Germany wasn't the only winner in the 2014 World Cup -- Twitter chatter spiked to record levels during the final match, Google searches went through the digital roof and 88 million extremely enthusiastic Facebook users worldwide made the finale the most-discussed sports event of all time.
The record-smashing numbers reflect a global population increasingly connected by social media, with Silicon Valley providing a platform for shared cross-cultural passion.
"This tells me that social media has become mainstream to the degree that we don't even think about doing it because it's now part of our day-to-day habit," said social media strategist J.D. Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz. With the World Cup, "everyone wants to be part of this story and participate on some level, and social media let you feel like you're part of something bigger."
Facebook reported 280 million likes, posts and comments generated during the game that featured Germany shutting down Argentina 1-0 and claiming the cup for the first time since 1990, according to a post Monday on the social media giant's blog. By comparison, the previous record for Facebook was the 245 million interactions generated during Super Bowl 2013. Earlier, Facebook had reported that the World Cup was the most-talked-about event ever. Just two weeks into the tournament, the social network had logged over a billion interactions.
Facebook's online colleagues reported similarly strong numbers from not just the final match but the entire event, which ran from June 12 to July 13. By the time Sunday's match got underway, for example, Google had already recorded more than 2 billion World Cup-related searches, which the search engine said broke all records for the number of searches about a sporting event.
"This World Cup proved to be the most digital, most connected and most searched global event we've seen to date," said Google Communications Manager Roya Soleimani. She said a team devoted to monitoring search trends watched "107-plus hours of football, shared 35,000 individual data points and spent 200-plus hours designing 1,000 shareable infographics for our first ever World Cup Trends Hub."
Twitter was no slouch either. The San Francisco-based microblogging site said users fired off 618,725 Tweets per minute during the final match. In a blog post, Twitter called that a record, surpassing the 580,166 Tweets per minute during Germany's 7-1 thrashing of Brazil in the semifinals.
Facebook said it measured "the highest level of conversation for any event in history" during the tournament. "From June 12 — July 13, 350 million people joined the conversation on Facebook, generating 3 billion interactions (posts, comments and likes) related to the World Cup," the company said in its post.
And the numbers from Sunday, it said, "make the match the single most-talked-about sporting event in Facebook history."
Twitter turned its red-hot weekend into a compelling online graphic. Partnering with cartodb.com, it showed every Tweet geo-tagged, making it easy to follow the huge volume of chatter as it soared during the course of the final match.
The company also blogged about the final game, with one chart showing TPM, or "tweets per minute,'' for three crucial junctures in the action: Mario Gotze's winning score (556,499 tweets), German's formal victory (618,725) and another 395,773 tweets per minute when Argentina's Lionel Messi was awarded the Golden Ball and a separate honor of being declared the best player of the tournament.
Underscoring the intense interest and passion that the World Cup continues to generate around the globe, Google posted some of the most popular search trends over the course of the tournament. Based on the number of searches, the most popular game was Germany-Brazil, the most popular World Cup city in Brazil was Sao Paulo and the most popular player was Brazil's Neymar, who was knocked out of the tournament after being hurt in the match with Colombia.
The Google team also spotted this curious trend: During the World Cup final, searches in Argentina for the Lord's Prayer were 66 times higher than those for the World Cup song.
But as it turned out, only Germany's prayers were answered.
Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689 or follow him at Twitter.com/patmaymerc.
2.1+ billion ‒ tournament-related searches on Google
672 million ‒ tournament-related Tweets during 2014 World Cup
88 million ‒ members who posted something on Facebook during the final match
280 million ‒ Facebook interactions, including likes and photos, posted during final match; broke previous record of 245 million during Super Bowl 2013
10.5 million ‒ Facebook members in the United States who posted during the final match
10 million ‒ Facebook members in Brazil who posted during the final match
5 million ‒ Facebook members in Germany who posted during final match
7 million ‒ Facebook members in Argentina who posted during final match
Source: Google, Twitter and Facebook