World Cup marketing trends: what to watch for
The FIFA World Cup is approaching fast. And while the action on the pitch is always unpredictable, one thing is certain: it will be an event like no other. It’s the first tournament held this late in the year and only the second major global sporting event since we’ve emerged from lockdown. Fans are excited. Brands are fired up. So we’ve identified five Twitter trends every marketer needs to know.
Trend 1: More fans, more Tweets, more global
It’s indisputable, soccer’s time is here. After the success of the last Women’s World Cup, we’re seeing a whole new cohort of fans jump on board. We’re seeing soccer gain traction in places like the US, where other sports have traditionally held court. And we’re seeing more Tweets, more conversation, more everything — because soccer lives on Twitter.
Twitter is where fans will come together to share, to commiserate, to commentate every single match, play, and call. Brands that break through will be the ones who don’t just speak at fans, but who get them and invite them to participate in the conversation and reward their fandom.
For example, Budweiser was the most talked-about brand globally on Twitter during the previous World Cup4 by making Twitter the place to participate and vote for fans’ favorite players in their Man of the Match sponsorship.
Marketers will also seek to connect with Soccer Twitter by aligning their campaigns and creative messaging with premium content from broadcasters and live conversations amongst fans by sponsoring real-time highlights in more than 23 countries5 and contextually targeting soccer-specific creative in the timeline.
Trend 2: The beautiful (brand) game
Because brands have been long invested in soccer, they’ve become a welcome part of the soccer conversation. Not only are more people Tweeting about soccer than ever before, they’re talking about brands too.
This tells us that across the board, brands are reading the room and getting it right. They are using their platforms to bring people back together, and finding ways to stay true to their brand, no matter the context. From rallying other brands to invest in US women’s soccer to pledging the same level of campaign spend for men and women’s events, brands are standing with fans — and this tournament will be no different.
Trend 3: Same game, new formats
Brands know what works around major events like the World Cup: great content, exclusive access, and real-time engagement.
We expect to see brands build on everything they’ve learned in past years while incorporating a whole new suite of tools for creative expression and connection on Twitter including:
Audio: Twitter Spaces has unlocked an entirely new medium for brands to engage with fans around major cultural events and happenings through live audio experiences. We expect brands will facilitate these audio discussions with athletes and celebrities throughout the event, bringing fans closer to the action.
Commerce: The launch of Live Shopping on Twitter lets marketers create programming around high-profile moments and occasions, fusing entertainment and shopping into one experience. For instance, leading up to the NFL’s big game, Walmart brought an NFL legend to fans via Twitter’s Live Shopping platform — showcasing Procter & Gamble’s Gillette Labs line.
Similarly, we expect brands to leverage their soccer talent relationships to bring product announcements right to engaged, soccer-obsessed audiences in real time, while also highlighting their wares with new Product Explorer and Collection Ads.
Creative Expression: Earlier this year, we launched a series of new creative ad formats, including Interactive Text and Branded Likes (which allow advertisers to transform Twitter’s Like button into custom animations). These new multidimensional, flexible ad formats will be on full display on Twitter as advertisers look to stop fans in the timeline with attention-grabbing and engaging experiences.
Trend 4: New players seeking real-time conversion
It goes without saying, but the global business landscape has rapidly changed since the 2018 tournament. Advertising on Twitter has expanded hand-in-hand to include countless new industries, such as sports betting, cryptocurrency, and food delivery, among many others looking to tap into real-time conversation to drive conversion.
Sports Betting: With growing legalization around the world, the largest sports betting brands are taking to Twitter to interact with fans before, during, and after the biggest matches and moments. And the data shows why: Seven out of every 10 sports bettors are on Twitter, and 33% of bettors who rely on Twitter for betting information say they wouldn’t make as many wagers if it weren’t for Twitter. Sports bettors who use Twitter spend 15% more on bets annually compared to sports bettors from other platforms. And 62% of bettors on Twitter place wagers weekly, which is more frequent than sports bettors on other platforms.6
Crypto: #CryptoTwitter has become a primary destination to discuss all things cryptocurrency and NFTs. And since crypto and sports fandoms tend to be similar in nature, a long list of crypto trading apps and brands now tout sports, and specifically soccer, sponsorships. You can’t miss it during big sports moments throughout the year, and with the global crypto conversation growing 5x on Twitter over the past year7, we can expect to see the industry’s most notable crypto marketers extend those sponsorships to Twitter to reach all of the avid and engaged soccer fans and viewers in the heat of the moment.
Food Delivery: Major televised sports events and food takeout are a match made in heaven. In fact, Twitter's tournament audience is 2.3x times more likely to Tweet about Food than the average Twitter user.8 Food delivery brands will flock to the platform to capitalize on this fresh conversation and addressable audience to offer their services and promotions “in the moment” leading up to and during World Cup matches.
Trend 5: Budget-conscious content
With questions about consumer confidence swirling, brands continue to take a hard look at their marketing spend and are looking for media efficiencies wherever possible. We expect to see more global campaigns, rather than local ones, created with ease of adaptation in mind. We anticipate a lot of brand content grounded in simple universal truths, no translation required.
For those who need help adapting their content to fly on Twitter, we are here to help. Our Content Creation services have been shown to drive up to 20% lifts in view rates vs. industry benchmarks.9 From adapting traditional assets to creating new short-form video content to partnering with creators to produce cost-conscious, fast-hitting content: we can quickly and efficiently support your campaign needs for the World Cup and beyond.
Get your brand in the game
As we see in these five trends, the 2022 World Cup will be an exciting time for fans and brands. Your team at Twitter is here to help connect with the moment and tap into the conversations that grow your business. And throughout the tournament, we'll have real-time guidance to keep your brand safe and messages on point. So, now’s your time to get off the sidelines and into the game.
1 Twitter Internal Data (Semantic Core), US, July 2021 vs. July 2022.
2 Twitter Internal Semantic Core, FIFA World Cup conversation, US, March 1, 2022–June 30, 2022 vs. July 1, 2022–September 30, 2022
3 Twitter Internal Semantic Core, FIFA World Cup conversation, US, September 13, 2020–September 13, 2021 vs. September 13, 2021–September 13, 2022
4 “How Budweiser won the World Cup for brands on Twitter”
5 Twitter Internal Data, 2022.
6 Twitter Insiders Studies, 2021 & 2022, sampling individuals who are age 18+, have bet on sports in the past 12 months, live in a state where sports betting is legal and (a) are Twitter users who use at least one other social platform (referred to as “sports bettors” and “sports bettors on Twitter”), or (b) do not use Twitter, but use at least one other social media platform (referred to as “non-Twitter users” or “sports bettors on other platforms”
7 Twitter Internal. Comparing Tweet Volume on August 1, 2021 to Tweet Volume on August 1, 2022.
8 Twitter Internal, from September 1st, 2022, until October 3rd, 2022, US only.
9 Twitter Internal, across 15 randomly sampled campaign assets in 2021.