LONDON: If the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 2014 can be regarded as the first social media World Cup, then brands should prepare for the tournament in Russia this summer to be dominated by fans sharing visual images with each other.

That is according to Will Scougal, the EMEA head of creative strategy at Snap, the US image-messaging firm, who says “Russia 2018 will be all about the creative power of the mobile camera and visual communications”.

Writing in an article for Campaign, he recognises that social media will play a “huge role” this year too, but states that the way consumers communicate on mobile devices has been transformed over the past few years.

This is because advances in technology have made mobile communication more playful and expressive, which will require brands to adapt to the new reality of how people create and consume content on their mobile devices.

On the average footballing weekend in the UK, for example, Scougal’s team has observed that football fans on Snapchat – those actively looking and watching for football-related content – are 18% more active in sending Snaps to friends than the average Snapchatter.

And on big match days like the 2017 Champions League final, football fans globally are 48% more active than the average Snapchat user, he said.

“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,” said Scougal.

“Close friends matter. Friends want to hear from each other,” he added. “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.”

Further insights into how brands should approach their marketing at this year’s World Cup in Russia can be found in a WARC exclusive report, entitled World Cup 2018: Russia and the opportunity to tell the truth.

The report documents advice from a series of experts, who met last month at a special event hosted by BMB, the full service agency.

Sourced from Campaign; additional content by WARC staff