The old adage “there’s no business like show business” has a rival “there’s no business like football.” The 2018 World Cup and the success of the Croatia team has brought recognition on a global scale, and no more so than online recognition. In a world dominated by social media Croatia has been the kings of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Croatia might have lost to France in the final but they have won on many other off-field areas.
Whilst Croatia is known as a tourist destination, and has gained some unexpected marketing through productions such as Game of Thrones, it is still seen in many parts of the world as an exotic destination. Indeed, many people would still struggle to locate Croatia on a world map. However, the World Cup in Russia could well change all that. As half of the world tuned in to watch Croatia take on France a huge number were also “double-screening” and asking Google for more info on the finalists.
Google Trends showing seacrhes during the final in Moscow - Screnshot
Data from Google Trends showed that during the World Cup web searches for the keyword “Croatia” were at their highest levels in history. Google trends has a ranking system to show the popularity of a keyword at any one time, this is based on a zero to 100 value. At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where Croatia were knocked out in the group stages, there ranking score was 28. However, reaching the final this year meant that the score hit the roof, almost literally, as it reached 100.
And it wasn’t only Google that saw a Croatian explosion. During their semi-final with England, in a one-hour period, 350,000 tweets were sent with the hash tag “Croatia.” This number of tweets increased on the night of the final against France, by the end of the final evening more than one million tweets containing the word “Croatia” had been sent.
Other figures estimate that more than 60 million online articles about Croatia were read during the World Cup. This was more exposure to more people than ever before in the country’s short 28-year history. “After the hosts Russia there can be no doubt that the country that benefited the most in terms of positive promotion from the World Cup was Croatia,” commented a PR expert. And in the final Croatia may have lost on the pitch but online they were the winners. Google data highlights that 60 percent of searches during the final were related to Croatia and 40 percent to France.