The World Cup On The World Wide Web

19 Jun 2014

news-articles-world_cup_web.jpg

The World Cup (or just plain ‘World Cup’ if you’re this man from CNET) is now fully underway. We’ve entered the office sweepstakes, wondered why Pitbull is still considered relevant in 2014, and even witnessed England’s first defeat. So far, all on track.

We’re sports fans here at Avenue Digital HQ, but nothing gets us going more than digital-talk, so what happens when you bring together two greatest cultural influencers of 21st century life? Digital meets football. This could not be more awesome.

Sports fans we may be, but slackers we are not. We’ve put together a list of the best ways to keep up to date with the action, while also staying on top of your schedule. Here are Wickedweb’s digital multitasking tips.

Twitter

The obvious place to start is the Twittersphere. Twitter has surrendered to football fever. Not only does Brazil 2014 have an official hashtag (#Brazil2014, if you were wondering), but during the opening game 12.2 million tweets were posted. That works out at 203,333 a minute and 3,389 each second. Let’s just stop and get our heads round that for a moment: 3,389 tweets a second. Rewind four years to the final in South Africa Twitter recorded that the final 15 minutes of the final game saw about 2000 TPS (tweets per second). The opening match of 2014 blows that stat out the water. Look how far Twitter has come in just four years.

Twitter is the perfect platform for keeping up with the goal action (own, or otherwise - we’re looking at you Marcelo), delivering 140 character nuggets of information. It’s just enough so you know what’s happening at any point in any game, but not quite enough to spoil the highlights package you’ve got lined up for later. Use Twitter as your nicotine patch, to keep you going through the tough times.

Live Streaming

Live streaming has been around for some time, but since the last World Cup it’s really taken off and it’s really with the development of affordable technology and access to 4G network coverage that it’s become a viable option. You no longer have to climb aboard the roller-coaster of coffee highs and lows just to use the free Wi-Fi at Starbucks, and the days of browsing for an uncomfortably long time in the TV sections of department stores are long gone. With 4G you can stream without buffering, and keep up with all the action.

Apps

The World Cup has provided the perfect breeding ground for hundreds of football-focussed apps. From the Official FIFA app, to “World Soccer Finals” and everything in between, push notifications will provide you with up to the minute info on schedules, results, bookings, goals and everything else you could possibly want from a World Cup app. Squawka, a personal favourite is all about the cold hard stats. Who’s had more shots on goal this season? Who performs better over 90 minutes? All the answers are in an app. The app market has exploded since 2010, making this World Cup the most app-centric yet. With the right app in your pocket you will never miss a moment, and never lose an argument. It’s win-win. (Unlike Spain.)

Highlights

Lunch breaks were made for the highlights packages. Sit back, tuck in and catch up with the action. Of course it’s not the same as watching every kick, dive and penalty, but at least you can mute Phil Neville.

What does it all mean?

The impact of digital media on a world event such as this one is pretty impressive. With such a focus on digital media, advertisers have far more exposure opportunities and brand awareness and it’s never been easier to reach so many people so quickly. From pitch-side outdoor ads, to mid-broadcast advert breaks, online banner ads, pre-video live streaming adverts, promoted Tweets, Facebook ads and branded hashtags, reach is growing all the time. Throw in an advert on a couple of apps and brand synergy is complete. Since 2010, smartphone penetration in the UK has risen from below 34%, to 53.7% this year, meaning than half of the population are now more closely connected to the digital world.

With more and more people turning online during the World Cup, it’s never been more important for websites to keep up to date with fresh, interesting and engaging content. The time difference from Brazil works in digital’s favour: match results are too late for traditional media, forcing people to turn on their devices and find out the scores online. Immediately user journeys are trackable, clicks are measureable. The audience is no longer flicking through the back pages, but is active online, and the potential to convert each user from engaged to valuable is huge.

Consistent messaging across all platforms is vital in harnessing the increased activity and momentum which worldwide events like this provide the digital world. In terms of social, spontaneity is often best when planned: don’t underestimate the power of a coherent, well thought out strategy and management system. Similarly, in-app pay per click advertising can be hugely influential with incredibly precise targeting, and it remains a relatively unexplored area of online advertising in comparison with other channels.

Final whistle

So there you have it; how to keep up with the World Cup on the World Wide Web. With live streaming, Twitter, the right hashtags, apps and highlights packages, not to mention smug Snapchats from friends who got tickets and flew to Brazil, it’s almost like you’re actually there. And while the ultimate win for the football fan who lives and dies with his team is being there, for those of us with digital blood in our veins, almost being there is actually a whole lot more awesome.