15 July 2014 | Team Tamar

Which players took home trophies in the Twitter World Cup?

Brazil Soccer WCupAs you may have seen over on our Twitter feed, we’ve spent the World Cup watching the players both on the pitch and on social media. Just like we did during the London 2012 Olympics, we’ve been tracking all the athletes on Twitter to see what changes they’ve seen in their social following.

We do this for several reasons, not least of all because it’s interesting to see what events or actions really cause an athletes followers to grow. As we saw during London 2012, it isn’t just the successes.

Additionally, what happens after the games/cup is just as intriguing. Can the athletes maintain the massive new follower-base the event has given them? We’ve already begun to see cases from both recent Olympics where some athletes have seen massive drops once the limelight is turned off (though we’ll save the details of that for another post!)

As well as looking at the individual athletes, following this growth provides great insight into which national teams are succeeding – and in the case of the World Cup, Brazil did a lot better on Twitter than they did in the tournament.

Top 10 players by Twitter growth (percentage):

  1. Paul Pogba (France) – 727% increase (from 135,985 to 1,124,917)
  2. Tim Howard (USA) – 511% increase (from 104,213 to 632,602)
  3. Thomas Muller (Germany) – 458% increase (from 115,462 to 645,014)
  4. Paulinho (Brazil) – 406% increase (from 170,045 to 862,112)
  5. Oscar (Brazil) – 293% increase (from 326,052 to 1,282,432)
  6. Manuel Neuer (Germany) – 286% increase (from 417,957 to 1,613,992)
  7. Fernandinho (Brazil) – 233% increase (from 258,491 to 863,531)
  8. Martin Demichelis (Argentina) – 215% increase (from 313,170 to 985,060)
  9. Willian (Brazil) – 209% increase (from 391,691 to 1,208,873)
  10. Teofilo Gutierrez (Colombia) – 207% increase (from 245,870 to 754,558)

VIENNAAs you can see, Brazil dominate the table, with almost half of the Top 10 being made up of their players. One interesting exception to that is Germany’s Manuel Neuer – who also makes an appearance in the below table, which shows actual growth:

Top 10 Athletes by Twitter growth (actual):

  1. Neymar (Brazil) – +2,137,532 followers
  2. David Luiz (Brazil) – +1,627,853 followers
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – +1,509,141 followers
  4. Mesut Ozil (Germany) – +1,426,832 followers
  5. Manuel Neuer (Germany) – +1,196,035 followers
  6. Iker Casillas (Spain) – +1,179,428 followers
  7. Sergio Aguero (Argentina) – +1,022,022 followers
  8. Javier Mascherano (Argentina) – +998,197 followers
  9. Paul Pogba (France) – +988,932 followers
  10. Arturo Vidal (Chile) – +970,903 followers

So in terms of raw growth, the Top 10 is a lot more evenly spread – though spear-headed by two Brazillian legends.

Unlike during the Olympics, when medals seem to lead to the most growth, the World Cup doesn’t seem to be quite so cut-and-dry.

tim-howard-memeTake American Goal-keeper Tim Howard for example – second largest growth (%) despite a relatively poor result for his team. In this case it seems that the massive social buzz around his amazing saves helped his growth – all those memes and vine videos are sure to have helped.

Only two of the Top 5 goal-scorers from the tournament (Muller and Neymar) appear in either list, though the majority of the featured players had at least one headline-grabbing moment during the cup.

Surely the most famous moment of the Cup was Luis Suarez and his insatiable hunger – but even this wasn’t enough to propel the player into either Top 10. Hopefully his move to Barcelona will be enough to soften the blow!

Whilst Brazil seem to dominate both tables, it would be naive to think that German players won’t see some growth over the next week. Our data covers the growth seen between the kick-off of the cup back in June and the morning after the finals. Hopefully in future analysis we’ll see some uplift for the champions.

Team Tamar