Russia 2018 will be the mobile World Cup
A view from Will Scougal

Russia 2018 will be the mobile World Cup

The best way for brands to score during Russia 2018 is to treat the football tournament as the mobile World Cup, Will Scougal of Snap says.

Nowhere is passion for sport more contagious than during the world’s biggest sporting event, the World Cup.

Brass bands, drums, chants, face paint, three lions – the World Cup is a vibrant expression of colour and sound that gets anyone with even a passing interest in football suddenly debating the finer details of the offside rule.

In 2010 it was the single note of the Vuvuzela horn that drowned out, well, the World Cup.

In 2014, likes and retweets filled people’s feeds, making Brazil the first "social media World Cup".

Russia 2018 will be all about the creative power of the mobile camera and visual communications.

Undoubtedly, social media will play a huge role this year too, but, the world is a very different place today.

While much of marketing remains familiar, the way consumers communicate on mobile devices has been transformed.  

There are a number of recent studies detailing the rapid shift to mobile in attention and time spent, and throughout 2017 we saw numerous launches and product releases that reflect the changes in how people are using their devices.

Many of those updates focused on adding creative power to the camera, making mobile communication more playful and expressive than a simple phone call or text.

For example, our community of users on Snapchat is taking more than 3.5 billion Snaps a day on average.

This means the run rate is now more than 1 trillion Snaps taken in a year.

If brands want to be successful in the visual communication revolution they need to adapt their thinking.

They need to start with the consumer and contribute to the way in which they’re using the camera.

People are creating and consuming content on mobile in entirely new ways.

Brands need to get into the new creation and consumption mindset.

On the average footballing weekend in the UK we see that football enthusiasts on Snapchat, those actively looking and watching for football-related content, are 18% more active in sending Snaps to friends than the average Snapchatter.

On big match days like the 2017 Champions League final, we football enthusiasts globally are 48% more active than the average Snapchatter.

Football clubs have been quick to identify and adapt to this new fan behaviour.

Last year, Premier League clubs Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton worked with us to create club-branded AR experiences.

Over launch weekend, people spent a combined total of 15 years playing with and enjoying the new AR fan experience.

In that same weekend, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich also launched Lenses that drove over 150 million views.

Brands also recognise the power of attention and time spent on Snapchat.

A recent game, launched by adidas under their "Here to Create" campaign drove 1.2 million plays with an average playtime of 61 seconds, driving a 13-point uplift in campaign awareness, and a 22-point increase in ad awareness, in the UK.

Part of the recipe for success in both of these examples is that they enhanced and augmented existing interactions between friends by adding elements of play.

Feed-based social platforms have been vocal in their desire to put friends and family back at the heart of their experience.

On Snapchat, we already know it is the "close friends" networks – with smaller, more personal friend groups – that are the key driver of relaxed, chatty, frequent exchanges.

The visual conversations people are having are, overwhelmingly, between close friends – the people they spend both physical and digital time with.

Close friends matter. Friends want to hear from each other. Through the World Cup, no matter who they support, regardless of whether or not they like football, friends will connect and spend time together because they like the person.

They want the shared experience.

And with people now using visual communication, and the eco-system of products built around cameras powering large-scale conversation between friends, brands who want to play in this World Cup need to be part of this new form of communication.

Russia 2018 will be the Mobile World Cup, and the mobile camera its home screen.

Will Scougal is head of creative strategy, EMEA, for Snap