Promoted feature: Build a World Cup winning strategy

Shane Bennett and Mark Fitzharris of Facebook Gaming look at the ways in which you can maximise the opportunity presented by this year’s biggest sporting event

This year’s World Cup promises to be like no other. For the first time, the tournament will take place in winter and is expected to be watched by five billion people worldwide, far surpassing the 3.5 billion who tuned in for the 2018 edition of the tournament.[1]

Sports events like the World Cup bring people together and fans turn to social media to keep them up-to-date, unite over big moments and debate decisions, meaning there’s huge opportunity for real-money gaming advertisers before, during and after this year’s tournament.

Adding to this opportunity is the fact that the audience in the UK is also highly engaged, with over 61% stating in research carried out by Kantar/Mintel that they have played at least once within the past month.

The conversation is taking place on Meta

During the 2018 tournament, over five billion interactions took place on Facebook and Instagram [2], and a YouGov survey found that 70% of people read sports event-related posts on their Facebook feed, while 52% watch live sports on Instagram Stories.[3]


The 2022 edition will be celebrated in all corners of the world, and Meta’s apps are the number one place where people plan to watch or follow the competition and follow player or team accounts.[4] In fact, 480 million people follow a football-related account on Facebook – twice the followers as any other sport globally – while 330 million follow a footballer on Instagram.[5]

The perfect match

So, how can Meta help you create a winning World Cup strategy and make the most of the opportune moments ahead? Here are some tips to get you started:

Amplify brand association

Make your brand stand out. How?

Be relevant: Find the connection that speaks truly about you, the event and the cultural moment.

Be multiple: Mixed-asset ideas connect better at every level and help you reach and engage your audience in a variety of ways. Grab their attention with bite-sized pieces of content and experiment with different formats. Think Stories, Boomerang, hyperlapse to mention a few.


Reach the right people

Use targeting to find the people you want to reach. Ads Manager helps you find sports fans, those following particular sports and anyone engaging with live events.

Trigger consumption at key moments

Nudge fans ahead of each match to maximise the sport experience at key moments with locally relevant dynamic ads.

A multi-channel approach

Mobile sports consumption is multi-faceted, multi-channel and extremely social, so a multi-channel approach will give rise to a more successful campaign.

A study by Oxford University and Kantar, the largest ever report on brand-building effectiveness, found campaigns that use a diverse mix of channels and attention levels are more effective.[6]

Their analysis also concluded:

-a diverse media mix out-performs, but no channel should have over 50% of the budget

-a mix of channels with different average attention levels works best

-a combination of TV, YouTube and Meta’s apps gave rise to optimal outcomes

Plan a pitch-perfect campaign

So, now you know more about what makes a winning campaign, let’s take a closer look at how to plan one.

Pre-tournament activity

Firstly, the majority of your upper funnel activity should take place before the tournament begins:

-Maximise brand impact leading into the tournament, increasing front-of-mind awareness of your brand to as broad an audience as possible.

-Most of your budget should be delivered before the tournament to help influence undecided punters and create a halo effect for your acquisitions and CRM campaigns during the tournament.

-Reserving a reach and frequency campaign pre-tournament will ensure that inventory is available, and block out competitors who may adopt similar strategies.

-Use the Facebook auction for the rest of the tournament to ensure campaign management flexibility and empower you to scale up or down-weight investment depending on performance.

During the tournament

Next, the bulk of acquisition will take place in the group stages due to the volume of games. So, with this in mind:

-Keep the setup simple. Complex campaign or ad set structures are not necessary.

-Create an always-on campaign for the pre-tournament block. Monitor budgets carefully during this stage, as conversions will likely be more expensive.

-Set up a new campaign for each game day. Use the learning phase to gauge the popularity of offers in real time and scale up or down-weight media investments accordingly.

-Set a baseline budget each day and scale accordingly when performance is going well. Amplify this approach on key days such as UK home nation games. Remember that budget increases can take 90 minutes or longer to take hold and that CPAs will decrease as the event draws nearer.

-Don’t be afraid to down-weight or deactivate campaigns that are performing poorly. Similarly, don’t be afraid to upweight budgets for campaigns that are performing well.

CRM will remain reasonably flat pre-tournament and once the games have kicked off, so:

-Establish the optimum delivery methods for your audience segments as soon as possible. For example, would optimising for conversions work better for lapsed audiences while optimising for link clicks work better for actives?

-Consider different audience sub-segment targeting strategies. For example, should you set up one sub-segment for all Premier League acquired punters, and a separate sub-segment for all customers who were acquired or lapsed from previous major tournaments?

-Shift the priority of focus across the marketing funnel as the tournament progresses. For example, you could maintain a steady baseline of activity throughout the pre-tournament and group stages. However, understand that within these segments there should be a shifting focus on each audience type, in other words, prioritise the re-acquisition of lapsed customers during the pre-tournament stage and monetise activities during the group stages.

Post-tournament activity

Once it’s full time for this year’s tournament, it’s essential to keep reactivated or newly-acquired customers engaged with other sporting moments.

Keep in mind, the Premier League resumes on the 26 December – just eight days after the World Cup final ­– so this, coupled with an extensive horseracing calendar, offer an ideal cross-sell opportunity across the festive period.

For more tips on creating winning strategies for this year’s tournament and beyond, check out our tournament-specific landing page here and our real-money gaming landing page here.


Mark Fitzharris (left) and Shane Bennett

Please note: Meta is not an official sponsor or partner of the 2022 World Cup.  As such, Meta has no rights or ability to grant others the rights to use FIFA trademarks, logos or other intellectual property. All partners should ensure their advertisements conform with applicable Meta terms and policies and do not infringe third-party intellectual property rights.

[1] Gentrup, Abigail for, May 2022, FIFA Expects 5B Viewers for Qatar World Cup,

[2] Meta Internal Data, August 2021

[3] “Multi-App Behavior During The Olympics Games” by Facebook IQ-commissioned survey of AU, BR, FR, GR, JP, KR, RS, UK, US, by YouGov, Apr 2019

[4] World Cup survey by YouGov. (Facebook-Commissioned online study of 11,819 people ages 18-64; internet population AU, BR, DE, FR, MX, SA, TH, UAE, UK and US), Jan-Feb 20.

[5] World Cup survey by YouGov, (Facebook-Commissioned online study of 11,819 people ages 18-64; internet population AU, BR, DE, FR, MX, SA, TH, UAE, UK and US), Jan-Feb 20

[6] No Silver Bullet, University of Oxford & Kantar Cross Media Analysis, 2021

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