Published: June 16, 2018

3 Ways Advertisers Can Use Mobile to Reach Consumers During the World Cup

During the 2014 games, the FIFA mobile app had over 18 million downloads

In the 21st century, consumers are increasingly transitioning toward mobile for streaming sports. In fact, a recent Google survey found that 30 percent of sports fans say they now stream live sports on their smartphones or tablets.

With the 2018 World Cup just around the corner, marketers across multiple industries have a significant opportunity to engage with consumers on mobile. The 2014 World Cup reached 100 million U.S. viewers, and in many countries, it reached up to 90 percent of its total population. The audience is huge and ripe for engagement, and the opportunity is up for any country or marketer’s taking.

With the official FIFA mobile app seeing Advertisers who prioritize mobile and keep the following strategies in mind will gain significant lifts in loyalty and engagement long after the World Cup is over.

Lean into the second screen

Fans who are tuned into sporting events are already deeply immersed in the games and content surrounding them. According to Google, 80 percent 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 the 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, and select brands are leading the pack. Our report describes a prominent ride-sharing app that capitalized on event viewing parties by increasing its share of in-app ads surrounding the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony and the 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 also broaden their reach by attracting new users with timely content.

Combine location and app usage data

Unlike the World Series, 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 6 p.m. Moscow time, fans will be at different stages in their daily routines, from starting their workday in Mexico City, enjoying lunch in Brazil, leaving work in Paris 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 capitalize on this and connect with consumers in the moment, regardless of where and when they are. And app data can help.

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 France. 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.

Get creative with video content 

When it comes to engagement, the World Cup has a unique viewing format with two uninterrupted 45-minute halves and an event that lasts an entire month from start to finish. 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 the 2018 Super Bowl and Winter Olympics, a popular mobile game company increased its share of video advertising by more than 16 percent week over week in the U.S., 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 capitalize 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.

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