Everything Marketers Need to Know About the 2018 World Cup

By Pooja Kanabar

The 2018 World Cup is a huge opportunity for marketers to grow social media engagement and increase brand awareness.

Social media activity soars during large-scale events like the World Cup, and the most significant driver of effectiveness will be the quality of content pushed and a brand’s ability to link meaningfully to that content.

If you want to craft a winning social strategy these are our critical considerations:

Understand your audience

To get a better sense of your audiences requirements, before venturing into World Cup activity, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What types of content will your audience want to read?

  • What social channels are your audiences most active on?

  • What are you hoping to achieve as a result of your World Cup social activity?


Play by the World Cup marketing rules

Given the the global focus of the World Cup, FIFA has official sponsors in three tiers: FIFA Partners, World Cup Sponsors, and National Supporters. As a marketer you need to be aware that FIFA has a strict set of guidelines about how its official marks should be used.

To summarise. Companies who aren’t official sponsors, or ‘commercial affiliates’ may not engage in promotional activities which imply a ‘commercial association’ between their company or brand and the World Cup as an event or FIFA itself.

What this means for marketers is, if you’re running any kind of promotion that seeks to take advantage of the World Cup, you can’t mention the World Cup and you can’t use any of the World Cup logos or branding.

As long as a tactical approach is adopted you can still take advantage of the buzz around the World Cup. If you are still in doubt, consult with a legal team to get a second opinion before hitting the publish button.

Keep content relevant & timely

With the buzz of the games it can be easy to get side tracked but for content to be effective, it needs to be on brand, relevant and timely.

According to Twitter and Mediacom research, 70% of Twitter users said it was ok for brands to use social media if they are providing relevant content such as Video, Tweets, and Moments.

An easy way to ensure this is achieved is by thinking about the following:

  • What is guaranteed to happen at the games? For example, there is guaranteed to be an opening ceremony and you’ll have a clear idea of the initial fixtures of the games so you can leverage this activity by pre-producing relevant advertising and content assets.

  • At Adglow we use a smart tool called SportSync for advertisers who want to publish timely and relevant ad campaigns that keep their brand front and centre. The tool triggers social ad campaigns during match highlights to maximise engagement during a game. You can find out more about how to leverage this tool here.

  • Think about how your brand can tap into the excitement and memories associated with matches and connect with audience’s emotional highs and lows, and create timely messages that resonate with them.


Get creative

With unprecedented opportunity to reach a global audience, there will be a lot of noise on social newsfeeds and for content to stand out, being savvy with creative is a must.

Here are some hard and fast rules:

  • Think creatively about how best to get your message across. What sort of similarity is there between your product or service and what fans are experiencing during the World Cup?

  • Get a full understanding of cultural norms, traditions and celebrations and use this knowledge to craft creative that brings these cultural differences to life and really resonates with your region’s audience.

  • Create posts that drive conversations from audiences e.g. what do you think about? Or running polls e.g who do you think will win?


Embrace the mobile and video revolution

Video is an ever-present part of consumer behaviour, and brands that use video can be particularly successful. 

  • Tasteful GIF’s can be a secret weapon for social engagement. GIFs have viral appeal, and stand out from images. They are also mobile-friendly and hook user’s attention.

  • Facebook has put more emphasis on video content in their News Feed. Embrace video and Facebook Live. Live videos average 6 times the engagement. (Source: Facebook)

  • Aim to deliver video content messages in 15 seconds or less. Ads should start off with the most captivating elements, and branding should be displayed within the first 3 seconds. Using colourful thumbnails, vivid backgrounds and stunning product shots grabs attention.

  • A majority of content will be consumed on the move, and brands should consider this when creating video. Vertical video will ensure visual stories are framed in an optimal format and maintain user engagement.


Divide & conquer

The World Cup is a global, real-time opportunity. Staffing up your ad management team will ensure you handle different regions efficiently and ensure your content lands on audiences News Feeds.

If you plan to run campaigns in 5 different markets, it will involve tackling language barriers and time zone differences on a large scale.

Having all hands on deck or hiring paid media specialists will be well worth the investment and ensure you tackle regional campaigns in the most efficient way possible.

Final words

With multiple platforms vying for the attention of football fans on a global mass scale, social media will be at the heart of the World Cup.

Brands have a massive opportunity to embrace consumer shifts and connect with mass audiences around the world on native social spaces with an array of marketing activity.

Knowing how to leverage the versatility of each social platform, understanding the needs of audience groups and maximising the targeting capabilities with highly optimised content are crucial for success.

To find out how Adglow can help you to run a successful paid social campaign, click here.

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