World Cup Marketing Ideas 2018

It’s been just under a week since the FIFA World Cup in Russia has started, which according to GlobalWebIndex is watched by 47%, thus almost half of the world’s online population. And as football World Cups are regarded as the most watched sports events, the promising marketing possibilities arising from this huge audience are the reason why this year’s tournament is partly responsible for global spend on advertising forecasted to grow by 5.2% to $535bn in 2018.

Nonetheless, this year’s World Cup also comes with several challenges for marketers. One particular challenge is its dispersity and fragmentation into specific moments due to the different time zones of Russia that result in approximately 40% of people all over the world being asleep during the actual matches limiting the chance to watch them in real-time. Because of this, social media as an alternative way of watching the games, is becoming more crucial than ever for this World Cup. This development further corresponds with the trend that especially younger people often merely consume highlights of games through social media platforms instead of watching the full 90-minute game on TV. Marketers need to be aware of this when planning their marketing strategy around a big sports event such as the World Cup.

In order to support marketers with their social media strategy, Facebook even published a Coaching Manual ( dedicated to emphasising the importance of both platforms, Facebook and Instagram, with regards to the World Cup. Facebook has more than 400m football fans as users, while Instagram offers more than 140m. Football, in fact, is by far the most popular sport on both platforms, with three times more followers than the next most popular sport, basketball. Therefore, don’t miss out on the opportunity to reach this large audience and take a look below at our last-minute tips to get your marketing strategy World Cup-ready.

Be open to arising opportunities

Prepare your digital marketing in a way that lets you respond to different potential scenarios and link it to the progress of the World Cup, for instance have several ad copies prepared for different teams to win. Additionally, there is always the chance for something completely unpredictable to happen, so be ready to embrace suddenly appearing opportunities. A good example of this was Snicker’s fast reaction after Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini and turned him into the centre of their ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ campaign. But not only Snickers reacted fast to the incident, other brands like Listerine, Bud Light, Trident and McDonalds were all on the ball and used their social media presence to create spontaneous responses to the event.

Make sure your ad copy and keywords are up to date

When taking a closer look at paid media marketing around the World Cup, there are some specific points to bear in mind. Every marketer knows how difficult it is to directly advertise around the event on Google due to the FIFA protecting their trademark terms and making it impossible to use these as keywords or within ad copy. Instead of regular ads, during the tournament Google will show a OneBox highlighting upcoming games and results for direct World Cup-related queries. Despite these restrictions, there is still the opportunity to use terms related to specific matches. Checking and revising your ad copy and keywords on a daily basis during the tournament can help to find a way around these limitations and also keeps your ads relevant by enabling you to reflect the recent development of the tournament.

Double check negative keywords

On the other hand, with regards to the high competition for World Cup-related keywords like these, it is also important to review and revise your negative keyword list in order to prevent you from paying high amounts for clicks that are of no use to your brand, such as users searching for world cup results, world cup history or general information that has no connection to your brand, thus will not help you drive conversions.

Revise your bid adjustments

With regards to your bidding strategy, it is important to be aware of your brand’s positioning. Yes, according to Facebook, 90% of sports fans do agree that they use their mobile devices while watching football games but interpreting this as an argument to simply make positive bid adjustments in favour of mobile devices and negatively adjust bids for desktop during and around match times, can be a fallacy. Undisputedly, this is true for some brands, yet most brands, especially the ones without a substantial connection to the World Cup, should rather focus on rescheduling their ads and decreasing bids during and around match times as they won’t drive the desired results.

In conclusion it can be said that as promising as the event may sound from a marketing perspective, it is also important to keep in mind that World Cup-related marketing does not work for every brand, so do not try by hook or crook to shoehorn a football message into your ad thinking that everyone who is football affine will buy into your brand. Instead make sure to keep your ads relevant and related to your product and if possible correlated to the tournament to increase CTRs without using too generic ad copy that is forced to catch a glimpse of the World Cup hype – and with all your efforts, do not forget to enjoy the sport spectacle!

Back to top
Share this Page
Back to top


football advertising football marketing paid media PPC World cup world cup advertising world cup marketing

Latest Blog Posts