The World Cup dominated our news feeds over the last few weeks – stealing traditional media headlines and dominating social media discussion. Statements were flying about Brazil’s upset and Germany’s triumph. Not only did the World Cup seemingly turn everyone in the world into a soccer fan (for at least a few weeks), it also proved itself to be a record breaking proposition. The World Cup set new social media records during the final battle between Germany and Argentina. Both Facebook and Twitter saw record usage during the final match.

So what does record usage look like?

Facebook generated 280 million interactions (which include posts, comments, and likes) related to the sporting event. Surprisingly, just 88 million people were able to generate that much action on the service. Twitter offered up similar data, saying that 32.1 million tweets were sent during the World Cup final. The game also set a record for most tweets per minute, hitting nearly 619,000 after Germany prevailed.

Although the final game was the most popular in terms of tweets per minute, it failed to match an earlier game between Brazil and Germany, which generated 35.6 million tweets.

Let’s take a look at how the World Cup impacted mobile data traffic.

Citrix was able to take a look inside mobile carriers at specific times during the Cup to see which games and regions generated the most mobile data traffic. Not surprisingly, we found that when a specific country was playing, that particular region also experienced spikes in mobile traffic. If your home country stopping advancing, mobile video traffic in those countries went back to normal patterns.

At the beginning of the World Cup, mobile video traffic during game times increased two times over normal data traffic. When the increase in demand rose by two times, mobile video stalling reached around 10 percent. However, when demand spiked higher (such as during the Brazil vs Germany game with a 20 times increase in data traffic across a single sports network, ESPN), the number of videos stalling and the seconds of video stalling doubled. As the World Cup matches progressed, mobile video traffic increased to three times of normal data traffic rates during game times.

As the World Cup wound down and more teams were eliminated and the matches intensified we saw mobile data volumes increase. For example during the Germany vs. Brazil game on July 8, traffic volume from a single sports network, ESPN increased to 20x normal levels.  Once the game reached a score of five-to-zero, viewership dropped off dramatically, putting mobile data traffic levels back to normal. Viewership is dependent on how interesting the game really is.

The Final Match: July 13

Interestingly enough, the final match on July 13 did not mean a massive spike in mobile video data volume worldwide as total volumes of daily mobile video traffic remained mostly the same over game days and none game days (with the regional exceptions we mentioned earlier). At a macro level this means that subscribers can only watch a limited amount of content at any given time. This has implications for advertisers and promoters looking to gain eye-balls and mindshare on content.

During the course of the World Cup, we saw varying degrees of demand by device including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. What was interesting was that the device being used coincided with the time of day fans chose to access World Cup content. For instance, if a game was played in a region that was during working hours, laptops were favored in checking out the latest from the World Cup. During non-work hours, mobile devices including smartphones and tablets were favored.

Mobile data will continue to dominate during events like the Olympics and the World Cup. What mobile networks can do now is start to prepare for the influx of mobile video that will come with the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil where we predict even more interest, more mobile devices and more mobile video than ever before.