Facebook and Twitter, locked in a battle to be the world’s leading source of what used to be called water-cooler conversation, are both targeting the World Cup, the month-long quadrennial soccer event that starts Thursday in Brazil.
It’s a huge and passionate target audience. FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, said that 3.2 million people watched at least one game of the 2010 event. And Twitter and Facebook, hoping for a piece of that action, each rolled out campaigns today aimed at encouraging soccer fans to use their respective platforms to talk about the games.
Facebook’s Trending World Cup Page
Facebook, playing catch-up in real-time conversation about events to Twitter and its more open network, is offering a Trending World Cup page. From the page, fans can follow the latest scores, view match highlights and click through to an interactive global map that shows the Facebook popularity of top World Cup players. If you were wondering, England’s Wayne Rooney (20 million Facebook likes) is very big in Namibia.
The page also features a feed of posts from friends, players, teams and journalists discussing the event. And when the games begin, Facebook users will be able to select the specific match they are watching.
Twitter Brings Back Hashflags
Twitter’s dedicated World Cup landing page, accessible at the #WorldCup and #WorldCup2014 hashtags, offers a scoreboard and a similar roundup of conversation about the event. Fans can also view “match timelines” for tweets about specific contests.
Twitter is also hoping to use interest in the World Cup to attract and retain users by adding soccer suggestions to the sign-up process. “After you sign up and choose your username, you can select the team you’re supporting,” Twitter’s Xiaolei Li wrote in a blog post. “Then you can choose from a number of profile and header photos that represent your country. (Of course, you can upload your own photos too.)”
It’s also bringing back “hashflags,” a feature it introduced during the 2010 World Cup that displays flag icons in tweets when people use the relevant three-letter hashtag. During the next few days, Twitter will track the use of the flags and on before Thursday’s opening match will unveil “The World Cup of Tweets” bracket.