Forget the stadiums. World Cup games are being played here

June 26, 2018 8:00 am


Put away your jersey and boots, and prepare to get clicking.

Back during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, brands were still unsure of the impact and significance of the mobile phone platform on their audiences. Every year, it was the same deal: kit sponsorships, stadium ads, some celebrity face time, that sort of thing. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. True, some companies would come up with nifty and unique campaigns from time to time, but in the end, it was the same order of business.

2010 gave advertisers their first taste of this incoming change, whereas the 2014 World Cup demonstrated the power of mobile in full swing.

The Telegraph dubbed that championship the “most mobile yet.” In fact, many media outlets called it the “social media World Cup”.

For the duration of the tournament, 350 million people generated a massive 3 billion World Cup posts, comments and likes, according to Facebook. Twitter revealed that the final match of 2014 was the talk of more than 618,000 tweets per minute, a new record for the site at the time.

Where are we in the 2018 Russia World Cup?

READ: Noon.com scores big during FIFA World Cup 2018

Clicking goals

Now, in 2018, mobile engagement has shown no signs of stopping, and advertisers have come prepared. A report by WARC reveals that global mobile advertising spend is expected to rise 32% in 2018.

According to a Google Sports Survey, 30% of fans stream sporting events on their mobile devices because it allows them to watch games and events “on their own terms.”

The MENA region seems to be up to date with international trends. GlobalWebIndex reports that 74% of Saudi Snapchatters use their mobile phones during football games.

Furthermore, the region demonstrates very high levels of interest in football, according to Nielsen. 74% of Saudi Arabians, 69% of Egyptians, and 60% each of Qataris and Emiratis say they’re interested in the sport, far above the global average of 46%.

Now, with the World Cup about to end its group stage before the end of the week, brand advertising is firing on all cylinders.

READ: TV or digital: What’s scoring the most when it comes to FIFA World Cup 2018?

Live ads are king

Mirroring its success in 2014, Twitter remains a dominant platform for major companies such as McDonald’s Brazil, who used a viral Twitter campaign in collaboration with Brazilian star Neymar to build hype for the event.

Tom Wiesman, senior director at Analytic Partners, said that Twitter doesn’t necessarily work well as an everyday advertising medium. But, for events like the World Cup and news, it’s a different story, “that’s when the ROI is much, much stronger,” said Wiesman.

Twitter echoes this sentiment, saying that “one of the best opportunities to engage is by sponsoring events in real-time.”

In fact, they said that their “research into user-behavior shows relevancy is key when publishing sports-related brand content.” Entertaining or humorous content was found to be the most successful during this period, even if the ad content was not necessarily tied to the championship.

Twitter revealed that 82% of football fans who use their app plan to interact with the platform in some form before a match. 80% will use it during the match and 84% will use it afterward.

READ: World Cup advertisers: Adapt or risk losing your audience

Snapchat is not to be underestimated either

With three-quarters of Saudi Snapchatters using the app while watching games, it is clear the image and video sharing platform is not to be underestimated.

In 2017, Mobily ran a national filter for the Al Nassr v Al Hilal Crown Cup semifinal, giving Snapchatters the opportunity to predict the final score and share it with their friends. The national filter had over 90 million views, reaching over 7.6 million unique Snapchatters.

Snapchat’s Will Scougal, head of creative strategy in the EMEA region, revealed that users of their app are taking more than 3.5 billion Snaps a day on average. “This means the run rate is now more than 1 trillion Snaps taken in a year”, he adds in his article for Campaign.

“Last year, Premier League clubs Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton worked with us to create club-branded AR experiences. Over launch weekend, people spent a combined total of 15 years playing with and enjoying the new AR fan experience.”

Facebook is trying something new

According to Ad Age, the social network is offering a segment comprised of users who have expressed interest in the World Cup to its biggest advertisers.

It marks the first time Facebook has built an audience segment specifically for a TV event, in an attempt to rival other apps such as Twitter in what Ad Age refers to as “social TV”.

Beyond social media

Outside the scope of social media, food delivery apps, online shopping and ride-hailing apps will see an increase in sales, which makes it the ideal time to advertise to consumers.

Research by App Annie revealed an increase of 20-30% in food app orders. When viewers are watching the World Cup, they are in a festive mood, which means purchases through online shopping apps become more impulsive.

Finally, not everyone in the MENA region has an official subscription to allow them to watch the tournament, which in turn herds many fans into cafés and restaurants. Ride-hailing apps are guaranteed to see an increase in orders as a result.

CHECK THIS: The harsh truth about Arab teams’ failures at the World Cup

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Mark Anthony Karam
By Mark Anthony Karam
Journalist
Mark Anthony Karam has 3 years experience in the field of visual and written media, having earned his Masters degree from the UK.



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