What kicked off the social conversation?
This year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup saw mountains of mentions on social. Host countries Australia and New Zealand welcomed 32 teams to the tournament – and the whole world tuned in to see who would take home the trophy.
From the most talked-about teams to the brands in the spotlight, we looked into the data to discover what fans are saying about the tournament online.
Let’s find out.
Note on methodology: Data covers English language mentions of the Women’s World Cup 2023 between 20 July – 20 August 2023. Data covers mentions on social media, blogs, forums, and news sources.
The biggest moments
From celebrating wins to discussing tactics, fans are always quick to share their thoughts about sports on social. By following these trends, we can see exactly which highlights send shockwaves across the internet.
Throughout the duration of the World Cup, there were over 2.2 million social media mentions, according to Brandwatch. That’s a lot.
Interest remained steady since the competition kicked off, initially peaking during Round 16 when Australia won 2-0 against Denmark. England also won on penalties against Nigeria on this day, putting them through to the next round. There were almost 120,000 mentions on the day as fans were glued to their screens.
ENGLAND BEAT NIGERIA ON PENALTIES TO REACH THE WORLD CUP QUARTERFINALS 🏴 pic.twitter.com/rvOBvjBSe4
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) August 7, 2023
After a second peak during the semi-finals when England beat Australia 3-1, the biggest peak of the tournament occurred – unsurprisingly – during the finals. There were over 150,000 mentions of the game online on this day, where Spain took home the title.
A look into demographics
The World Cup attracted the attention of millions, but the demographic comparisons might be surprising to some. Interestingly, 75% of gender-categorized authors discussing the world cup on X (formerly Twitter) were male. That’s an intriguing majority.
While it’s easy to assume that the Women’s World Cup would attract more female fans to the sport, it seems male authors were still just as interested in the tournament. And with the work being put in to make women’s soccer more accessible, it’s not a surprise that a more balanced gender distribution is tuning in.
By the time of the tournament’s kick-off, this year’s competition was expected to set viewership records for the women’s game, hoping to attract over 2 billion viewers – almost double 2019’s 1.12 billion viewers. At the time of writing, the actual numbers have not yet been released, but from the social data, it’s clear that there was a record-smashing interest in this year’s World Cup.
At the end of the day, soccer fans are soccer fans – no matter their gender, they want in on the action.
The fan favorites
Using Brandwatch Consumer Research, we wanted to find out which countries had the biggest share of the social conversation.
For the first time, the tournament was jointly hosted by two nations, and according to social data, Australia and New Zealand both seemed to benefit from the collaboration.
Australia earned almost 350,000 mentions during the competition, making them the second most discussed country during the World Cup.
New Zealand are in fifth place on that list. New Zealand were knocked out of the competition early on, but they’ve benefited from the discussions surrounding hosting the competition – pushing them up as a key talking point.
England was the most discussed country, beating Australia by a small margin. England’s success in making it to the final can be attributed to the high mention volume, as fans were keen to discuss their highs and lows.
The United States came third in the most talked about countries during this World Cup. The United States were knocked out by Sweden during the group stage. After winning the previous two Women’s World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019, viewers took to social media to express their intrigue about who might be the next world champions.
When diving into the mentions about the country, there was also a spike in mentions when players from the US team elected to not sing the national anthem during their match against Vietnam. Additionally, it looks like the US’ large population and keen eye for soccer resulted in plenty of coverage for the states.
Spain – the winners of the Women’s World Cup 2023 – received almost 200,000 English mentions throughout the tournament. While there is no doubt an incredible number of Spanish mentions about the team’s success, the staggering amount of English language mentions is another testament to Spain’s triumph in the tournament.
France, Sweden, and Nigeria are a few of the other countries in the remaining top ten.
Now let’s look deeper.
Using Brandwatch, we also dove into which countries were surprising fans the most throughout the tournament. We looked at the countries with the highest percentage of emotion-categorized mentions showing surprise.
England came out on top, with 32% of emotion-categorized mentions showing surprise. England stormed their way through, making it to the finals. Fans were excited to see how the team fared.
Haiti caused a stir during their match against China, where there were questions about the refereeing – resulting in almost a third of the mentions about the team showing surprise.
The officiating in CHINA v HAITI has been absolutely shocking…..
Haiti got robbed of 2 if not 3 clear penalties. Absolutely shocking.
— TPbets (@TPbets_) July 28, 2023
The following teams, which include Colombia and South Africa, have mentions showing surprise about the teams being knocked out. Spain also made the list at 23%, with mentions including joyful surprise about their win.
Spain and England battled it out during the World Cup final, in which Spain took home the trophy. There were an impressive 161,000 mentions on the day of the match.
When looking at minute-by-minute mentions, an initial peak occurred at 21:28 PM AEST, when England’s goalie Mary Earps saved a penalty kick taken by Spain
The save kept England in the game and resulted in over 1,000 mentions during the minute as fans praised the excellent goalkeeping.
— Matt (@matt_johnson_89) August 20, 2023
Spain were crowned the winners of the Women’s World Cup 2023 at 10:03 PM AEST, with a peak of 2,100 mentions occurring just a few minutes after. Fans were quick to praise Spain’s play and send commiserations to the England team.
GG, and congratulations to 🇪🇸
An amazing effort and performance from the @Lionesses this World Cup 🦁🏴
— Simon (@Simonblox) August 20, 2023
When looking at emotion-categorized mentions on the day of the final, we can see some interesting trends.
Despite their loss, England caused the most surprise during the final. Viewers were impressed with England’s penalty save by Mary Earps, driving up this statistic. Both teams had some awe-inspiring plays during the game, and fans were quick to share surprise about small successes throughout the match.
England received double the amount of fearful mentions as fans took to social media towards the end of the game to express concern for the upcoming loss.
Both teams received an almost equal number of emotion-categorized mentions showing sadness. Fans of both teams were active in their disappointment during the game when things didn’t go as planned, for example if a player missed a goal.
Naturally, Spain received a much higher percentage of joyful mentions – almost double that of England. Fans took to social media to express praise for the team’s victory.
Following the 2023 Women’s World Cup can tell us plenty about how social media can be utilized to track a fan perspective. Through tracking mention numbers, sentiment, team comparisons, and more, brands can monitor which areas of the sport are causing the most intrigue – and, therefore, where to get involved.
Article by Emily Smith, Content Marketing Manager Brandwatch