The Social Business of the World Cup Soccer Game
The World Cup truly has become a global event bringing together a level of sportsmanship and social interaction not seen since the Olympics.
Fans are turning to their phones and computer screens to capture the pride and intensity surrounding each game. Twitter, the unofficial social channel of the FIFA World Cup, has created a campaign that features hashtags, scoreboards, schedules, team Twitter handles and even flag icons to add some visual appeal to every tweet. It's pretty all-out.
PREVIEW: A 2002 rematch decides the first team in this year's #WorldCup Final. #BRA or #GER? - http://t.co/SDYp3pAJTL pic.twitter.com/15KjiWTQKh— FIFAWorldCup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 8, 2014
World Cup Soccer by the Numbers
Four years ago, Twitter was still gaining ground as a social media newbie when the World Cup went to South Africa. But this year in Rio, people are tweeting and posting like crazy.
Twitter reported there were more tweets about the 2014 World Cup before it even began than for the entire tournament in 2010. The opening match between Brazil and Croatia garnered over 12.2 million tweets, which isn’t surprising since Brazil has the fifth-most Twitter users in the world behind the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
The World Cup is still behind the Super Bowl, with last year’s game, including pregame, halftime and post-game, being the most tweeted event with 24.9 million. But the USA vs. Portugal game did put out over 8 million tweets during the match. Not too shabby.
But as the World Cup comes down to the finals, what do all these numbers mean for big business?
Scoring a Message
Since the World Cup is viewed and shared on a global scale, advertisers have the potential to reach an international audience. Marketing campaigns timed to drop during the World Cup are often created in multiple languages and designed to expand beyond traditional geographical and cultural boundaries. The campaigns – while narrow in their message - have a broad appeal and convey universal truths that resonate not only with longtime fans of the sport, but new and emerging lovers of international football too.
It’s this kind of approach to marketing that allows companies to tap into basic and universal human emotions. In many of the ads running during this year’s games, the message is less about the competition and more about the sportsmanship. Nike sells personal achievement, McDonald’s promotes fun and Coke appeals to happiness.
Nike sells personal achievement
McDonald's promotes fun
Coke appeals to happiness
LIVE from the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the unveiling of the Happiness Flag. http://t.co/obZubmsM5G #WorldsCup pic.twitter.com/5bZ95KKEAU— Coca-Cola (@CocaCola) June 12, 2014
Marketers use social media, including tweets, images and video, to cultivate their universal, feel-good message into something as equally captivating as a final-second, overtime goal. A strong message in combination with social media creates engagement and drives fans to a brand.
Messaging at its core is what drives the social media success of many brands. Understand your messaging, and you understand your fans and followers. For the World Cup, social media is becoming as ingrained in the sport as advertising but the messaging remains the same – sports are universal.