What part does social media play in the 2018 World Cup?
Attention spans are short and Football matches are long. With the exception of the die-hard football fanatics, many of us are nowadays turning to their social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram over any other source to get our fix of the action.
Due to time zones (with 2018’s matches being held in Russia) about 40% of the potential audience will actually be asleep during game-time. Come daytime, however, it’s more likely that the public will be turning to their phones rather than turning on their television to see the highlights and find out the score. In fact, data from GlobalWebIndex shows that 30% of people are turning to social media for sports coverage as opposed to 22% at the end of 2016.
Sure, you can watch the football on your mobile phone from the comfort of your bed, but it’s not just about the convenience. Social media gives people a voice on the action, let’s them interact on what’s happening in real-time, and engage with others watching the exact same footage. This viewing experience becomes even more enhanced when we consider particular fandoms held within Facebook Groups or otherwise, relishing the events together as a community. Moreover, this entire experience is even more heightened when it comes to live streaming, allowing social media users to chime in and react to the goals (or even missed goals) in real-time. It’s no wonder that Twitter has recently signed a deal with Australian broadcasters SBS to produce a live show for the 2018 World Cup, enticing its users to visit Twitter first for their fix of the football.
One of the reasons why Facebook and other social networks make the World Cup so much more fascinating is by taking the highlights and cutting out the ‘boring bits’. By snipping the footage down into more digestible (and often more interesting) clips, you can get your fill of the latest match in a much more efficient way. And yet, social media is about so much more than catching up on what has happened; it’s opinionated, it’s creative, it’s edited (and usually to humorous effect).
With more than 25 million people in the US alone viewing the previous World Cup, getting involved with the event has a massive appeal for brands and social media companies. Statistics indicate that almost every World Cup fan (95%) will be using another device while watching the matches meaning that businesses need to be making more of an effort when it comes to social networks for the 2018 games.
Sky for one, are really going to be pushing their social media content during the World Cup with a particular focus on video (surprise, surprise). While they’ve stated that they won’t be prioritising any one particular of their social media platforms, they do seem to have a soft spot for Facebook Live, despite how slowly it’s been adopted by the sporting industry.
Due to the growing entanglement of social media and sporting events, Fox is also branching more into using social as a tool to promote its coverage of the games. After being rumoured to have paid around £309m right rights to the World Cup, they’re looking to profit as much as possible by heading online and sharing video content of all the best highlights.
So there you have it, the 2018 World Cup is set to really cook up a storm over on social. More traditional media sources may still be chiming in on the world cup frenzy, but the real action? It’s all happening on your favourite social networks and will be a huge play for brands and their social media marketing strategies.
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