The World Cup effect: How Facebook advertisers went big for Q2


Facebook will announce its financial results for Q2 on Wednesday, but several other firms are reporting another great quarter for Facebook ad results. SocialCode, a Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer, said clients really performed well in Q2 — with the World Cup being a major motivating factor.

Max Kalehoff, SocialCode’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, summed up the company’s clients’ performance this quarter:

Q2 continued the same triple-digit growth we saw in Q1. Our portfolio of Fortune 500 advertisers nearly doubled total spend with us in Q2 versus Q1. We saw a lot of investment around the winter Olympics, but the World Cup was a whole different scale. It laid to rest any question about the potential of global events and real-time marketing to be an extraordinary catalyst to help brands reach and engage with their customers on social media.

Kalehoff also sat down with Inside Facebook for a closer look at how advertising on Facebook has grown in the past quarter.

Inside Facebook: How was Q2, in terms of Facebook advertising, for SocialCode’s clients?

Max Kalehoff: Q2 was very strong for SocialCode among our advertisers who are large consumer brands. Not only was it a strong Q2, but it was exceptionally strong because of both growing momentum on the social platforms as well as because of the World Cup. We had advertisers spending in the multi millions for the single World Cup event. While social campaigns are not directly comparable to television, multi-million dollar investments on a single channel starts to rival some of the budgets that you’ll see in other sorts of media.

We were very encouraged. The World Cup was, in many ways, a breakout moment for advertisers. The whole world glued in. It was like the Super Bowl, but inclusive of the whole world. We had some advertisers who were blatantly targeting 180 different countries.

IF: How did you see the Facebook ecosystem change and evolve during the World Cup?

MK: We saw more planned real-time (posts). There was lots of content that was planned for the World Cup and lots of creative that was done far in advance, but there was also infrastructure put in place and campaign planning put in place in order to capitalize on key moments within the World Cup games. Whether it’s a key moment during a game or a key upset where one country overcomes, there was all sorts of planning done ahead of time to quickly capitalize on those events and build on top of conventional long-term planned content.

We had a lot of the big US advertisers were building up substantial war rooms. It’s not just to Tweet and send out posts, but to do full-scale real-time advertising campaigns to create dynamic content and responding and doing testing of different content types very quickly on the fly, and then syndicating, distributing to various target audiences. You have target audiences who have very specific passions in different areas in different countries.

It was a very sophisticated operation among many of our large advertisers. SocialCode itself sent down multiple teams to support our clients down there over the entire duration of the games. It was planned real-time marketing on steroids.

IF: Are you seeing more relevant results from video advertising?

MK: We’re seeing more video products, more metrics coming out. Our advertisers are certainly interested in video. There are more features that the social platforms are releasing around video. Twitter offers many video opportunities. Google has a lot of servings going on. Facebook continues to release new features and metrics around video.

For the rest of the year, our advertisers are increasingly investing in video, both the brand advertisers and the entertainment advertisers. It’s still the early days, but we believe that video is going to continue to increase. We’re bullish on video. Our advertisers anticipate dialing up as we continue throughout he year. If history repeats itself, we’ll continue to see a constant release of iterations around video.

IF: What other Facebook trends did you notice in Q2?

MK: Website Custom Audiences are huge and being increasingly adopted. That’s just going to continue and it offers opportunities for branding campaigns as well as direct response. Website Custom Audiences are enabling advertisers to better map messaging throughout the marketing funnel.

App install ads have been historically really popular around stand-alone application advertisers. There are companies whose sole business is gaming apps or other dedicated apps. We saw a lot of the earliest uptick with app install ads with those advertisers, but what we saw as unique in Q2 was getting a little bit more traction with big brand marketers at adoption of app install ads. They’ve been slower, the very very large brands, in adopting app install ads, but we see momentum picking up because there’s a growing understanding. We’ve had a little more time where advertisers have been able to look through the various challenges of getting app install ads working.

We’re starting to see more of the larger, big brand advertisers adopt app install ads. They’re behind some of the more pure play app companies, in terms of adopting that.

Top image courtesy of ANDRE DURAO /