Social Trends To Take Note of For The 2018 World Cup

By Pooja Kanabar

As one of the world's most significant sporting events, the World Cup’s global reach provides marketers with a golden opportunity to tap into people’s passion for football.

According to a survey of more than 80,000 people conducted by GlobalWebIndex, 47% of the global online population plan to watch the World Cup either online or on TV.

If you want to take advantage of your social activity during the 2018 World Cup, here are the top trends to take note:

Russia 2018 will be the mobile World Cup

One of the most significant consumer shifts since the 2014 World Cup is that mobile has changed the game for marketers and firmly cemented its place as one of the most influential communication tools of our time.

Consuming content on the move has become the norm. Our mobile phones are with us virtually every waking minute of the day – and that includes when we’re watching TV.

Consumers have shifted to a multi-screen experience with 80% of sports fans agreeing that they use a mobile device while watching a game. (Source: Facebook).

Mobile is driving conversation and engagement like no other medium, and brands should leverage social to optimise their content to sync with this shift.

A smart tool Adglow use to leverage mobile and TV behaviour for advertisers is TV Sync; you can find out how we can maximise ad exposure with it here.

Big match, small screen

Another dramatic shift which goes hand in hand with the rise of mobile is the shift to video.

  • 10 million videos are watched on Snapchat per day. (Source: Snapchat)

  • 82% of Twitter users view video content. (Source: Twitter)

  • Over 500 million people watch video on Facebook every day. (Source: Forbes)

  • Mobile video traffic will account for three-quarters of the world's mobile data traffic by 2021. (Source: Cisco)


According to Facebook, three times more video was uploaded in 2016 compared to 2015, while sports fans on Instagram watch twice as much video as non-fans. During Euro 2016, there were nearly 1 billion views for videos related to the tournament.

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

Global audiences won’t need to miss the action

The time zones in Russia will mean that about 40% of the world’s population will be asleep when matches are played. (Source: Football Media Network).

Due to the time differences, the way fans consume, watch and engage with the games will be hugely different across the globe. Social media will, therefore, play a critical role in bridging the gap.

The 2018 World Cup will be split into little moments for those who weren’t able to watch the full game and people who are watching the game will be engaging in conversations about match highlights.

Brands should think carefully about what channels they plan to put their messages on and at what times, as well as how they can tailor their content to the needs and expectations of different audience groups.

Social engagement has changed the game

Facebook has more than 400 million football fans as users, while Instagram has more than 140 million. Football, is the most popular sport on both platforms, with three times more followers than the next most popular sport, basketball.

When analysing football conversation over an average month during a regular football season, Facebook saw 1.6 billion interactions with football-related content. (Source: Facebook).

Football fans who use Twitter plan to interact with the platform in some form. Whether it's reading analysis or commentary, watching highlights or participating in the conversation, 80% will use Twitter during the match, and 84% will use it afterwards. (Source: Twitter)

“On the average footballing weekend in the UK football enthusiasts on Snapchat, actively look and watch football-related content, and are 18% more active in sending Snaps to friends than the average Snapchatter. On big match days like the 2017 Champions League final, football enthusiasts globally are 48% more active than the average Snapchatter” - Will Scougal, head of creative strategy, EMEA, Snapchat.

There's no denying it, the level of engagement on social media for football enthusiasts is enormous, and marketers should embrace the opportunities it can offer them.

Football fans want to get personal

Alongside following teams, social media has offered fans a direct gateway to interact with their favourite players, off the field.

94% of sports fans on Instagram use the platform to see the personal side of athletes (Source: Facebook).

An example is Cristiano Ronaldo. According to a Uefa bench marketing report, the Real Madrid football player has over 127 million Instagram followers, 122.6 million Facebook likes & over 73 million Twitter followers.

The Uefa report says: "In many cases, top players have just as large a social media following as the clubs they play for. Cristiano Ronaldo, the most popular player on social media, has more Twitter followers than Real Madrid and FC Barcelona combined [65.3 million] and more fans on Facebook than any of Europe's top-division clubs [122 million]."

The authenticity and what goes on behind-the-scenes of a match are just as important to fans, and brands can leverage this by interacting with star players social activity as well as specific teams, or country pages.

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.

To find out how we can help you to create a winning paid social strategy, contact us! 

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