Brands urged to move football marketing spend to online video

Brands need to “redefine” how they market to football fans by devoting more attention to online video and fan-centric content, it was claimed at a Google briefing this morning (8 October).

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Video analytics firm Tubular Labs unveiled new research showing that while football-related video content now receives more than 100 million views per day, only 11% of that content is currently produced by brands.

The highest proportion of views (40%) is of ‘football gamers’, meaning content shared by fans playing virtual football games. Some 22% of views are for compilations of top players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in action.

Denis Crushell, EMEA vice-president at Tubular Labs, claimed that by placing more focus on football video content, brands can reach a highly engaged audience with greater flexibility than a TV advert.

He cited the example of a Turkish Airlines advert featuring Messi from 2013, which has received over 142 million YouTube views. According to the research, branded football content gains 22% more views than the average online video category.

“Engagement rates are exceptionally high for football videos,” he said.

Meanwhile Tom Thirlwall, CEO of Bigballs, a digital studio that owns YouTube football channel Copa90, argued that there are untapped opportunities to create content around matches that do not require access from rights holders.

This includes collaborating with fans to tell their stories around matches and outside stadiums. Copa90 has partnered with a range of brands to produce content including HTC, Nissan and Adidas.

“There is so much richness outside the game that is not even being touched on yet,” he said.

Thirlwall suggested that rights holders will need to adapt to the rapid growth of fan-generated content around the game. He noted, for example, that Premier League clubs appear to be rowing back on their attempts to stop fans uploading goals and action from matches to the social video platform Vine.

“Rights holders are going to have to be more fleet of foot about their rights and how they divide them up,” he said.

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