The real champion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup: Digital marketing

Every four years the consistently biggest global marketing stage rolls around – the FIFA World Cup – where expense totals reach astronomical figures and revenue streams are flooded. Whether you live in a country where it’s soccer or futbol, World Cup-related digital marketing and social media activities are skyrocketing.

First, let’s put the event into perspective. In the US, Super Bowl XLVIII was the most watched television event in United States history, with an average 111.5 million football fanatics tuning in. Because it’s the biggest American television event each year, marketers capitalize on the opportunity with crazy, hilarious, or heart wrenching television ads that often are more memorable than the game itself.    

However, nearly five times as many people around the globe – 530 million – tuned into the 2010 World Cup Final. But that’s not the most astonishing fact. Of the 64 World Cup matches that year, 57 had over 100 million viewers. That means that over the course of a month, 57 different ‘soccer Super Bowls’ happened. This fact has not gone unnoticed by marketers in 2014. eMarketer projects a total expenditure of roughly 1.3 billion American dollars in advertising during this year’s World Cup, with $68.5 million going towards television and the $56 million balance hitting the Internet.

So how is digital marketing a big winner? At 2010’s World Cup, companies invested only 20% of their total marketing expenditure in digital media, compared to the nearly 50% of 2014 projected expenditures. Global corporations have finally decided to utilize the web to their full potential, implementing digital strategies rather than having TV commercial wars.

Social media definitely has World Cup fever. In the first week alone, Facebook reported 459 million World Cup-related interactions (posts, likes, comments), whereas the Super Bowl resulted in roughly a 185 million and the Sochi Winter Olympics had 120 million. And this week’s semifinal between Germany and Brazil became the most discussed sporting event ever on Twitter. According to Twitter, the match generated 35.6 million tweets, peaking at 580,166 tweets per minute. Comparatively, the 2014 Super Bowl generated 24.9 million tweets.

All of this activity is generating big numbers for social networks and advertisers. To promote its Gol mobile app, McDonalds purchased a global Promoted Trend on Twitter in 57 countries, estimated to have cost $1-2 million dollars. Nike’s #RiskEverything campaign has generated 6 billion impressions across TV, cinema, web, social, gaming, mobile and out-of-home.

Viral videos in particular have taken over the Internet during this year’s World Cup. Nike has implemented an interesting strategy where they show a small part of their riveting commercials on television and at the end give a call to action to visit YouTube to see what happens next. Not surprisingly, this call has been answered, and Nike’s “Winner Stays” video has accumulated over 86 million views on YouTube. Shakira and Sony Music are also cashing in on the YouTube medium, with Shakira’s song “La La La (Brazil 2014)” hitting 157 million views and still climbing.

It will be interesting to see how the final numbers add up after the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina, but regardless of the winner, it would seem that marketers will be cheering.

If you’re heading to Washington for WPC, look for the ClickDimensions team on Sunday afternoon… we’ll be watching!

Happy Marketing!

Written by Marcus Andren and Heather Wright, ClickDimensions marketing


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