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Brands miss football opportunities

News, 09 October 2015

LONDON: Advertisers are missing out on opportunities to reach football fans through video, new research suggests, as brands generate only 11% of all online football-related video content watched daily.

There are a total of 100m such videos viewed every day according to Tubular Labs, a video analytics firm, with most being done by football gamers sharing content around virtual football games (40%). Footage of top players in action made up just 22% of views, Marketing Week reported.

The research also showed that branded football content got 22% more views than the average online video category.

"Engagement rates are exceptionally high for football videos," said Denis Crushell, vp/EMEA at Tubular Labs, who told a Google event that brands could use these to reach a highly engaged audience with greater flexibility than a TV advert.

One of the best examples of this approach is Turkish Airlines, which deployed Lionel Messi alongside basketball player Kobe Bryant in ads that were among the fastest-spreading commercials on YouTube: the Selfie Shootout, for example, got 77m views in one week and increased global brand recall by 9%.

There are also opportunities for brands to tap into user-generated content, according to Tom Thirlwall, chief executive of Bigballs, a digital studio that owns YouTube football channel Copa90.

"There is so much richness outside the game that is not even being touched on yet," he said. And brands don't have to get into negotiations with rights holders either.

The general approach of brands has been to align themselves with teams or players or tournaments, not always with favourable results.

When the England team departed early from last year's FIFA World Cup, brands faced a decision on whether to pull ads featuring the players. Sponsors of the England rugby team now face a similar scenario.

As well as missing opportunities in video, a report earlier this year suggested that brands are wasting almost one third of their spending on shirt sponsorship through a failure to engage with fans.

Data sourced from Marketing Week, Google; additional content by Warc staff