Missing Messi: Why advertisers aren’t making the most of the World Cup

By Sascha Weis June 27, 2018

It’s that time of year when flags pop up in unexpected places, and colleagues start to mysteriously cancel meetings that were carelessly scheduled during a soccer match. World Cup season is here, and as fans gather to chant and cheer, advertisers squint in front of endless reports and ask themselves: “are we getting a piece of the pie?”

Historically, The World Cup has always been a golden opportunity for brands to associate themselves with good sportsmanship, the thrill of a highly anticipated international sporting event, and most importantly – the tribal, almost mystical, sensation of belonging to a team.

In the old days, agencies would easily secure the mid-match slots and plan their campaigns according to TV schedules and rating charts. This simple practice failed to adapt with the birth of the internet, and eventually, programmatic advertising came along and changed the rules of the game. The one-shot pistol was replaced by a furious machine gun, shooting ads in all directions with unprecedented volume and speed. This new model of advertising introduced brands and agencies to a new level of sophistication when it came targeting and scale. Additionally, programmatic’s sharp KPIs put an end to vague TV success metrics, enabling advertisers to better understand their ROI and to continuously optimize their campaigns.

Programmatic makes advertising scientific, but in the digital age where brands spread their story over numerous platforms and countless end-points, connecting a brand with a particular event at a particular point-in-time can be a real challenge. With no clear visibility into context, advertisers fail to leverage emotion-evoking content.

This challenge becomes even more evident when it comes to video monetization. With little-to-no visibility into content, video players becomes “black holes” in the webpage, and video advertisers fail to capitalize on trending events and contextual goldmines.

How many times have you come across video ads that were completely unrelated to the surrounding content? Or even worse, ironically inappropriate? While Programmatic can promise you a lot, it can’t guarantee an ad placed next to (Barcelona soccer player) Lionel Messi.

Major brands and agencies get ahead of the game by securing their placements directly with top sport publishers and pre-planned content pieces, but many lack the budgets and relationships required for such placements.

Furthermore, the direct strategy can only cover the very tip of the iceberg, while top-notch content published by medium-sized publishers remains up-for-grabs.

Considering this, the valuable World Cup content will most likely get lost in a sea of pages, and feature randomly selected ads from brands that will never know that they got lucky.

Contextual video advertising is a huge void in our landscape and remains a major pain point, even for some of the biggest players.

There is no doubt that our industry must evolve and produce a new generation of hybrid solutions that tie traditional media’s contextual precision with programmatic advertising’s data sophistication and scale.

As the internet becomes more personalized, users expect video ads to become an integral component of the content they consume and demand a seamless transition between editorial and sponsored content.

Curious about how this can be done? Get in-touch, we’d love to hear from you.

Happy World Cup!