Brands could win big on mobile at this year’s World Cup

With the 2018 World Cup in Russia now kicking off – and the audience’s appetite for Ronaldo, Messi and co showing no sign of abating – marketers have a significant opportunity to engage with consumers. What makes this year’s tournament especially interesting is the fact that we are seeing consumers increasingly transitioning towards mobile-first for streaming big sporting events such as the World Cup.

  According to Google, 80 per cent of fans use mobile devices to search for player stats and find video replays while watching a game on TV.

In fact, Google found that almost a third of sports fans are now streaming live sports on their smartphones or tablets, making this year’s World Cup the most mobile yet. The official FIFA mobile app alone saw over 18 million downloads during the 2014 World Cup, this year it could be double that. It’s clear that mobile has opened up new possibilities to reach users.

For a start, fans who are tuned into sporting events are already deeply immersed in the sport in question and the information that surround it. According to Google, 80 per cent of fans use mobile devices to search for player stats and find video replays while watching a game on TV. This makes the World Cup an ideal opportunity to lean into this “second screen” phenomenon to reach new customers and re-engage with existing ones.

Marketers who invest in mobile app ads stand to gain significantly from their already-attentive audience. Our report describes a prominent ride-sharing app that capitalised on event viewing parties by increasing its share of in-app ads during this year’s Super Bowl. 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 with timely content.

Due to its very nature, the World Cup is a truly global event that has viewers tuning in around the clock to watch their teams vie for victory. When the first game kicks off at 6pm Moscow time, fans will be at different stages in their daily routines – from starting their workday in Mexico City, enjoying lunch in Brasília, signing off from work in London or streaming in bed in Tokyo.

Despite location, consumers worldwide all have one thing in common: they will more than likely have a smartphone on or near them at all times. Smart marketers will capitalise on this and connect with consumers in the moment, regardless of where and when they are – and app data can help.

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.

For example, marketers using programmatic buying technology can combine device location and app usage data to plan an audience strategy that’s 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 much fighting for consumer attention, brands need to get creative with their content strategy during the games. Video ads offer a great opportunity as fans will be consuming a majority of their content on mobile, but are still expecting high quality ad content. Mobile video ads targeting second screeners offer one such chance to reach audiences and capture mindshare around the games.

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 in the US – pointing to efforts to use this effective format and capitalize on existing streaming habits. And who could forget Beats’ wildly successful “Game Before the Game” video ad leading up to the 2014 World Cup, which now boasts over 33 million views?

The World Cup provides a truly unique opportunity by drawing the attention of billions of sports fans around the world. It’s a once-in-four-years milestone that every brand can capitalise on, no matter who their target audience is. Every major market across the globe will be tuning in, and they’ll be tuning in on mobile. With mobile device users spending three hours a day on average in apps, there’s no denying the power of this channel to drive engagement. By focusing on strategic planning, creative content and data-backed strategies for mobile, any brand can win big at the games this year.


Bertrand Salord, VP Marketing, App Annie

 

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