The first ever second-screen World Cup
Four years ago, smartphones and social media had already changed our lives and that includes football viewing behavior. However, back then the phone was used occasionally to check stats - today it has taken a crucial role in enhancing the viewing behaviour.
It was Germany - Sweden on a warm summer night, my friends had set up a large screen for the whole clique and when Toni Kroos whipped the freekick into the far corner from an impossible angle, we collectively lost it. That was my core memory of the FIFA World Cup 2018 (successfully ignoring everything ‘Die Mannschaft’ suffered through before and after). TikTok was an up and coming platform with 133m monthly active users (now 1.5B) and the scenes I associated with the word ‘quarantine’ were mostly based on the Pixar movie ‘Monsters, Inc.’.
In 2021, among Gen Z, 47% of fans who watch sports on TV or digital platforms simultaneously watched or interacted with other live content, which is much higher than the general population (33%). Even assuming less than the 5-10% growth these numbers had from 2020 to 2021, we should have reached the tipping point just in time for this year’s tournament.
Second screening isn’t a trend anymore. It’s normal.
Most of it is to make more out of the live game. Every pass is translated into fantasy game points, every goal into betting money and every mistake into millions of opinion-forming comments on social media.
Even more: The time we spend looking at our phones versus our TV screen is increasing rapidly. Soon, our first screen picture could become the second. A noise & blurry movement in the background to look at when the goal has already been scored, to be repackaged for a meme-ified TikTok friendly version.
How can brands approach this development?
Make visual, credible content that is easy to share. Make interactions quick, and sharing seamless. Usually fans jump to their second screen to better inform something they just picked up on the first one. Let the screens push each other and support your TV ad with the right SEO / SEA Strategy. Or take it one step further and let the TV ad be the resolution to your online ad.
Anticipating and being there near-live:
Be there when it happens. In the feeds AND in the comment sections.
Plan ahead, identify conversation triggers in different scenarios and create content accordingly. You should be able to quickly and easily adapt it to the live event (goal/win/penalty shootout) and deliver it in the perfect moment for the biggest impact.
Ignite debate with questions and fan interaction. The comment sections are the big forgotten territory for creative copywriting and bold branding strategies. Equipped with the right eye for fan touchpoints and a non-obtrusive way of communicating, high-effort video creation isn’t even necessary.
Be the enhancer:
Create and visualize facts or stats. People will like the message behind it but share your picture. If you aim for exposure alone, this can be your way to glory. Sponsorships that include the presenting right to live and near-live updates are evergreens.
Be the connector:
Our philosophy: Fans want to feel the roar of the crowd. Give them the means to participate and absorb the energy of the stadium. Build long-lasting creator partnerships and be on their side to meet fans in the most genuine way possible. Watch the game together, share emotions, and help them enhance their viewing experience.
Without a strong digital presence, your brand could be missing out on connecting with potential customers right at the moment their interest is piqued.
Football on the big screen is starting to become the secondary screen in households around the world. That isn’t necessarily bad or good - but it marks a fundamental shift in viewing behavior.
Viewing enhancement is so crucial that it grabs more attention than the actual game.
However - let’s not forget: Without the actual match, there would not be a statistic, nor betting, excited group texting or the live meme-ification of what’s happening. The match is still the birthplace for everything surrounding it. This is still very much about football and everything it has to offer. It just offers more.
The game lives on. For every scene the new generation of viewers miss on the live screen, there will be five highlights and two behind-the-scenes clips pushed to them later. It is just as much or more re-live than live. The first ever second screen FIFA World Cup.
RAWR by Webrepublic
Karim Teufel, Senior Digital Growth Consultant
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