Marketers can expand their audience reach by taking advantage of the fact football fans around the world use their smartphones to access data and stats now more than ever, explains Bertrand Salord, VP marketing at research company App Annie (pictured, below).
Last week saw the 2018 World Cup kick off in Russia, and with the audience’s appetite for Ronaldo, Messi and company showing no sign of abating, marketers are presented with a significant opportunity to engage with consumers in new and unique ways. What is making this year’s tournament especially interesting is the fact we are seeing consumers transition towards a mobile-first experience for the first time at a World Cup.
While during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil the official FIFA mobile app saw more than 18 million downloads, this year it is expected to be double that. Recent research from Google found almost a third of fans are now streaming live sports on their smartphones or tablets. This is making this year’s World Cup the most mobile yet and is opening up a plethora of new possibilities for brands to reach users around the globe.
Second screen phenomenon
For a start, fans who are tuned into sporting events are already deeply immersed in the sport and have an insatiable appetite for all the information, stats and gossip surrounding it.
According to the same Google research, 80 per cent of them use mobile devices to search for stats on their favourite players or find video replays while watching a game on TV. This makes the World Cup an ideal opportunity to ride upon this second screen phenomenon to reach new customers and engage more effectively with existing ones.
Marketers who invest in mobile app advertisements stand to gain significantly from their already-attentive audience. Our recent report outlined how a prominent taxi-hailing app was able to capitalise on the event viewing parties phenomenon seen around the Super Bowl by increasing its share of in-app ads during the game.
As the World Cup kicks off, brands that can reach this captive audience on mobile will not only increase engagement with existing users, but broaden their reach by attracting new users at a time when they are more open to offers.
Around the clock marketing
Due to its very nature, the World Cup provides around the clock marketing opportunities. It has viewers tuning in at various times of the day to watch their teams vie for victory.
For example, when the first game kicked off at 18:00 Moscow time, fans were at different stages in their daily routines – from starting their workday in Mexico City, enjoying lunch in Brasilia, signing off from work in London or streaming in bed in Tokyo.
Consumers worldwide all have one thing in common: they will more than likely have a smartphone on or near them. Smart marketers will capitalise on this and connect with consumers in the moment, regardless of where and when they are.
Effective app data is key. Marketers using programmatic buying technology can combine device location and app usage data to plan an audience strategy which is effective on a global scale.
With this information, a global restaurant chain could deliver ads for a cup of coffee to fans in Mexico, while offering lunch specials in Brazil and happy hour deals in London. Context is key, but thoughtful planning and creative content mapped to specific regional audiences, even referencing the regional games when their home team is playing, can help marketers create winning micro-moments.
With so many fighting for consumer attention, brands need to get creative with their content strategy during games. Video ads targeting second screeners offer a great opportunity as fans are already consuming video content on their mobile (such as highlights or analysis), but the ads needs to be of sufficiently high quality.
During this year’s Super Bowl, a popular mobile game company increased its share of video advertising by more than 16 percentage points week-over-week – pointing to efforts to use this effective format and capitalise on existing streaming habits.
This year’s World Cup provides a truly unique opportunity by drawing the attention of billions of sports fans around the world from a variety of backgrounds.
It’s a once-in-four-years opportunity for brands. Every major market across the globe will be tuning in and in 2018 they’ll be tuning in on mobile. With mobile device users spending three hours a day on average in apps, there’s no denying its power to drive engagement. By focusing on strategic planning, creative content and data-backed strategies for mobile, any brand can win big at this year’s tournament.
The editorial views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and will not necessarily reflect the views of the GSMA, its Members or Associate Members.