POV

Facebook to Launch New Targeting, With Eye on FIFA World Cup

Background

On April 18, Facebook announced a new targeting cluster specific to the upcoming World Cup, and it is quite a significant move for the Social giant as it looks to boost its reputation as a second-screen companion to TV.  While standard Facebook targeting allows advertisers to reach audiences based on their inferred interest in “soccer” or “FIFA,” they will now be able to target a live pool of World Cup fans that is updated nearly real-time based on conversations and engagements on the platform.

How it Works

This cluster will be available as an audience segment within Facebook’s native targeting options. Advertisers must request that their accounts be whitelisted for this targeting and can begin to do so as early as May. It has been reported that the cluster will be updated daily and will be comprised of users who have expressed interest in the World Cup, including fans of the team pages, as well as people engaging with content about the event in the form of trending topics, public content, status updates and posts.

FIFA Pic

Resolution POV:

This audience segment is Facebook’s most direct move yet to help advertisers align in near real-time to a major TV event. And with a sizeable body of research suggesting that a growing number of TV watchers are using Facebook simultaneously, the new capability is poised to break new ground  for Facebook, untapping opportunities for advertisers looking to better harness the platform in synchrony with what’s airing on TV.

Should advertisers realize strong results during the FIFA World Cup, then we would expect Facebook to extend similar features to other major TV events across the year. Surely this would put Facebook in more direct competition for Social TV dollars with Twitter, who despite the smaller user base has dominated the space and forged strong relationships with the major networks.

Recommended Practices:

  • Though the World Cup doesn’t begin until July, the segment will be available sometime in May. Interested advertisers should consider some early tests so they can develop best practices and optimization strategies prior to the main event where investment and reach will be greatest.
  • Consider a multi-layered targeting approach, using the World Cup cluster in combination with additional filters like demographics or geographics. Aside from more precise targeting, this method would provide a more detailed view on performance across different segments, creative messages, and locations.
  • The World Cup is a fast-paced event, and what is relevant one moment is gone the next. Because of this, we strongly recommend advertisers take a real-time approach with their creative and their messages to ensure they are capitalizing on moments of relevancy, as they happen.
  • Measure, measure, measure. As with any new feature, be sure to very closely monitor and assess performance against your goals and objectives. Considering the cluster will be updated daily with new segments, performance and reach is likely to vary day by day.

Summary

Facebook will be a virtual global stadium of passionate soccer fans during the world’s largest sporting event, the FIFA World Cup. Facebook’s new targeting cluster will give advertisers access to these audiences on a scale and with a speed never before possible on the platform. It represents the most direct move yet by the Social giant to provide advertisers with opportunities to activate in a more real-time fashion around a live event and, perhaps most importantly, to better coordinate their targeting strategies with what is happening on TV and how users are reacting to it on Facebook. And if it is a success, it will be sure to shake up the Social TV space as we know it today.

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