Key marketing trends to watch out for at the World Cup

Ok, no-one is yelling ‘marketing’s coming home!’ from the rooftops, but the 2018 World Cup could not only be a golden opportunity for Gareth Southgate’s men, it could also be a vital platform for marketers. With this in mind, we take a look at some of the marketing trends that have defined the World Cup so far.

It is a well-known fact that sponsorship is down for the 2018 edition of the tournament when compared to the samba-infused competition of 2014, but not all of that is attributable to the bad press surrounding Russia.

One key trend of this World Cup is that more and more matches have been streamed over the internet rather than watched traditionally on TV with major markets such as India and China seeing just under 50% of all viewers watching online. Closer to home, both the BBC and ITV have reported that England matches have seen over 2 million stream requests on their respective services.

With the online viewing trend showing no signs of slowing, sponsorship opportunities will continue to shift and the way marketers view the tournament as a vehicle for advertisement will change in step.

Alongside the shift to online viewing, there has also been a study in what individuals are doing while watching the game. Of course, most of the diehard fans will be glued onto the game, feeling every kick of the ball as they cheer their heroes on to success. However, just over 50% of all fans watching matches will be engaging on social media according to GlobalWebIndex while around the same number will chat or message friends mid-match.

This has seen plenty of money spent on marketing during the match as firms try and increase engagement when fans are using social media, which has been particularly prevalent in the gambling industry. Leading sportsbook giants have spent big this summer in a bid to tempt customers into opening an account through lucrative sign-up offers both pre-match and in-play. That said, other firms have also been muscling in on the act with pizza firm Domino's running a successful ‘order now for half-time’ advertisement.

Indeed, during the World Cup, advertising spend will be up £40 million when compared with this time last year and that reflects both those looking to cash-in on the interest around the tournament and those bowing out due to the competitiveness. It has even been a boost to traditional industries, with newspaper sales soaring through the roof and a consummate rise in print ads has followed this trend.

Across the world, the tournament will contribute to an estimated increase of $2.4 billion to global ad spend according to Zenith. Much of this growth will be centred on China and specifically Chinese millennials where there is an unusually large bulge of this demographic tuning in. Even though the national side - ranked 75th in the world by FIFA – failed to qualify, there will still be hundreds of millions of Chinese tuning in to track the progress. One thing that is perhaps missing from the to0urnament is a large American viewership. With the USA failing to qualify for the first time since 1986, there has likely been a small drop in viewing figures across the Atlantic.

The world landscape for marketers is constantly shifting and the World Cup is just another event which is being altered with each passing. However, if firms can embrace the trends successfully, then they can also have a shot at the glory normally reserved for the 32 competing nations.