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Brazil vs. Germany: A Surprising Find

For the people of Brazil, the semi-final match in the 2014 World Cup was a mesmerizing event. True, the opposition was as fierce as you can get – no one in his right mind wants to play against Germany – but the 200 million people of the host nation had a single vision in their minds, that of their football national team waving the golden cup at the end of the Finals.


We all know how it ended.


At BioCatch we have a small bet running throughout the competition on match results. I’m doing pretty well, and might even win depending on the Finals result. What we also have is a Research team who had a close look at the effect of various games on people’s online behavior. And they came up with some fantastic insights when they looked at how the Brazil vs. Germany semi-final affected corporate online banking users in Brazil.


The game was on Tuesday, 5 PM local time, and we kind of expected a certain dip in activity towards the late afternoon hours, as people would wrap up their business and hurry home to watch the game. But the effect was even more dramatic than we anticipated.


In a normal Tuesday, activity rises in the early morning hours and peaks at 8 AM when lots of folks arrive at the office and log into their online banking account. After lunch there’s a slow rise in the number of sessions up until 3 PM, and then it drops after 5:30 PM as employees leave the office. 


But that fateful Tuesday was totally different.


The morning hours had a huge amount of activity. Then at noon time the number of sessions began to drop, and at 3 PM it fell to late-night levels. At 5 PM, when the referee whistled for the opening of the match, there was hardly a soul in any office in Brazil. Online banking activity dropped to a midnight-level and stayed that way for 90 minutes. It then slowly increased, getting to double the match-time volume as folks probably wanted to drown their sorrow in a half hearted access to the bank account from home.


It’s even more interesting to see how people behaved DURING the match.


In the first half, those folks who did remain in the office or worked from home were probably glued to their TV sets as they continued to transact online. We looked at Boleto payments at a Top 5 bank in Brazil– these are payments that charge your bank account. The way it works is this: you go online, type a Boleto invoice number, and money goes from your account (on a side note, the Boleto system has been heavily targeted by cybercriminals in Brazil; the banks are putting up a fight and without adding too much detail, the good news is that they’ll soon have some new tricks in their bag).

Back to analyzing the Boleto traffic. What we discovered was quite fascinating: in the first half, the time it took to actually complete a payment was DOUBLE that of normal. Talk about distraction, when every three minutes Germany scores…


Then in the second half things got back to normal as the first half saw five nails in the Brazilian coffin. People lost interest, I guess; they still watched the game, in a moving, patriotic way – we can see that from the low volume of activity throughout the second half, and the surge as soon as it ended - but their mind just wasn’t it anymore.


Well, it is what it is. Brazil is a terrific, happy nation, and while the horrors of the semi-final sink into history, they’ll surely recover and think ahead towards the 2016 Olympics. Lets all wish them luck!



Comments: (2)

Uri Rivner
Uri Rivner - Refine Intelligence - Tel Aviv 12 July, 2014, 17:52Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Forgot to mention: my colleague Oren Kedem added some other findings in a Dark Reading article:

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 13 July, 2014, 12:21Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

@UriR: Reports of Twitter activity level during Super Bowl and other sporting events are du jour but a study linking NetBanking & ePayment volumes to a World Cup Soccer match is truly a first for me. Kudos for this novel article. BTW, can you please enlarge your chart and repost it - maybe it's my advancing years but I can't read any of the legends!

Uri Rivner

Uri Rivner

CEO and Co-Founder

Refine Intelligence

Member since

14 Apr 2008


Tel Aviv

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