The FIFA World Cup - football by numbers

The FIFA World Cup - football by numbers

With the 2018 FIFA World Cup half way done, it is time to take a look at some of the observations we’ve made during the recent football-filled weeks. From a marketing perspective, the World Cup offers a chance to connect with a large audience in real time to celebrate the football spirit, as well as to start conversations, drive engagement and reinforce a business’s brand.  Social media has played a key role in uniting football fans across the globe, and bringing the players closer to their fans. Besides this, it has been interesting to note how digital technologies such as the use of VAR and augmented reality have shaped this World Cup, making Russia 2018 one of a kind.

Social media: Uniting football fans across the globe

To illustrate the spread of the football mania, we’ve created a heat map that illustrates the geographical spread of tweets using the #WorldCup, showing which countries are tweeting most about the tournament. We also highlight the top 6 languages using #Russia2018 on Twitter. Besides just uniting football fans, social media has also influenced the way we watch the games. After all, watching football has become increasingly social, and people are using various social media platforms as a so-called second screen, to discuss events both on and off the field, message their friends and get the latest news, insights and behind the scenes material. 

For marketers, this creates opportunities to engage with the football audience through means of content marketing, allowing consumers to connect with the brand over a common interest. Besides driving engagement, participating in football-themed conversations online can also add personality to the brand. A key point to remember here is that an increasing number of people are experiencing the World Cup through their mobile phones, highlighting the need for mobile optimised content. 

Digital technologies enabling football-themed experience marketing

The most interesting introduction of digital technology to the World Cup would be the use of the VAR (Video assistant referee system), to support referee decision-making. This illustrates how video technology can be used to improve decisions and correct injustices, without disturbing the flow of the game. Outside the field, brands are increasingly responding to the publics demand of experiences, and therefore augmented reality, virtual reality and video content has boomed. For example BBC Sport is offering a virtual reality experience while Coca Cola and Indian Big Bazaar have hosted football-themed augmented reality experiences. Even Adidas, the creator of the official World Cup match ball, has included a NFC Chip in the football itself. This way the ball can provide Adidas-related content, such as exclusive product information and special football-themed content when put near a mobile phone, which in turn can help drive customer engagement and help create a more holistic World Cup experience for the fans. 

Last but not least

The 2018 FIFA World Cup has allowed all of us unite over a common interest and celebrate football in an increasingly digitally-enabled manner. This illustrates how the World Cup is not just for those with big marketing budgets enabling expensive TV ads, it is for all of us, who are willing to participate and engage in online conversations. To succeed in what has often been referred to as ‘moment marketing’, you need to push out timely and relevant content in high traffic areas. Therefore, regardless if you are large global business or a small start up, if you are looking for ways to better connect a wide audience, participating in online conversations on the World Cup may just be the right way for you to drive engagement and reinforce your brand. 

Good luck to all remaining teams in the tournament. 

The DP Team