FIFA Women’s World Cup: 4 social data takeaways

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Takeaway #1: A month of shattered records

The most popular emojis used on social during the FIFA women's soccer world cup

The most popular emojis used during the
2019 FIFA Women's Soccer World Cup on social

I’m not American, but it’s almost impossible to talk about the 2019 edition without saluting the performance of the US Women’s Soccer Team. Not only did US victories set the rythm of social messaging throughout the World Cup, as you can see in the graph below, but Megan Rapinoe's team also broke records like it was no one else's business. 

Biggest social media moments of the women's soccer world cup on a timeline

Here are some (not all) of the record broken by the US women's soccer national team: 

  • Match won by the largest margin (USA v Thailand, 13-0)
  • Most goals scored by a team in a single game (USA v Thailand, 13-0)
  • Most goals scored by a single player in a single game (tied by Alex Morgan with five goals in the USA v Thailand game)
  • Most goals in a single FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament (26)
  • Most consecutive FIFA Women's World Cup Wins (tied with Germany with two wins in 2015 & 2019)
  • Most FIFA Women's World Cup Wins (4)
  • First coach to win two FIFA Women's World Cup titles (Jill Ellis, 2015 & 2019)

As a result, the US Women's Soccer national team considerably grew its following on social, with over 500,000 followers gained on Instagram during the tournament (+44.9% since the beginning of June), for example. 

Oh, and did you know that Nike's USWNT jersey became the highest sold soccer jersey EVER, four whole days before Sunday's final? More on sponsorship & the Women's World Cup later in this blog.  

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Takeaway #2: Morgan + Rapinoe = tea & social media buzz?

Let's talk about the two absolute social media stars of this FIFA Women's World Cup: United States' Alex Morgan & Megan Rapinoe, who generated a combined total of 3.2 million mentions during this 2019 tournament! 

Top moment Alex Morgan Megan Rapinoe Women's World Cup on social media

Alex Morgan & Megan Rapinoe generated a combined 
3.2 million mentions from June 4th to July 8th 2019
(data collected by Talkwalker Analytics). 

The social media sphere loves celebration… and debate. Alex Morgan’s tea drinking celebration after her goal in the USA-England game drove over 40,000 mentions in under 48 hours... mainly because the online world decided to figure out if it was appropriate or not. The whole controversy even brought into the conversation Game of Throne's actress Sophie Turner, who inspired Morgan's tea moment and came out to support the US soccer player. 

Then there is the inevitable Megan Rapinoe. Even when you take out the politics and her private life, the online world still seemed to be fascinated by the USWNT captain and her commanding presence on the soccer field. She played a decisive role in her team's success, and even took home her very first Golden Boot award for most goals scored during the tournament. Plus, many people just seem to love her new hair color (over 22,000 mentions), including Zac Ephron. 

Takeaway #3: What does sentiment analysis tell us about VAR?

Don't you love the Video Assistant Referee, better known under the acronym VAR? Many people (still) don't, and that's probably why our sentiment analysis tech found over 73,000 negative mentions linked to VAR decisions throughout the World Cup. Just look at this tweet from Scotland's Prime Minister Nicolas Sturgeon after a VAR decision broke the hearts of the Scottish Women's Soccer National Team and their fans. 

One of the most heated VAR moments of the World Cup (both on social and at the game itself - I was there in person!) was without any doubt the England v Cameroon game in the round of 16th, when one of the two teams refused to resume play for several minutes to demonstrate their disagreement with two consecutive VAR decisions!

Takeaway #4: When Nike steals the show

Nike wasn't even an official World Cup sponsor, and yet somehow, the apparel brand managed to ride on the top of the World Cup social media wave with 48,1% of all sponsor mentions between the first of June and the end of the tournament. Granted, part of it was because of the success of the team it sponsored: 3 of the 4 teams that ended up in the Final Four wore Nike kits (in last year's Men's World Cup, we were in the mirror situation with 3 Adidas teams and a sole representative for Nike). 

Yet if there's one thing Nike is known for in the marketing world, it's the quality of its ads - and once again, Nike's creative talent dared to shine, with over 21 million views scored on its native Twitter video within the first 36 hours of publication! 

Just watch this Nike ad spread from Twitter to other social media channels on this virality map in the span of a few hours. 

Nike Ad viral moment virality map

As you know, it's sometimes hard to connect social media buzz with concrete business objectives. For Nike however, the task should be quite easy: we've already seen that the US Women's Soccer Natiknoonal Team's jersey has become the most sold soccer jersey in a single season days before the final was even played. Nike has also announced that it sold over 200% more jerseys compared to the previous edition of the Women's World Cup, and are now looking to build on their success with a special championship jersey featuring the fourth American star. 

BONUS: Talking about great video marketing, did you miss that amazing video from the German Women’s Soccer Team?

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