The 2014 World Cup brought in record branded video viewership, garnering a True Reach® of 671.6 million views*. It is the single biggest branded video event of all time.
True Reach measures the viewership of brand-syndicated videos, as well as associated user-uploaded copies driven by viewers, across hundreds of the web’s most visited video sites. The viewership of the World Cup only includes views from brand videos, not those associated with game footage.
Branded video was still an emerging medium during the 2010 World Cup. Brands were just starting to realize the potential of branded video to engage viewers. After four years of learning from events like the Super Bowl and the Olympics, however, brands made a huge impact during the tournament, the biggest media event in the world.
At more than 670 million views, World Cup viewership is equivalent to 8% of last year’s total branded video viewership (8.3 billion views). Tournament-themed campaigns also generated 30% more views than campaigns associated with the 2014 Super Bowl (516.2 million views), which had been the most viewed video event until the end of June.
In total, more than 45 brands released 97 World Cup campaigns from November 2013 through Sunday, July 13. The only event to have more campaigns associated with it is the 2012 Summer Olympics, which had 99 campaigns (and is the event with the fourth highest viewership).
Nike is responsible for eight of the 97 campaigns. The Portland-based apparel brand is the most viewed brand of the tournament, accumulating 240.6 million views. Two of its campaigns, Risk Everything and The Last Game, were the most viewed campaigns of the tournament, respectively. Risk Everything is the sixteenth campaign to surpass 100 million views, while The Last Game will like become the seventeenth within the next month.
Overall, World Cup campaigns generated an average of 6.9 million views per campaign. This is far about the 2013 branded video average of about 2 million views per campaign.
But why have World Cup campaigns performed so well?
The World Cup has an advantage when it comes to viewership in that it is a truly global event, unlike the Super Bowl. Even though we’ve experienced other global events, like the Summer and Winter Olympics, soccer is the most popular sport in the world and thus attracts a more loyal and passionate audience than any other event.
Of course, audience is just one part of why World Cup campaigns have garnered such large viewership. The other reason for the large viewership is that brands are creating better, more engaging content.
World Cup content has higher engagement scores than even the Super Bowl, in large part because brands created compelling stories that played out in long-form content, which hooked viewers. The average length of the top ten most viewed tournament campaigns, for example, is 3:15; six of the top 10 campaigns had videos that were more than three minutes in length. That is a minute and a half longer than the average top Super Bowl campaign.
Much of this content was emotional content that celebrated the spirit of the competition and played on feelings of national pride. Banco de Chile’s ad featuring the Chilean miners is a prime example of how brands infused their brands with emotion. As we saw during the Super Bowl this year, viewers want a lot of emotion in the videos. It is what drives them to talk about and share videos with their social networks.
Higher engagement scores can also be attributed to the abundant use of celebrities, specifically popular soccer players, in the top World Cup campaigns. About half of the tournament campaigns featured football stars to capitalize on built-in fan bases that drive social media conversations and sharing. Most brands used more than one soccer star in their video campaigns to further drive engagement.
Want to know how your favorite World Cup brands, campaigns, and celebrities stacked up? Check out the following posts:
*All data in this post was current as of July 13, 2014.