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Adobe Digital Index Reveals Goal Scorers Dominate the World Cup on Social

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Adobe Systems Incorporated) - 11 June 2014

Roy Hodgson has been praised ahead of the World Cup for his youthful squad, with many of Englandís old guard being replaced by younger, emerging talent.

On social media though, itís the few remaining stalwarts that dominate with Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney generating 37% of total mentions of all squad members according to Adobeís Digital Index (ADI).[1]

As well as experience, role seems to also play a part in conversations, with Englandís first choice defenders Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill and Leighton Baines polling just 3% between them. Clearly the further up the pitch you play, the more youíre discussed socially.

This would seem to hold true globally with the vast majority of the worldís most talked about footballers being strikers or attack minded midfielders. Cristiano Ronaldo led the roster with 1.5+ million mentions in May 2014 while Neymar was 2nd with 1.2+ million. The unpredictable but brilliant Mario Balotelli rounded out the top ten with just under 200,000 mentions.

However, if you prize quality over quantity then when you look at the percentage of mentions of a player compared to their Twitter followers, Germanyís Marco Reus is head and shoulders above the rest with 41% compared to 12% for Neymar and 6% for Ronaldo.

Looking at the World Cup as a whole, compared to other major sporting events including the Olympics and the Super Bowl, the competition is set to become the most talked about sporting event of all time with 90% of the world having discussed it since June 2013 (compared to 84% for the Olympics and 78% for the Super Bowl).

When looking at countries where the most World Cup conversations are being held, itís perhaps surprising to see Group C team Japan leading the way with 37%, followed by the UK at 11%, hosts Brazil at 9%, Germany (8%) and the US on 8%.

If we restrict the data purely to Twitter then Germany has the highest social buzz as a percent of total Twitter users in its country at 17%. Japan is second at 11% then, Nigeria (8%), France (5%), and U.K. (5%).

Looking at the social buzz around the World Cup is not just interesting from a fan and national team perspective, itís also extremely useful for marketers planning campaigns. Weíve seen with other sporting events that near-real time marketing, especially on social media, has become a central pillar in many brandís marketing efforts. To be able to do this effectively they need information on what players are generating buzz Ė and why  - along with intelligence on what countries are the most receptive to social media and what channels are the most appropriate to use.

Having access to this kind of data can also head off any potential issues with brands starting conversations that get hijacked by circumstances out of their control. For example, the social media buzz in Brazil ahead of the World Cup is markedly negative with 42% of Brazilians expressing sadness, anger, or disgust related to the competition. Clearly this sort of insight is critical if brands are to avoid wasting time and budget on marketing to a clearly unreceptive audience, or worse still being associated with the negativity.

Not only will Brazil 2014 be the most social World Cup ever, it will also be the most competitive for marketers and brands vying for the attention and engagement from a global audience that will be bombarded with World Cup related advertising and marketing. Understanding the channels and preferences of national audiences will give brands a real edge when it comes to creating content that will get cut through.

[1] ADI used Adobe Social (Adobe is CMO.comís parent company) to monitor 4.5 million mentions of the final match on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, VK, Reddit, Disqus, and blogs during over the period