During October, DK Metcalf led all tracked players in social-follower growth on Twitter (+24.1%) and ranked second on Instagram (+16.7%), according to an analysis of social media data by SportsAtlas and Zoomph. The Seahawks’ star wide receiver leads the league in receiving touchdowns and ranks fourth in receiving yards – both of which are likely contributing to his strong growth on social.
Metcalf is leveraging his stellar second season to regularly promote his partnerships with Nesquik and Under Armour. Given his herculean physique, Metcalf is the perfect spokesman for Nesquik’s protein-based product. Despite last month’s small sample size, Metcalf’s followers responded positively with the engagement rate toward his sponsored content on Twitter 3.89x higher than non-sponsored posts.
Another breakout player during the past month was Los Angeles Chargers’ rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. Despite posting on Instagram just twice during October, Herbert led all tracked players in follower growth on the platform with a +26.2% uplift. One sponsored ad promoted Bose.
NFL top rookies posted strong follower gains on Twitter. Justin Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk, Patrick Queen, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Joe Burrow, and Henry Ruggs all ranked in the top 10 for social-follower growth. Burrow led with 443K followers – more than 100K above the other top-gaining rookies combined.
Although each rookie’s popularity is increasing, only Burrow, Ruggs, and Edwards-Helaire featured sponsored content during October. Ruggs was the most active with Subway, POCO, and Fanatics Edwards-Helaire partnered with Academy Sports and Outdoors, while Burrow announced a new partnership with Lordstown Motors.
One lesser-known brand making noise across the NFL in October was Teal’s. The health and wellness brand publicized its Epsom salt product as a crucial part of Derrick Henry and Aaron Donald’s recoveries. Henry promoted the brand on his Twitter and Instagram handles, while Donald endorsed the product as part of a podcast appearance with Robert Mays on The Athletic Football Show.