By Liz Rutgersson

The World Cup 2014 is almost upon us. For some this means a month of excitement, partying, competition and countless hours watching the world's sport played by the world's best. For others (me) this means countless hours of boredom, not only being forced to have it on the television at home but also hearing 9 out of 10 conversations in the office revolve around football. By the way, do draws still occur during the World Cup? If so I'm even less excited than I thought… 90 minutes of dullness ending without a winner? I can't handle it. So this time around I've decided to take a different angle and discuss how all advertisers can use the World Cup to their display campaigns' advantage! (Seriously, this is more exciting to me than football.)

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Publishers have been putting together their World Cup display packages for months now, and much of their premium inventory has already been booked for the entirety. Search trends are already ramping up:

And this is still just a blip considering the activity to come:

So it's up to us as advertisers to use this to our advantage, and discover how we can be creative and reach our core users during this unique month in a clever way.

Display advertising is all about the audience, we know this as fact. Let's discuss how we can use the World Cup to our advantage to reach three very different audiences in the most effective way possible.

The Bored WAGs

I'm putting myself in this camp. My television will be taken over by not only football games when they're actually airing, but Sky Sports News will suddenly become a legitimate channel to have on for more than two minutes at a time. Talk to me! I'm desperate for a distraction, probably in the form of something nice to buy myself as a reward for the selfless football viewing sacrifices I'm undertaking daily. I'll be on my tablet and mobile (have I mentioned I will have NO control over my television?) so ensure you've created the most appropriate mobile ad sizes (320x50 and 728x90 are a must) and ideally have ads created in HTML5 to accommodate non-flash friendly devices.

The Indifferent Sun-seekers

Believe it or not, there is still a respectable percentage of the population who will actually want to be in the pub garden rather than a dingy sticky corner, soaking up the sun in June (if it ever comes back), even when England are playing. This group is going to be a tough one to reach, as they're not likely to be glued to a device, so you'll have to be smart. Don't underestimate the impact the weather has on this group. Reach them when they're checking the weather, reading about outdoor events happening in London and booking their last minute trip somewhere with sun and without football (Hawaii, anyone?). Mobile inventory is still the fastest growing ad inventory available, and is also relatively cheap. Sun-seekers will be out and about, so make sure your campaign settings and ad creative are ready to reach them wherever they are.

The Football Freaks

This will no doubt be a difficult crowd to distract during the World Cup. They'll also be expensive. Sports and news websites are well aware they can charge huge mark-ups on their inventory during any big sporting event, and the World Cup is their holy grail. It won't be easy to reach these fans on sports related content and not pay outrageous CPM rates, so we'll have to focus on the cheap wins. In-app inventory is growing like crazy, and DoubleClick have fortunately just released an option for app to app conversion tracking. Have your ads ready and tailored to these users when they're on their devices… it may be only for a short time! Another display targeting option to consider for reaching the football freaks is video. They'll be checking out highlights and sharing them with friends, and with video exchange you can again engage with this audience in an inexpensive but effective way. More than ever it'll be important to keep your messaging short and punchy, this group won't have patience for much more! Not only will they be sharing video clips, these fans will want to be engaging with friends and family across the globe if only to gloat about their team's latest win. Tools like Facebook Exchange help advertisers speak to these audiences in a casual but popular inventory space.

Think outside the box when targeting football fans and haters alike this World Cup. Who knows, we may even find everyone following the sun-seekers searching for an island to escape… especially if England are out in the first round.

Image credit to Unsplash & Pexels.

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