FIFA World Cup 2018 – The Electromagnet of Digital Marketing is Here!

Caution! Lot of benches in schools and colleges could remain vacant this week onwards. Offices could see lot of absenteeism or requests for remote working. Latest movie shows could only to be viewed by empty seats and shopping malls could keep waiting for customers. Yes, the FIFA World Cup 2018 has kicked off amid worldwide exuberance and is sure to top everybody’s list of priority for at least a month. A sportsvaganza that is awaited with bated breath for four years, and definitely it is worth the wait!!

India is a nation of sports lovers and football is one of the biggest craze. According to an IPSOS survey, 88% Indians say that they will watch the world cup with friends and family, 69% will catch the action with colleagues, while 62% say they will head to a pub/restaurant to live the excitement along with some good food and drinks. What’s more? Restaurants have also introduced FIFA themed menus for the game lovers. The Indian football team is not even participating in the FIFA world Cup 2018, but that won’t keep Indians away from following its favourite sporting event.

Events as huge and exciting as this one exude a passion that is too contagious. So, can social media be left behind? Can you scroll your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter news feed without a single comment or discussion about FIFA world cup 2018? Sponsors and brands are toppling over each other while Digital Marketers are trying every bit to capitalize on this global event while the fever lasts.

Some of the innovative ways in which the FIFA World Cup is inspiring digital marketing are:

(1) Trending posts

Online platforms will see heated debates, friendly conversations and lots of group discussions on the current hot sporting topic. In today’s world, these conversations will be powered by a sponsor or brand logo. Many brands also schedule posts predicting the outcome of the game, discussing each move by each player during the game and also following up on the actual outcome. There are liquor brands like Budweiser who are even promising free beer if a particular team wins!

(2) Maximum use of official event hashtags

Hashtags are dominating the marketing sphere and you cannot escape it. There will be posts, images and tweets with official hashtags of the FIFA World Cup so as to connect with others using the same hashtags to search some information or update on the official event.

(3) Followers

The sponsors of popular sporting events will mostly encourage supporters to follow their favourite teams on social media.

Country-wise Distribution of Instagram and Twitter Followers

(4) Celebrity effect

Whether it is sports or movies, celebrities have huge impact on the purchasing behaviour of the consumer. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard and Neymar are huge brands and have stupendous celebrity power. These extremely successful players have the magic to pull eyeballs to any brand that they endorse, or any activity that they associate themselves with. Digital marketers are utilizing it to the fullest and creating image frames, fan pages dedicated to these players and using it to promote particular brands and services.

(5) Blog posts

Blog writers are picking a theme related to the FIFA World Cup and weaving their post around it. These blogs could be centered on anything such as finance, career, marketing or health. But these intelligent bloggers are picking a thread relevant to their sites and offering content that resonates with the spirit of the FIFA World cup.

(6) Esports Impact

Web-based sports competition, e-tournaments or e-sports have become increasingly popular among children and youth.  According to Lokesh Suji, director of the Esports Federation of India, India has around 120 million online gamers. This population will cross 300 million by 2021. India’s ranking in esports has jumped from 29 to 20 in the past one year. The esports industry is highly tech-based and professional unlike the basic video gaming. Digital Marketers are taking cues from the success of this phenomenon and targeting young e-gamers amid the FIFA world cup event.

Digital marketing is best suited to the evolving modes of viewership during sports events

The emergence of social media has given rise to a new platform for brands to connect with sports fan across the globe. FIFA World Cup is an event bigger than the Olympics and Superbowl in terms of viewership. If it is implemented rightly, it has the power to create a big buzz and high impact marketing activities. With smart strategizing, quick thinking and proper targeting, digital marketing has the power to outdo major TV commercials during sports events. During the FIFA world cup 2014, Nike’s advertisement featuring Cristiano Ronaldo garnered close to 72 million views. The star himself shared the advert on Twitter with his 26 million followers and it became viral in no time. Times have changed, viewership has evolved, but the sentiment around football remains the same. Yesterday the centrepiece was television, today World Cup is viewed on mobile phones and tablets. Naturally, the marketing has to be tailored around these channels.