World Cup Boosts Social Media Usage Worldwide

In the United States, the big annual sporting event involving a ball and millions of dollars in advertising is the Super Bowl. But the rest of the world fans and marketers are far more interested in soccer’s World Cup, which just started last Friday.

That’s why global advertisers like Anheuser-Busch, Coke, Nike, and Visa are making a play for their share of the hundreds of millions of consumers who watch the World Cup. In 2010 CBS reported its ad revenue for the Super Bowl was around $170 million dollars. Comparatively, the advertising spend for the World Cup, among US advertisers not including official product sponsorships or network broadcasting rights fees, is estimated at $243 million dollars.

Unlike four years ago during the 2006 World Cup, this year the action isn’t centered around television. Rather, advertisers are looking to the Internet and social media in particular to make their mark during the tournament.

CNET reported that the World Cup’s first day on Friday fueled a new record for Internet traffic, with news sites reaching over 12 million visitors per minute by noon Eastern time. The previous record of 8.5 million visitors per minute was set when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.

But it’s the heavy use of social media by big advertisers during the World Cup that should be of interest to online marketers. According to AdWeek, YouTube seems to be the weapon of choice for many advertisers:

  • A Nike ad has had over 14 million views since it went live on YouTube on May 20.
  • Instead of running TV ads in the U.S., Visa is using YouTube for a campaign that encourages consumers to upload their own videos.
  • Coca-Cola is using television, but its ad directs viewers to a YouTube page.
  • Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser brand is sponsoring a reality TV show on YouTube featuring soccer fans from the thirty-two countries in the tournament.

Not surprisingly, Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter are also being employed by major advertisers. Veronica Maria Jarski, a blogger for MarketingProfs, quotes Robin Sloan of Twitter, who says:

“The World Cup will eclipse everything we have seen so far on Twitter, including the U.S. election, the Oscars, or the Super Bowl simply because it is so international.”

It takes an enormous worldwide event like the World Cup for U.S.-based marketers to recognize that the bubble we call home is just one corner of the globe. From our perspective, we may witness the growth of social media and perhaps even understand its importance in this country. But U.S. companies YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as other social media, are being applied globally, on behalf of major global advertisers who know the reach of the World Cup. Only then can you fathom how far we’ve really come.

The World Cup represents a shining moment for social media, not just here in the U.S., but around the world. Anyone with a product or service that can be marketed beyond our borders should be thrilled to know that.

About Barry Silverstein

Barry Silverstein is a freelance writer/marketing consultant. In addition to writing for ReveNews, he is a contributing writer to, the world’s leading online branding forum. He is the author of three marketing books, The Breakaway Brand (co-author, McGraw-Hill, 2005), Business-to-Business Internet Marketing (Maximum Press, 2003) and Internet Marketing for Technology Companies (Maximum Press, 2003). Barry ran his own Internet and direct marketing agency for twenty years. You can find Barry on Twitter @bdsilv.

4 Responses to World Cup Boosts Social Media Usage Worldwide

  1. Good post, excellent conclusion. It truly is "a shining moment for social media" and anyone who sells anything related to European football better be marketing it now (hopefully, they prepared for this well in advance) …gently and within the best practices of the Social Media etiquette, I should add.

  2. Tim White says:

    With a very simple social media ad and me, being in South Africa, I've easily found a way to ship a car I just bought to take home through a company called Auto Shipping Network… And also, through social media, got discounts on my tickets… The world cup moves around the social media… It's there… It will be, always!

    Great post!

  3. World Cup Me says:

    Not surprising at all, given that World Cup is the world's greatest sport. What will be surprising is if many social media sites will fail to capitalize on this huge event, that only happens every four years.

  4. Paul Martinez says:

    It’s amazing how social media brings the world together. 20 years ago we could not imagine shipping things like cars anywhere in the world. I was shocked to realize what Tim achieved. Very cool. I’m a huge soccer fan, so nice going Tim. Also “me” is right, the world cup is all over the web. Nice posts guys!