The 2014 FIFA World Cup is more digital than ever before.
The start of the FIFA World Cup is less than a week away and that means brands across the world are making the most of the building hype. We all know how it goes when football fever starts to heat up. Within what feels like the space of a few days, our televisions become inundated with adverts promoting the latest sneaker/technology/cooldrink/random product surrounding the planet’s most-watched sporting event. But, as the 2014 tournament kicks off, we step back and have a look at why digital marketing, and not TV, is taking the lead this time around.
In a recent article by Bloomberg , the news site tracked the online success of Nike’s latest advert featuring footballer Christian Ronaldo on YouTube. The ad was first released in late April and was shared by the sports star to his 26 million twitter followers. In a matter of days, the advert had been seen by millions, commented on and promoted across the web.
“I’m pretty sure what I launched today will be around the world in a second,” Nike’s brand president Trevor Edwards said at the release of the ad. To date, the YouTube video has had close to 72 million views.
It seems big brands like Nike are starting to lower their television marketing budget for the World Cup as they make greater use of social media to reach massive, engaged audiences online.
Their competitor Adidas is actually spending more on online marketing efforts than on TV broadcasting surrounding the tournament. According to their Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Hainer, about half of Adidas’ media expenditure around the event will go online, versus the fifth which was spent during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“The marketing of the World Cup has changed dramatically since 2010,” said Facebook marketing executive Carolyn Everson. “Four years ago the centerpiece was television. This is going to be a mobile World Cup.”
This brings us on to why brands are giving their love to digital. Putting World Cup promotions online makes sense, says Bloomberg. It is clear that football fans want to connect with the tournament as Google reports that searches related to the tournament over the past four years have outnumbered those for the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and the Tour de France combined. International brands like Nike and Adidas have international audiences, and what better way to reach them than by posting on a single medium that stretches the length of the globe? Having an advert in a single place like YouTube and marketing throughout social media lets the whole world join in on the hype. Instead of a television advert that people eventually get annoyed with, digital is allowing people to take an active role and become immersed in the World Cup, and more importantly for marketers, the brand.
According to Marketing Week, because of FIFA’s limited efforts to engage with football fans online, the space has been left wide open for brands to take advantage of the event and create their own low cost content to connect with audiences. Online media has also blurred the lines between the rights holder and sponsors, meaning that FIFA is unable to monetise the online arena in the same way it did for broadcasting. This gives brands the chance to reach massive audiences more effectively for less.
This engagement moves beyond social though. For a mobile generation, apps like the official FIFA App mean that users can keep up with the hype and not miss a moment of the event. A simple download helps you count down the hours until the big day, keep track of scoreboards, follow players and even watch matches. Where before TV was most people’s source of World Cup news, now apps allow updates to stream live directly to your pocket.
Even the very game itself is turning to digital. Goal line incidents are now a thing of the past as for the first time in history, technology will be used at the World Cup to determine whether a ball crosses a goal line or not. Tech2 explains:
“A system developed by little-known German company GoalControl uses 14 cameras — seven trained on each goalmouth — that are mounted on the roof of the stadium and can capture the three-dimensional position of the ball with high precision. When the whole of the ball passes the goal line, a vibration and optical signal is sent to a watch worn by the referee in less than one second, indicating that a goal should be awarded.”
With access to instant data, engaged audiences and low cost advertising, it’s no wonder that sponsor and non-sponsor brands alike are taking up digital as their main marketing technique this year. There are millions of people around the globe with a passion and love for the game. Digital marketing is simply taking this excitement online and letting us revel in it. Have you noticed any particularly great digital marketing techniques surrounding the 2014 FIFA World Cup? Let us know in the comments below!