Do we really have to wait another four years for the next World Cup? The past month was mouth-watering and the World Cup was perhaps one of the best I’ve watched, even if my sweepstake teams (Italy and Chile) didn’t bring me any winnings. Like many others, I used social as an outlet to discuss what was happening, with this World Cup being one of the most social sporting events to have ever taken place.
From the Final 16, to the end of the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina, a total of 177.9 million tweets were sent during the 16 matches. Sunday’s final between Germany and Argentina attracted 32.1m tweets during the match, eclipsed only by Germany’s humiliation of Brazil earlier in the week. With 35.6m tweets, this was most-discussed single sporting event ever on Twitter. As the Germans smashed multiple records, it wasn’t surprising that they broke the tweets-per-minute record during the semi-final match. I started tweeting as the third goal was scored and before I had even sent the tweet, it was 4-0, and then 5. Sami Khedira’s goal, at the time, broke the record for tweets per minute, with 580,166 tweets appearing at 17:30 BRT. Skip forward a few days and Mario Götze’s sublime finish brought in 556,499 TPM, before the triumphant Germans sealed World Cup victory with 618,725 tweets-per-minute at 18:57 BRT, smashing the record they’d set earlier in the week.
Twitter wasn’t the only one rejoicing during the final, Facebook also saw record volumes of activity taking place on its site. The Superbowl XLVII originally held the record as the most engaging sporting event (245 million interactions), but this was quickly eclipsed on Sunday, with 88 million people leaving more than 280 million posts, comments and likes about the final.
This is where Facebook differs from Twitter, in that the World Cup final was the most engaging match on Facebook. Germany’s thrashing of Brazil attracted 200 million interactions, some 80 million short of the final. The combined discussion of the semi-final matches and the final drove more than 563m interactions.
All in all, Facebook saw 350m of its users discussing the World Cup between 12th June and 13th July. This generated more than three billion interactions, making it the first event to top one billion interactions on the site. Despite not winning the tournament, 57% of Brazil's Facebook users participated in conversation about the World Cup, and Neymar's Facebook page attracted 15m new fans over the course of the tournament.
Memphis Depay was Facebook's rising star, seeing his Facebook fanbase increase by 678%. He was followed by Tim Howard, who undoubtedly was helped along by the superb #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave memes, as his page grew by 334%. Messi was mentioned over 4m times, with 7m Argentinians cheering their team to second place.
Snapchat was another social network looking to get in on the action, although its approach to this wasn’t welcomed by all. Within the story section of Snapchat, users noticed ‘Rio Live’ appearing within its authors, even though they hadn’t added this user. I was among these and was a little baffled to why it was there, but was pleasantly surprised when opening each snap. Those who weren’t impressed didn’t have to carry on holding down, but those who did were welcomed with snaps from Rio, bringing fans closer to the action than ever before. Sure, you can watch it on the TV, but how about getting a glimpse at what’s really happening in and around Estádio Maracanã.
What about the brands?
Social of course provides the perfect platform for real-time marketing around the event. My personal favourite following Germany’s win came from Lufthansa, which claimed that the World Cup is “the best extra weight we’ve ever carried”.
The finalists also presented Adidas with its own dream scenario, kitting out both teams and then presenting its own poster boy, Lionel Messi, with the Golden Ball award for best player of the tournament. Lukas Podolski also captured a selfie with Bastien Schweinsteiger, brandishing a smartphone with a Three Stripe case, further cementing Adidas’ links to the team.
The Final - #allin or nothing, a 90 second short from the brand, received 18m views in just three days. The German brand also uploaded videos of its stars throughout the tournament, before updating its cover photo to celebrate its nation’s triumph. Nike might have attracted more views of its Winner Stays ad, but Adidas got the upper hand over the course of the tournament.
Beats by Dre win the award for the most engaging brand to not officially sponsor the tournament, thanks largely to its incredible short film featuring a number of the tournament’s stars. One of these, fittingly, was Mario Götze, as Beats shared a 15 second video congratulating Mario on his match-winning goal. An earlier update, containing just an image of Mario proved to be more popular, attracting 4.1k retweets and more than 4,000 favourites.
And there we have it. The 2014 World Cup broke numerous records, created billions of interactions and crowned Germany the best football team in the world. The world united like never before, bringing fans from all over the world together for one cause, and social media made it all the more possible. Now, how long left until the new season kicks off?