When it comes to engagement on Twitter, the World Cup is hard to beat.
In 2014, the tournament became the most-Tweeted about event in history with 672 million Tweets created from beginning to end.
Compare that with #Rio2016, which had 180 million Tweets, and #London2012 with 150 million. While the #SuperbowlXLIX had ‘only’ 28.4 million.
The World Cup is the biggest event on Twitter in terms of conversation, and many brands are using the platform to connect and engage with these fans.
Here, using research from Twitter and Mediacom S&E, we take a look at how brands can reach out to UK football fans and what they should bear in mind when they do.
If you’re a brand, few things are more important than being aware of what your target audience is talking about.
And if you can talk to them in an entertaining and relevant way, then so much the better.
Between 2015 to November 2017 Twitter and Mediacom S&E found a 124% growth in football videos being shared on the platform.
But the World Cup is different from most tournaments. In general, fans are predominantly interested in how their team progresses. In 2014, England was kicked out in the group stages (and the other home nations failed to qualify).
However, the Argentina-Germany final still drew 20 million viewers on British TV. Proof, if you need it, that this tournament is more than just about your team.
And for many, like England fans in 2014, that could be just as well.
The good news for many brands is football fans are happy to engage with marketing content around the tournament. This is true globally, as well as in the UK.
Recently, a survey of 34,000 footfall fans from around the world found 54% of them were brand conscious*.
On Twitter, one of the best opportunities to engage is by sponsoring events in real-time. Although all of our top sponsorship packages for live coverage were quickly sold, there are many more ways to get involved (see 8).
Twitter provides numerous ways to drill down into different audiences who are using the platform to monitor the World Cup. And this summer there will be more than pure football fans who are watching the tournament.
This is shown by some revealing figures to come out of Twitter’s own research regarding user engagement among people interested in watching and engaging with the tournament.
In the UK, 65% of Twitter users describe themselves as football fans. But this gets interesting when the World Cup is factored into the question.
Here, 71% of Twitter users said they planned to watch the event. This means the event has the potential to bring in different users than other major football tournaments like the Champions League.
Many fans will be watching their team but using Twitter to express their views and gauge the opinion of others.
In fact, 82% of the football fans who use Twitter plan to interact with the platform in some form before a match. 80% will use it during the match and 84% will use it afterward.
Fans will be reacting on Twitter to events surrounding the matches. However, they are likely to express this in a variety of ways.
Here we look at three ways they are likely to engage, alongside different ways brands can reach out to them on Twitter during the World Cup.
Reading analysis and commentary
Instream Video Sponsorships
Participating in the conversation
Instream Video Sponsorships
Instream Video Ads
Unsurprisingly, Twitter’s own research into user-behaviour shows relevancy is key when publishing sports-related brand content.
The Twitter and Mediacom research found 70% of users said it was ok for brands to use social media if they are providing relevant content such as Video, Tweets, and Moments.
Moreover, 63% of users said they would remember those brands for being associated with the conversation. So the rewards are there for any brand who produces content around the event.
Fortunately, there are many ways to do this in an entertaining and innovative way.
Twitter Sponsorships allow brands to be partnered with the biggest and best events delivered in real time.
In terms of the World Cup, Twitter has partnerships in place with the leading broadcasters and rights holders to bring the very best content to the platform.
Although Twitter’s real time packages with ITV are sold out, there are still plenty of alternatives available for companies looking to engage with the biggest sporting event of the year.
It is important to remember that the tournament brings out an appetite for all things football. This is a time when memories and former players come back to the fore.
To build on this, Twitter has also partnered with ITV to offer sponsorship campaigns around iconic World Cup moments its archive.
Brands can run In Stream pre-roll video ads against the sublime, such as Hurst’s ‘They think it's all over’ goal against West Germany in 1966. To Gazza’s tears in Turin. Or the infamous, like Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal against England at Mexico86.
Twitter has also teamed up with Big Sport, which has agreements with former footballing greats like John Barnes, Steven Gerrard, and Lee Dixon.
Here there are a number of pre-existing show ideas that can be adapted in line with a company’s marketing strategy.
Or you can go for something ready-made. We are also working with Sky Sport’s original show SoccerAM at the World Cup. The classic show will bring its unique take on the tournament.
Whatever you go for, football is always huge on Twitter. While we can’t guarantee England will win, we know it is going to be even bigger in June.
The only question is when football fans tweeting about this year's tournament will break the 672 million record from 2014.