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Game on: social media to adopt tactical play at Fifa World Cup 2018

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

Brass bands, drums, chants, face paint – 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.

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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’.

This year the mobile camera and visual communication will play a bigger role than ever before in the way that people connect, celebrate and commiserate throughout Russia 2018.

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Of course, social media will again play a huge role too, but the world is a very different place today. While much of marketing remains familiar, the way consumers communicate with 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 portable devices.

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

The Snapchat community is creating 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. To put that into context – this is more than all the pictures that were forecast to be taken using every smartphone’s native camera across the world in 2017.

If brands want to be successful in the visual communication revolution, they must adapt to the creation and consumption mindset of people talking with pictures. Now more than ever, it is important to start with the consumer and make sure that they are contributing to the way in which they use the camera.

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We are creating and consuming content on mobile in entirely new ways and by adding to this behavioural shift brands can exist on mobile in ever more authentic ways.

On the average footballing weekend in Saudi Arabia, we see that football enthusiasts on Snapchat, those actively looking and watching for football related content, are 15% 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 when it comes to Snap creation.

With approximately 74% of Saudi Snapchatters using their mobile phone whilst watching sports**, and 55% using Snapchat at football stadiums***, it’s no wonder Football Clubs around the world have been quick to identify and adapt to this new fan behaviour.

Last year, Premier League Clubs Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton worked with us to create club-branded AR experiences. Over launch weekend people spent 15 years playing with and enjoying the new fan experience.

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

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Brands also recognise the power of attention and time spent on Snapchat. In 2017, Mobily ran a national filter for the Al Nassr v Al Hilal Crown Cup semifinal, giving Snapchatters the opportunity to predict the final score and share it with their friends. The national filter had over 90 million views, reaching over 7.6 million unique Snapchatters.

More recently, to start the 2017-18 SPL season, Nike launched a national lens promoting the new Al Hilal shirt for the season. The lens had an average play time of 35 seconds, significant engagement when compared to the national average of 17 seconds for sponsored lenses.

Part of the recipe for success for both of these examples is that they enhanced and augmented existing interactions between friends. 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 the most both physical and digital time with.

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Close friends matter and friends want to hear from each other. During 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 more people now using visual communication than ever before, and the ecosystem of products built around cameras powering large-scale conversation between friends, for brands to play in this World Cup the time is now to evolve.

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

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*Source: Snap Inc. internal data. Average footballing weekend relates to average over a weekend in the 2016 – 2017 season in KSA

**Source: GlobalWebIndex, Saudi Arabia. Custom analysis commissioned by Snap Inc., 2017

***Source: 2017 U.K. Greenberg Strategy study commissioned by Snap Inc.

This article, written by Will Scougal, Head of Creative Strategy, EMEA, Snap Inc, first appeared on AMEinfo’s sister publication GMR The views expressed by the author are entirely his own.