Mobile-first brands will cash in on football fever this summer

In this Article

Over 3 billion searches made on ebay.co.uk during the 2014 World Cup.

Almost 10 searches per minute for “football”.

40% rise in women shopping on mobile.

The summer of sport is fast approaching – and it’s set to turn the UK into a nation of football fanatics, creating a huge retail opportunity for brands across all categories, particularly when it comes to mobile commerce.

Over three billion searches were made on ebay.co.uk during the 2014 World Cup, the most recent comparable football tournament, with the Sporting Goods category seeing a particularly big uplift. At its peak in the first week of May, almost six million searches were made in the category illustrating that the window of opportunity for brands starts early.

Insight from eBay Advertising shows that, historically, interest in football really rockets as soon as the tournament kicks off. A huge 92,000 searches were made for “football” on ebay.co.uk in the first week of the 2014 World Cup, equating to almost ten searches per minute. This was almost a quarter (22%) higher than the average number of searches for the equivalent weeks in April and May. And the England team’s first appearance on the pitch on 14th June 2014 sent shoppers scrambling to show their support, with fans making over four searches per minute for “football shirt” on the day.

But even if England crash out of the tournament in the same style as the 2014 World Cup, sports brands can still capitalise on football’s power to inspire consumers to get off the sofa and onto the pitch. On the day of the 2014 final, long after England had exited, shoppers made well over 4,000 searches for “football boots” and “shin pads” on ebay.co.uk.

eBay Advertising also predicts massive opportunities for brands outside the sports sector this summer and has identified two shopper trends that smart marketers should be tapping into.

The ‘halo effect’

Insights from eBay Advertising suggest that big sporting events create a ‘halo’ of consumer interest in different categories - particularly the home, garden and electronics areas - as people embrace the festival feeling that comes with big tournaments.

In the run up to the World Cup, eBay’s Advertising’s data reveals that 18th May 2014 was the ‘Alfresco Apex’, with organised shoppers making over 12,000 searches for “BBQ” as they prepared their gardens to host family and friends. And attention soon turned to electrical goods as consumers primed their homes for optimum viewing; on 26th May 2014, searches for “flat screen TV”, “sound bar” and “projector” all spiked at a total of almost 5,000 - highlighting the need for brands to engage with consumers early on in the lead up to the tournament.

One-eye watchers

Not everyone is bought into football fever, and this lack of interest presents its own opportunities for marketers to tap into alternative audiences. ‘Football widows’ are one such group of shoppers: during the 2014 World Cup final, purchases of dresses and shirts by women shot up by 28%, demonstrating the potential spend to be captured by non-sports brands during matches.

And to reach these women that have only one eye on the screen, mobile is vital. Women were 53% more likely to be shopping on mobile than desktop during England’s third and final match on 24th June 2014 – up 40% from the two hours before the game. This presents a particularly lucrative opportunity for smart brands to target consumers who are ‘dual screening’ – shopping on ebay.co.uk while watching
TV – with inspiring messages across all devices.

Rob Bassett, Advertising Director at eBay in the UK believes the way that consumers shop is rapidly changing, and advertisers need to keep pace if they want a share of the expanded consumer wallet this summer.

“Any major sporting event is a natural time for shoppers to ‘dual screen,’ as they watch matches on the TV and simultaneously use mobile devices to shop for things that inspire them. That’s why we’ve recently introduced our new Advanced Targeting segments, to allow marketers to be hyper-relevant and tailored in their approach”.

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Smart marketers will be aware that the opportunity around big tournaments extends beyond football fans to those who are not tuning in or are even avoiding the event altogether. Brands who think beyond football and use behavioural data to understand how different audience segments behave around the event will be able to capitalise on the opportunity and reap the rewards.
Pauline Robson, Director, MediaCom