World Cup ad performance—why advertisers are winning this year

by | Jul 3, 2018 | Marketing, Public Relations

According to the results of the new 2018 World Cup Ad Performance Study from online experience firm Instart, more than two-thirds (70 percent) of Americans and Brits watching the World Cup are doing so live, with the Brits (81 percent) watching more live matches than the Americans (60 percent)—and they are all being impacted by advertising.

Instart commissioned the survey of more than 1,000 adults living in the U.S. and U.K. to draw comparisons on how fans in each country feel about the World Cup, how they are watching it and how World Cup advertising is impacting their behavior.

Americans more likely to buy fast food, drink beer after viewing ads

The study determined that Americans say they are more likely to be impacted by commercials than do Brits.

Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans say World Cup commercials are affecting their behavior compared to 52 percent of those living in the U.K. For more than 1 in 4 Americans (28 percent), ads viewed during the World Cup will drive them to visit a brand’s website, while 23 percent say World Cup ads lead them to buy fast food and 16 percent say the ads have made them drink beer.

What’s more, 37 percent of Americans are watching at least 60 seconds of an ad when it appears on TV or online, compared to 32 percent of Brits.

You better have Beckham if you want people to buy

Ads that feature David Beckham have an even greater shot at driving consumer purchase behavior—Beckham is the international soccer star most likely to convince soccer fans to buy a product (29 percent). Cristiano Ronaldo (19 percent) and Lionel Messi (14 percent) rounded out the top three most-popular soccer stars in advertising.

Creativity (25 percent), repetition (60 percent) and sex appeal (23 percent) are the top characteristics of ads that will grab attention during the World Cup.

But online advertisers beware: Approximately 18 percent of Americans say it only takes seeing one ad online to make them tune out, and 25 percent say it takes two online ads to make them cease paying attention. For those living in the U.K., 31 percent say they begin to tune out after only one online ad, and 21 percent say their number is two ads.

Fans are watching World Cup matches on the job

Companies shouldn’t expect their employees to get much work done during the World Cup: Around 20 percent of Americans and 25 percent of British fans admit to streaming matches online at work. More than half (54 percent) of the people who are watching at work will be sneaking it.

The British have the Americans beat when it comes to time spent streaming matches at work: More than 50 percent of British fans will be watching at least 1 to 2 hours of matches at work, 27 percent person will watch 3 to 4 hours of matches and 14 percent will watch at least 5 to 6 hours of matches at work!

World Cup fever extends to the bedroom

The new data also reveals that World Cup fever also finds its way into the bedroom. More than half of Americans say they expect someone in their household to shout “GOOOOAAL!” in bed.

This may be because soccer fans are actually better in bed, according to the study: Approximately 81 percent of Americans say that soccer fans are better in bed than basketball or football fans because they are more passionate about their favorite sport (42 percent), they are more athletic (20 percent), they are more European (17 percent) and they are sexier (12 percent).

Don’t expect a U.S. win anytime soon

Although the United States will host the 2026 World Cup, The study revealed that Americans don’t have high hopes for a U.S. win. Nearly half of Americans (43 percent) say it’s unlikely that the U.S. will win the World Cup in the next decade, and nearly 1 in 4 say it’s unlikely that the U.S. will even qualify in the next decade.

And as for sponsors of the next World Cup, consumers worldwide picked Amazon, Apple and Microsoft as the top three brands they would like to see sponsor the World Cup in 2026.

Feelings on World Cup “flopping” depend on where you live

The British take flopping—feigning injury to get a penalty card on the other team—much more seriously than Americans soccer fansAround 39 percent of those in U.K. say violators should get red-carded versus 29 percent in U.S. Americans (12 percent) are more likely to say it adds to a show’s entertainment value than Brits (7 percent).

“Because we help thousands of leading brands around the world deliver a faster, safer and more profitable experience for hundreds of millions of consumers every day, we wanted to know what fans on both sides of the Atlantic were expecting from the World Cup,” said Daniel Druker, Instart’s CMO, in a news release. “World Cup fans made it clear that they appreciate and will engage with high-quality, targeted digital ads—and if you really want to get their attention, you’ll score big with David Beckham.”

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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