Only two months remain before the highly anticipated FIFA World Cup 2022 commences, and more than 5 billion sports fans around the globe are expected to watch. With growing competition in both the market and advertising channels, making sure sports fans choose your brand has never mattered more.

This year’s competition will be held in Qatar from November 20 to December 18, and history is already in the making for this World Cup. In its almost 100 years of competition, the World Cup has never been hosted by a country in the Middle East, until now.

With so much anticipation built around this event, advertisers have new opportunities beyond high-priced sponsorships or in-stream pre-rolls to boost brand likeability and recall.

In this post, you will discover what’s available in today’s media and ad technology to attract the attention of football fans during FIFA World Cup 2022.

Football fans: the audience snapshot

Traditionally, sports marketing has been geared towards male fans, with female fans only counting for a third of the core target group, depending on the region. For example, in Mexico, 70% of male consumers are interested in football compared to less than half of female respondents.

These consumers vary in their engagement levels: from occasional viewers to die-hard fans. Club football is traditionally the most violent and intimidating arena of fandom, while national team games tend to provide more family-friendly experiences. According to a Footballco report, for these reasons, 67% of female viewers prefer their national team, while 56% of men prefer their club team.

Sports fans are open, spirited and enthusiastic, so they are more receptive to advertising messages and direct response marketing campaigns. Even though not all of them may have disposable income, they are willing to spend money, especially if your product can enhance their fan experience (e.g., match memorabilia and merchandise of their favorite team, food delivery, online bets, football-themed video games).

Due to their character, sports fans typically perceive brand messages more favorably than business news readers and other audience segments. Contextual targeting, in its turn, allows brands to place ads during game broadcasts or on relevant pages, like team lineup updates, commentaries, trends, forecasts, and interviews.

Fans’ content consumption habits

Today, gaming viewership is deeply embedded in social interactions. The vast majority, 65% of global fans, are planning to experience the FIFA World Cup with friends or family members. In Latin America, this trend is even more prominent: 69% of fans tend to watch games in the company of friends or their loved ones and only 15% of viewers are likely to watch games alone.

Fans are more than twice as likely to watch games from the comfort of their homes rather than from pubs and bars, fan parks or stadiums. Leading up to and immediately after watching the game, most fans consume and discuss sports analytics, commentaries, match highlights and updated forecasts.

When targeting users during match broadcasts, don’t be afraid to break a user’s concentration, but be careful not to ruin the game they enjoy. Fans watching football tend to multitask or even watch on the go: according to Nielsen, over half of them combine their viewing experience with ordering food online, performing routine tasks like checking email, playing online games and live betting.

Celebrate with consumers

Common digital strategies to grab the attention of this audience include social media ads, in-stream video ads during broadcasts, display ads on club and league websites, native ads placed within relevant sports articles or on sports websites and ads in sports apps.

If you wish to target consumers during a big sporting event, personalize advertising messages and use available data to know exactly who is following the game. Sometimes browsing habits can identify these fans, for example, if a user often visits the official website of a particular club or engages with content surrounding its main players.

When you’re reaching sports audiences, be in the moment, showcase your affection and engage with the game. For example, you can design ad creatives in the colors of their favorite club team. Direct problem-solving messages also resonate with this group of consumers: offer them accompanying offers, such as food delivery or online betting.

Feeling the excitement of the game, these consumers are inclined to invest in memorable experiences and gifts for their families. At the same time, most of them are aware of their leisure spending costs and want to get the most for their money.

Final thoughts

Today, brands are a huge part of the sports sector, and consumers expect them to be there. Amplify your brand’s message, create themed campaign creatives and adjust your targeting and media mix. Take advantage of the available targeting tools and serve ads to the right audience, in the right context. Don’t miss your chance to engage sports fans during the FIFA World Cup.