Image: Hassan Ammar/Associated Press
Facebook is gearing up for the FIFA World Cup by unearthing a trove of data designed to persuade marketers to advertise on the platform.
The social network's piece de resistance is the claim that some 500 million Facebookers are soccer fans. While Brazil has the most fans of any country with 53.8 million, surprisingly, the U.S. is No. 2 with 48.9 million. Facebook considers you a soccer fan if you have liked a team or a player's page.
Such fans tend to skew young. Facebook claims that 60% are under 34 years old. There's also an even split — 51% and 49%, respectively — among male and female fans. Some other stats:
62% of soccer fans were on Facebook every day in a recent week.
Soccer fans post 1.7x more photos, send 1.9x more messages, post 1.8x more updates, upload 1.7x more videos and make 1.7x more comments than the average person on Facebook.
During a March soccer match, fans took 16.8 million actions related to the game. Some 89% of the actions were made on mobile phones.
Facebook touted the stats on a blog post Wednesday as the company competes with TV for ad dollars. In the U.S., matches for the event will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. ESPN will present the events in multiple languages, including English and Spanish.
A Facebook rep declined to say how the company compares to TV, but emphasized the social network's reach and targeting:
Given that Facebook is built on real identity, we are uniquely positioned to allow marketers to layer the information they already have onto our targeting tools, including Custom Audiences, to reach customers and potential new customers. The number of people a marketer can reach increases exponentially as one looks at the number of soccer fans on Facebook globally.
Christian Martinez, Facebook’s head of sales for U.S. Hispanic, says the event is also an opportunity to connect with Hispanic consumers.
"Arguably the most important cultural passion point for Hispanics is soccer. Of the 48.9 million soccer fans in the U.S., 10 million of them exhibit Hispanic affinity," he says. "For marketers, the upcoming tournament will be an incredible opportunity to reach them not only at scale but also when they’re highly engaged across multiple screens.”
In addition to the TV nets, Facebook will also vie with Twitter, which has established itself as a hub for real-time discussion around live events. Facebook has attempted to tie in with real-time discussions by introducing hashtags and a list of trending topics. Unlike Twitter, though, only a minority — around 30% — of Facebook accounts are public.