Whats going to happen during the world cup ?
Well, England aren’t going to win. The Semi-Finals will include at least two teams from south or central America (history and all that)
Things will never be the same again (WTF?) . Yes, this World Cup will change everything. And it will change nothing . . .
One thing is will not be is platform neutral. It will be dominated by two platforms: TV and mobile.
TV is still the dominant platform for Live sports coverage across the planet. There is a reason for this. TV companies do large screens well. Very well. People want to share major sporting events with their friends, family, and increasingly the whole world. Its very difficult to share a physical experience on a 1.5 inch screen.
So, what does that mean for what is increasingly the first screen (mobile)? By first screen we don’t mean the one that has the highest “media time” or the biggest media ROI (not yet anyway). We mean the one people turn on when they get up. The one they check over 150 times a day?
If last year was the most social Olympics, the FIFA World Cup will blow that into oblivion. Or it would do if we had a football team half as talented, competitive and dedicated as our Olympic athletes. If you take Google trends data and look at the scale of World Cup searches vs Olympics searches over time, and acknowledge smartphone penetration to be at a meaningful level now vs the last World Cup then you have an indication about what will matter.
A 2011 CNN study (a year after the last World Cup) suggested people checked their phones 36 times a day. This year Nokia believe that number to have risen more than 4-fold in the last 3 years to 150.
Not that long ago, people danced at concerts. Now they are more worried about their battery running out and the 3G connection so that they can upload videos and pics to their friends of them all having a good time – meta-enjoyment.
This will be the crucial battleground for advertisers who want to play in next year’s World Cup. Being in the conversation, being in the moment (thanks Twitter), being in the next day round up. What we saw in the run up, during and after the Olympics were advertisers telling stories that used hashtags as meta-navigation tools: #takethetsage; #makeitcount, #shareacoke. These were used by people on social media to navigate the conversation they wanted to be part of (when they wanted to be part of it) and to stay away from that conversation when they weren’t interested (sometimes I just want to wish my mate Dom a Happy Birthday on Facebook, not #makeitcount).
The secondary battleground will be the store not media content. A compelling store presence is crucial for the vast majority of brands. Why does this matter to a story about what is going to happen next year? Because generally store execution is very, very samey. Expect to see the hashtag become a central part of designed navigation strategies (whether people want it in there or not)
The final important battleground will be short form video. I’d hate to be misleading and call it online video, because that’s not what I mean. I mean short form. Expect to see one of the savvy broadcasters create good short form content around the World Cup, if they don’t then someone else will (YouTube creators, Contented Group, Ball Street, Talk Sport, a brand through Twitter … someone will nail this). This matters because as the mobile dominates the media opportunity around the conversation and the mobile needs short form content for simple bandwidth vs cost vs screen attention reasons. This also matters because it brings YouTube into the equation, which will undoubtedly house millions of uploaded hours of football content around the World Cup, some professional, some horribly amateurish.
Oh, and yes, ITV and the BBC, what about them? Well the BBC nailed the Olympics didn’t they? They are very good at things like Glastonbury. But this is different and ITV have been getting their act together. And they’ve just lost the Champions League. So they have to make it work. I wouldn’t put it beyond ITV to focus beyond the actual games into the now emerged worlds of mobile and short form video and be the first broadcaster to get that properly right. Now that would make for an interesting move towards platform neutrality.
What does all this mean for advertisers? Well, the World Cup will be hellishly crowded one way or another (which is why store back integration matters). So stand out will be very very difficult, and people do need to remember you (whether through low or high involvement processing). Our analysis of Twitter trends around the Olympics suggested that in term of overall visibility no-one really won out (although a couple of folks did lose), possibly because it was the first major global sporting event in the post-social media era so there were no learnings to be had yet. This time around things are different.
If you mean to get involved you will need an incredible idea or story. You will also need deep pockets – all this stuff isn’t free sadly, it is much more effective when promoted with bought media (the law of averages vs the algorithms vs potential reach, gives us a simple clue there) whether that be on Twitter or YouTube. Over 50% of the YT videos by the world’s top 100 brands have under 1000 views – just making stuff and expecting people to come won’t cut the mustard when the world has lots of interests, when the nation largely has one then it really isn’t going to work.
Most of all you’ll need to understand the whole system of your communications. What is it that these different elements are really doing and how are they linked. Not what do you want them to do, but how do punters use Twitter vs Facebook vs the TV. Design for the platform – Twitter is a velocity medium that operates in the moment, that influences how to use it – I suppose ultimately this means an increased move towards native(ish) communications. Much as it pains me to say so.