Facebook and Twitter Battle for World Cup Bragging Rights

Photographer: Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images

The German team victory ceremony on July 15, 2014 in Berlin. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. Close

The German team victory ceremony on July 15, 2014 in Berlin. Germany won the 2014 FIFA... Read More

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Photographer: Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images

The German team victory ceremony on July 15, 2014 in Berlin. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup left few questions about who was the strongest team in the tournament. But nearly two weeks after Germany's win over Argentina in the final match, the battle online between Facebook and Twitter is still undecided.

The Silicon Valley social networking giants each spent their earnings calls bragging to investors about their World Cup wins. However, the companies didn't make it easy to compare their performances. Fuzzy numbers aside, the Silicon Valley social networking giants each saw a surge in usage as fans reacted play-by-play during the event in Brazil, one of the largest international sporting events.

Facebook said the World Cup broke all records for activity on the social network, engaging 350 million people in 3.5 billion "interactions." Interactions include shares, Likes and comments on posts. On Twitter's earnings call yesterday, the company disclosed numbers for just one game. The infamous semifinal match on July 8 — when Germany romped Brazil 7-1 on its home turf — generated 6.5 billion "impressions," Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said. Impressions refers to the number of times all relevant tweets were viewed on Twitter, and third-party apps and websites. A Twitter spokesman said impressions don't count television viewers who see a tweet on-screen.

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A post on Twitter's corporate blog the day after the World Cup ended said the event saw 672 million total tweets, including 35.6 million for the Germany-Brazil game. To achieve 6.5 billion impressions, the average tweet from that one match would have to be seen about 182 times — probably often by the same person considering the world population is 7 billion, and the number of people with Internet access is less than 3 billion.

One thing is clear: Twitter needed the bragging rights more. The company's stock, battered all year, gained 20 percent today. Costolo said product efforts around the World Cup, with tailored experiences for each game, helped draw people in and give a sense of what Twitter can do with its service during future live action.

"During the World Cup, we delivered the kind of events experience that I wanted to see from us for some time," Costolo said on yesterday's investor call. "We served up tailored experiences for each individual match and for the overall World Cup. And these experiences felt alive; they felt wonderfully complementary for the matches themselves. That has given me confidence that we can create great user experiences by organizing content around topics and live events."

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