New data just revealed from Facebook and Twitter shows that the 2014 World Cup final was a high-point in both social media giants’ history. On Facebook, 88 million people left more than 280 million posts (the previous record was during Superbowl XLVII when there were 245 million interactions), while on Twitter a record 618,725 tweets were sent in a single minute as Germany won the game.
With this many users glued to their (multiple) screens, it’s no wonder that brands were doing their utmost to engage soccer fans. Some brands scored… others were relegated to the bench for their lackluster efforts.
Germany had even more reason to celebrate as German sports brand and World Cup sponsor Adidas become the “most talked about brand related to the 2014 Fifa World Cup,” generating 1.59 million conversations across Twitter, Facebook, blogs and Tumblr, according to social media analytics firms Simply Measured and Sysomos. Adidas also reported a spike of 5.8 million followers across all its major social media platforms—more than any other brand. Adidas’ “all in or nothing” brand campaign also saw 917,000 mentions of its hashtag #allin on Twitter, with engagement driven by a mix of stunning visuals, emotive videos, and world-class photography.
Official sponsor Hyundai was the most positively received brand throughout the World Cup with 17% of total brand mentions of positive sentiment, according to Hootsuite. The Korean car manufacturer used the hashtag #BecauseFutbol, appealing graphics, and their Tumblr-based Because Futbol website that was used as a hub to encourage fans to share tweets, photos, GIFs and jokes about the World Cup. The strategy worked, with positive interaction across their social media backed by tweets that celebrated their fans’ involvement: “Hey @ImMiguelRobles we love your #BecauseFutbol tweets! We have a little thank you gift to send your way.” – tweeted by Hyundai during the World Cup games.
Samsung’s breathtaking science fiction-themed series of videos tells the story of a soccer match between Samsung’s “Galaxy 11″ team (featuring some of the biggest names in the sport) and a team of alien invaders through selection, training and ultimately, the final game. The outcome of the game even decided the fate of the planet. The campaign was entirely planned for social media, although its success was so great that two TV ads were also commissioned, according to the Wall Street Journal. Since its launch late last year, the Galaxy 11 campaign has generated more than 150 million video views and 4.7 million engagements across social media channels as well as 5 million visits to the campaign website. The whole cinematic campaign built up to the World Cup Final for its finale, and the inclusion of the world’s biggest soccer stars alongside the focus on fans on social media captured fans’ imaginations worldwide.
Ask any soccer fan the world over and you’ll be told that at the heart of the game is a sense of grass-roots passion. The best marketers were able to tap into that passion during the 2014 World Cup. And the worst threw money at the game in the hope that it would bring them prestige. Emirates is known for being one of the biggest sponsors of sporting events in the world, but their outlay of millions to place their flight attendants center-stage at the closing ceremony did not endear them to soccer fans on Twitter, who all wondered why women in red hats were handing out the trophies. Official sponsorship should be accompanied by true engagement and a clear passion for the sport to win over the fans.
With more and more brands coming online to celebrate sporting events and vying for fans’ attention, it’s no wonder that huge budgets are being set aside to win the off-pitch battle. But as with sport, there’s more to it than throwing money at en event: it takes planning, passion and a genuine commitment to fans and to the sport to win.