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It’s hard to ignore the buzz surrounding the World Cup, and more and more marketers are being forced to take extreme action to stand out at in what is likely to be the biggest advertising opportunity of 2014.

Paddy Power’s deforestation stunt is likely the most successful example so far! 

Despite the attention on the more traditional PR stunts around the World Cup, this is expected to be the most digital and social World Cup to date.

As such, I wanted to share three considerations for your search, social and display campaigns to ensure success around the World Cup.

1. Consider the customer behind the click 

As hard as it is to imagine, there will be consumers online during the World Cup who don’t like football. It’s important brands don’t allow these consumers to become frustrated by the constant bombardment of World Cup messages. 

If you are targeting both football lovers and haters, make sure your campaigns are relevant to users by integrating your search, social and display targeting with audience data from a Data Management Platform (DMP) to give you a comprehensive profile of who you’re reaching.

Your World Cup messaging will then reach the right people, those who are passionate about the beautiful game, rather than alienating 'World Cup widows' who want to escape the World Cup.  

2. Take advantage of the first truly dual screen World Cup

In the four years since the last World Cup, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets has really kicked-off; tablet usage has surged from 2.8% in 2010 to nearly 40% in 2014.

In turn, 61% of Brits now ‘dual-screen’ – click and browse around the net -  while they’re watching TV. Combine this trend with the fact that 77% of us are influenced by what we see on TV and the opportunities becomes compelling   

FIFA claims more than 1bn people saw the final on TV back in 2010. The volume of searches and data generated this time around, in a dual-screening age, is sure to be phenomenal. 

For advertisers to take advantage of viewers engaged across several platforms, create a feed of match timings and TV ad slots so your search, social and display campaigns are automatically scheduled to boost and reduce bids on mobiles and tablets accordingly.

By combining this data with audience data, you can focus your campaign on football lovers who are likely to be sat watching the match, tablet in hand.  Done well, this can improve your ROI by dramatically increasing your CTR and conversions. 

3. Keep your social ads in-feed with fresh and relevant creative

It’s fair to assume Facebook feeds will be crammed with World Cup chatter, getting your social ad campaigns aligned with this chatter will be key. As such, the popularity of social ads combined with the dual-screening phenomenon presents a huge opportunity for marketers. 

Recent Marin research found that News Feed Ads on Facebook have a 44x higher CTR and 5x greater conversion rate compared to right-side display ads.

Clearly this is not a game of two equal halves. Marketers should not underestimate this powerful form of native advertising, which offers another way to target keen dual-screeners, as they take to Facebook whilst watching the games on TV. 

However, as the number of savvy marketers capitalising on Facebook quickly rises, so too does the competition for high-value ad placements.

Consequently, it’s absolutely critical advertisers create ads that are as compelling and engaging as possible, especially considering Facebook does not promote ads in the News Feed unless they maintain a high CTR.

To maintain that essential high CTR, marketers must continually optimise, test and improve ad creative and pay careful attention to the frequency of ads.

If ads are shown too often to the same targets, you will pay the penalty of ‘ad fatigue’, causing customers to ignore your ads and become irritated with your brand.  

Being hyper-relevant during major sports events also pays off, as Oreo famously illustrated by reacting quickly on Twitter during the Super Bowl power cut.  

The World Cup is a highly competitive space for marketers so it’s essential you’re well equipped to take advantage of key moments by reacting quickly with humorous and shareable content.

Jon Myers

Published 23 June, 2014 by Jon Myers

Jon Myers is vice president and managing director EMEA for digital ad management platform Marin Software.

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