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The 2014 World Cup (Of Social Data) Is Here!

The 2014 World Cup is upon us, and for those of us who love the beautiful game, this every- four-years event is a strange combination of Christmas, your birthday and that feeling you get at the start of a three-day weekend. It’s pure excitement and bliss. This white-hot excitement isn’t just held to fans, however. It seems like the entire marketing world is in on it as well this time around. Four years ago, there were the normal entries into the field, like some branded packaging, but this year’s event has seen things taken to the next level.

The 2010 event, held in South Africa, saw Twitter introduce so-called Hashflags to the platform, which automatically added a small flag graphic to each of the competing nations’ specified hashtags. Hashflags are back for this year’s event again, but this time, Twitter has done something extremely smart, setting up “starter kits” for new users that set up a new account with a national team icon and header graphic, as well as providing a list of accounts to follow that are likely to be tweeting about your favorite team.

Twitter is also likely to see another round of not only brisk new user growth, but also an extremely high level of publishing. Last year’s World Cup Final prompted the largest period of sustained activity in Twitter’s history. Nearly 2,000 tweets per second were being published during the Final, and the platform has only grown in the last four years.

Big data wasn’t about to be left out of the World Cup furor, and sites have been quick to publish and promote elaborate data visualization tools to help those fans new to the competition be able to sound like experts. Much like the last election, we’ve also seen these same large data sets be used for predicting the winners of not just the individual matches but also of the entire tournament, as well.
Needless to say, this bump in user activity on various platforms is important for marketers for several reasons – perhaps none bigger than the entire world’s attention is focused on a single event right now. Now, I’m not suggesting that your brand live tweet each match (but I wouldn’t mind); however, paying attention to the event and tying your messaging into the tournament can bring a big boost in attention.