Why the World Cup is an advertiser’s biggest challenge

As champions of the New York Corporate Indoor Soccer League, we know a little bit about soccer.

And in anticipation of the FIFA World Cup finals this Sunday, we’ve been thinking a lot about the biggest sporting spectacle in the world. Not just about the showdown on the field between France and Croatia, but also the strategies behind every company looking to get more eyes on their brand.

Every four years, people from countries big and small tune in to watch their favorite soccer teams battle it out on the turf. Estimates on the numbers of these viewers range in the billions, and thus, advertisers everywhere look to target these potential consumers as best they can.

But running ads during the World Cup is another beast entirely.

Unlike the Super Bowl, with its constant advertising breaks, the World Cup provides a mere fifteen minutes of halftime to air commercials. Other than that, along with the occasional added breaks if a game goes to overtime, viewers can comfortably watch the game uninterrupted.

What does this mean for advertisers? Oftentimes, it means doing what they do best: getting creative.

If you’ve been tuning in on the games this year, you may have noticed brands like Hyundai and McDonalds flashing their logo all over the stadium. You can find them on the fences lining the field, the screens, even the players’ uniforms.

Although some would find this type of advertising less effective in comparison with televised, story-based commercials so often found during sporting event breaks, others see this as an important opportunity.

Ben Sturner, the CEO of Leverage Agency, a sports marketing firm, believes viewable ad impressions are a great way to build brand awareness.

“Having a static ad in the background may not give you the exact messaging in a commercial ad,” Sturner said in reference to the World Cup of 2014, “but you’re getting minutes and minutes of time and your brand has association at the highest level.”

This method is particularly effective for brands that are already well known. A recent study carried out by ad intelligence companies Placed, Inc. and Moat Analytics discovered that viewable ad impressions can drive as much as a 53 percent lift in store visits, and a 20.4 percent lift in in-store conversion.

Viewability is important. So if you’re watching the final matches this weekend, look out for all of the ways advertisers make their moves as the entire world tunes in.