What sites will World Cup fans be sharing links to while watching the games?

As most of the world right now, our eyes are focused on what’s going on with FIFA World cup. However, our personal interest leans towards the marketing and analytics aspects of it (being a web measurement and competitive analytics company). We’ve already investigated the top sponsors of FIFA, and sporting events’ sponsors in general, and we gave you a look into the most active social networks on match days. This next piece will continue to dig into social marketing and where you should, as an advertiser, put most of your attention at during the World cup.

Learning for the big brands

Marketers are keen to see what big-time brands are doing to get in on the social media conversation taking place in tandem with the TV watching experience. As much as people love sharing messages associated with brands they’re loyal to, the conversation among true soccer fans will be focused on the action on the field. So which soccer sites are poised to benefit most from “second screen” social activity during the World Cup?


coca cola's world cup-themed merchandising

Coca-Cola’s World Cup-themed merchandising – photo by Flickr user Mike Mozart 

The second screen is a big deal

More than 84% of tablet and smartphone owners in the US use these devices while watching television. This second screen phenomenon is being capitalized on by marketers to gain insight into their customers, for brands to boost engagement with followers and for advertisers to interact with audiences.

Promoting social sharing while users are watching draws viewers in, builds camaraderie among people enjoying the real time action and keeps them watching for longer. When second screen content goes viral, it can really make an impact, like Ellen Degeneres’s Samsung-sponsored, multi-celeb selfie during the Oscars, for example.

Twitter for kicks

The real time social conversation platform of choice, Twitter is gearing up to take advantage of second screen activity during the World Cup, by promoting the official hashtags #WorldCup and #Brazil2014. Twitter is also encouraging its users to follow the accounts of each country’s team, the TV networks that are broadcasting the games and individual players.

Twitter also posted a video showing how Twitter is an integral part of the World Cup excitement. The video is embedded in a post explaining how first-time users can sign up for the platform and start engaging with other soccer fans, surely an outcome of Twitter’s post-IPO pressures to increase its user base.

Socially optimized and specializing in soccer

Soccer websites can advantage of all this second screen activity by being active on social networks during the games as well as before and after. Some of these sites are already benefiting from social traffic, which should see a nice boon for the entire month of the World Cup.

The top ten soccer websites for social referrals

The top ten soccer websites for social referrals, according to SimilarWeb PRO 


UOL, a Brazilian online service provider, operates the most popular website for soccer content referrals from social media. It’s also the number four website in the soccer category. According to SimilarWeb’s data, 6.2% of the site’s massive traffic comes from social networks. UOL has a Twitter account devoted entirely to sports, with over a quarter million followers, which will surely come in handy during the action.

Goal.com, the second most social soccer site and the number one most popular soccer site, sees 9.6% of its traffic from social sources. The American website has prominent social media icons on the top of each page and huge followings on both Facebook and Twitter. To top it off, Goal offers its readers a free iPhone app for tracking live scores faster than you can get them anywhere else besides the TV. Some 10% of Goal’s social referrals come from Twitter, the social network of choice for second screen interactions. Another interesting thing we found about Goal.com is their activity on Reddit – compared to the other two soccer website we’re researched, Goal.com is the only one that is really engaged on Reddit. This is something that is definitely worth checking – over 6% of social traffic translate to almost 3 million desktop visits to Goal.com.


top social soccer sites breakdown by channel

Tweets are responsible for a higher percentage of Goal’s social traffic than its competitors 


The third most social soccer website is the user-generated FTB Pro, which is, interestingly, the number 22 soccer site. A whopping 75.5% of the Spanish site’s traffic comes from social referrals. This is likely due to the fact that users who contribute to the site promote their own work on social channels. A centrally located Twitter widget on the site encourages users to follow the account and tag it in other tweets. FTB also offers its users a branded mobile app.

FTB Pro’s social referrals rose by nearly 32% in the past month. But Facebook, which is not as friendly for real time conversation as Twitter, is responsible for 97% of these clicks, so so it will be interesting to see if this trajectory continues.


FTB Pro's social media referrals on the rise over the past six months

FTB Pro’s social media referrals on the rise over the past six months 


How to win on the second screen

The reason TV watchers are on their devices is that they are looking for content beyond what the television provides. The key to successful second screen content marketing is to provide extra information, ways to interact and a feeling of community. If the big brands in the digital soccer content industry play it right, they’ll enjoy heaps of traffic throughout the tournament.

About the Author -

Ben Jacobson is a freelancer specializing in digital marketing, content and community management for startups, small businesses, travel publications and entertainment brands.

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