5 Facebook advertising best practices inspired by the World Cup


Ready or not, the 2014 FIFA World Cup is upon us. The world’s sport, as it’s been deemed, kicked off Thursday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as the host country defeated Croatia for its first step toward a chance at World Cup glory.

Perhaps more so with the World Cup than any other sporting event in history, advertisers have an unprecedented opportunity to reach a global audience. FIFA.com defines The FIFA World Cup as the “biggest single-event sporting competition in the world.” According to Facebook, 500 million of the 1.2 billion people on the social network are soccer fans, defined as liking a player or a team page.

This World Cup, SocialCode will manage the social advertising campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands across both the beverage and financial services verticals. We’ve assembled our best practices to help you maximize your World Cup campaigns and future international campaigns as well.

1) The whole world is watching, optimize for reach

Let us repeat: the whole world is watching, optimize for reach, not engagement. Nearly every demographic, in every corner of the globe has its attention on one major topic; fútbol. This is an unprecedented time to optimize for reach by bidding high to win at auction so your ad gets served over competitors bidding for that same audience.

2) Divide and conquer

This is a global, real-time opportunity. Staff up your ad management team so you can handle different regions efficiently. Suppose you’re running campaigns in over ten markets around the globe. You’re talking giant scale, language barriers and time zone differences as vast as they come. It would be impossible for one person to manage all campaign regions simultaneously. Make sure you have enough hands on deck to divide markets by region, country, or even language. This may mean borrowing from another team, or bringing in extra community managers, paid media specialists, and content creators but it will be well worth the investment. Having hands on deck also will allow you to react quicker. It will allow campaign managers to focus on one region properly while driving efficiency rather than focusing on many regions poorly.

3) Maximize cultural difference

The World Cup’s reach extends globally. This is an excellent opportunity to capitalize on the incredible diversity found among soccer fans. Before your campaign launches aim to gain a full understanding of your region’s cultural norms, traditions and celebrations. Use this knowledge to craft creative that brings these cultural difference to life and really resonates with your region’s audience. International campaigns usually mean multiple languages and various religions so gaining a better understanding for what’s socially acceptable in a certain region will help you maximize creative impact. It will also prevent serving creative that doesn’t resonate with your target audience, or even worse, offends them.

4) Manage expectations by researching your market

Markets differ when it comes to the cost of CPMs, the standard pricing for reaching 1,000 people with your message. Research your market ahead of time to gain a firm understanding of your market’s average CPM and how it varies from region to region. This knowledge will inform how you’ll bid and allocate budgets. For instance, an average CPM of $7 in the US could be $2 in Brazil. It’s important to understand existing expectations so you can establish campaign goals accordingly. Be sure to secure data for general CPM benchmarks before your campaign gets underway.

5) Budget heavy early on

And speaking of allocating budgets; it is important to frontload your campaign spend when the majority of teams are still in the running and the largest fan base is still fully engaged. Conversely, reserve enough cushion spend for campaigns that will target countries whose teams are poised to go far in the tournament. You don’t want your campaign to run out of steam (read: cashflow) halfway through. Research team predictions to optimize your bets.

Co-authored by SocialCode Director of Ad Innovation Harry Johnson and Communications Manager Kate Westervelt. SocialCode is a Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer.

Top image courtesy of Jefferson Bernardes / Shutterstock.com.

Recommended articles