the WWE focuses on sharing the 1,500 unique pieces of content created weekly.
Website Integration: Social feeds are integrated on the UFC website and articles include sharing functionality. They have some other interesting integrations: by liking Facebook, fans can watch a fight for free. Social feeds are integrated on the WWE website, and each article includes sharing functionality.
How Social Leads to Revenue: First and foremost, UFC is using social to grow and engage their TV audience – pointing fans to pay-per-view order form. UFC uses social to feature promotional items in their posts, including merchandise and fight sales. The UFC also frequently drives Facebook fans to order pages for fights, driving sales and revenue. First and foremost, WWE is using social to grow and engage their TV audience. The WWE includes a link to the WWE store on their Facebook page. Additionally, with the highly engaged audience visiting their website, they are able to drive increased sales.

*Photos and Fans as of June 22nd.

How are these brands doing offline? Credited to UFC programming, their home network FUEL TV posted the ‘largest year-to-year percentage increases in prime time and total day last month (compared to May 2011) and through the first five months of this year (compared to Jan. – May 2011) in its target audience of M18-49, total viewers and households, among all rated, ad-supported cable networks in the U.S.’ In comparison, WWE programming reaches approximately 12 million viewers in the U.S. each week.

What’s your take? Who does it better: UFC or WWE? Thinking about your own social marketing efforts, how do you stack up against your closest competitors? Tell us at @awarenessinc.

For more tips and best practices from the leaders in retail, sports and services, download our free white paper, Marketing Lessons from the Top Social Brands.

Mike Lewis
Mike is an entrepreneur and marketing executive with a 14-year track record of success as a senior manager at early-stage technology companies. He is currently the vice president of marketing and sales for Awareness Inc., an enterprise social media management platform


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