Well before the competition started, it looked like the online World Cup was going to break live streaming and social media records. Now the data is in it looks like the pre-tournament polls have been proved right. Records for streaming and social media tumbled.
Before the World Cup started YuMe fielded a poll to see whether people intended to use online to watch the tournament. 54% said they would watch complete matches online and 46% said that watching on multiple devices was important to them.
Now the last kick of the ball is over we can look back on the 6 weeks of the tournament and see that, yes indeed, the people that said they’d be watching multiscreen actually did. (See bottom of this post for summary table.)
For online streaming, the peak traffic was not achieved during the final. The semifinal match-up between The Netherlands and Argentina, in which Argentina survived the dreaded penalty shootout, drove 6.87 Tbps. This just beat out the second highest peak, which occurred during the simultaneous games USA versus Germany and Portugal versus Ghana, which drove a combined total of 6.84 Tbps.
It should be noted that all the games achieving significant peaks, with exception of the final, occurred during the normal working day. This appears to have been critical. Many people were clearly watching on a computer, or connected device in the office. This also shows that when consumers are at home they still gravitate toward the biggest screen available to them, the television.
This is borne out by data from ESPN. The company said that the USA v Germany game drew a peak of 1.7M concurrent viewers, beating out the previous record set during the last Super Bowl of 1.1M concurrent users. However, the final beat that total, just, with 1.8 million live unique viewers.
Adobe helps fill out the picture of the games, providing data on device usage. The company analyzed 2.7 billion World Cup rebroadcast online video starts and found that 16% of video starts were initiated from mobile and 7% from tablets.
Social media also set records. I reported that the Brazil versus Germany semifinal matched generated 35.4 million tweets during the game, a new record for a sporting event. It also generated a peak tweet rate of 580,166 tweets per minutes when Germany scored their fifth goal. Facebook also was very busy during that game. 66 million people engaged in more than 200 million interactions about the game.
However, the final far exceeded these peaks. Facebook reports that 88 million people had 280 million social interactions related to the game, breaking the record for any single sporting event. Twitter also set a record with a peak tweets per minute of 618,725 at the final whistle. However, total tweets came in slightly lower than that Brazil versus Germany game, at 32.1 million.
TV watching still far outstrips online viewing. 17.3 million people watched the final on ABC and 9.2 million on Univision for a total of 26.5 million live TV viewers. Univision has yet to release online viewing numbers for the final.
Why it matters
Polls in advance of the tournament suggested many people would be using the Internet to keep pace with the 2014 World Cup.
Now the games are over, data from various sources is showing that consumers followed through with their intentions.
Records were repeatedly broken for online streaming and social media usage as the tournament progressed.
|Live Unique Viewers||1.8M||Watch ABC||During Germany/Argentina final|
|Peak bandwidth||6.87 Tbps||Akamai||During Netherlands/Argentina penalty shootout|
|In-game tweets||35.4M||During Brazil/Germany semifinal|
|Peak tweet rate||618,725||At final whistle of Germany/Argentina final|
|Facebook in-game users||88M||During Germany/Argentina final|
|Facebook interactions||280M||During Germany/Argentina final|
|US TV viewers||17.3M||ABC||During Germany/Argentina final|
|Total US TV Viewers||26.5M||ABC+Univision||During Germany/Argentina final|