By Julian Steinforth, Expedition PR
This Saturday the FIFA World Cup 2014 enters its second stage with the round of sixteen. Long before the finals, the World Cup has already set a world record. The games have become the biggest social media event ever, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal that references statistics from Facebook and Twitter.
– A total of 141 million users posted 459 million interactions on Facebook during the first week of the World Cup, which is more people posting than during this year’s Super Bowl, the Oscars and the Sochi Winter Olympics combined.
– With 12.2 million tweets during the World Cup opening game and eight million tweets during the U.S. game against Portugal the World Cup is trending on Twitter. Athletes and fans from across the world are tweeting, retweeting and sharing content.
The reasons for this rapid growth of social media usage are manifold. The smartphone market has grown rapidly and increased the number of people who access social media platforms. The World Cup’s host country Brazil has the fifth most Twitter users in the world, behind the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Also, for the first time, sports stadiums are equipped with Wifi connection allowing fans to better share pictures and videos. And, people just like to talk about sports on social media. As the world’s most popular sport, soccer is a popular conversation topic all over the world.
That’s good news for the World Cup’s sponsors and marketers. Anheuser-Busch In- Bev’s Budweiser brand and McDonalds both have doubled their numbers of Facebook fans during the months leading up to the World Cup. But not only official sponsors are taking advantage of the buzz that the World Cup is creating. As seen in 2010 where Nike’s “Write the Future Campaign” was more frequently linked to the World Cup online than any of the tournament’s official partners during the tournament, we might see a similar phenomenon with this year’s Beat Electronics, maker of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, “The Game before the Game” campaign. Watching the video you can clearly see that Nike’s 2010 campaign was an inspiration for their five minute long commercial which features several of the best known soccer players in the world. The recipe seems to work – with over 19 million views and several thousand comments on YouTube the commercial is very successful.
While we won’t have all the social media metrics until the winning team receives the World Cup trophy, it’s already clear that this year’s tournament will set another milestone in the social media history.