If you’ve spent any time at all on Twitter recently, you’ve no doubt noticed some new, World Cup specific features popping up. While you might have brushed it off as just another company trying to capitalize off of a big event, you could not be more wrong. For Twitter, the World Cup is their Super Bowl, their World Series, their Game 7 of the NBA Finals. It’s their everything.
Let me explain why. Similar to Facebook, when Twitter filed its IPO, it initially soared, then dropped below what it opened at. It’s currently trading 20% lower than what it opened, and 50% lower than its peak. Why is that? Again, like Facebook, Twitter has had a hard time convincing investors that it can be stable long term with it’s current base of active users and current ad structure.
One of the things that Twitter is trying to do to counter this, is to create temporary online festivals structured around popular events (the World Cup is fairly popular I think). “But I thought that’s what hashtags were for” I hear you saying. And that’s true, to a point. But what Twitter is trying to create with this World Cup is an online destination for people that can’t watch the game, and for people to interact with WHILE watching the game. “You don’t need to be on ESPN.com or FIFA.com or your favorite soccer blog or online forum. The only place you need to go for ALL World Cup info is Twitter.”
Twitter has added specific game pages, flag hashtags, special team support networks and more. They’ve also staffed up internally and made a lot of engineering adjustments to handle the added traffic load to their own network to avoid high traffic outages like four years ago.
If they are successful with this tournament, it’s a game changer for them. All of a sudden you’ll start seeing college football game pages, NFL, MLB, etc. And what will come with that? Thousands of engaged, passionate people in a similar demo with similar interests. Oh and did I mention that they’re right in front of their computer or their phone? Hmmm..”How about you check out our latest sale items during that commercial break?” “Have you seen the new Corolla? Why don’t you build your own during halftime?”
Don’t expect to see too many ads within the World Cup offerings this go around, it’s just a drill. A proof of concept. But watch the interactions people are having, watch the engagement, see who’s involved. Think about how you and your company can talk to these people in this environment. You’ll be several steps ahead of your competition when these ad offerings land on the spec sheet.
And they will. It’s only a matter of time.
(John Koster directs the digital and social media team at Sandweiss Koster, Inc.)
(photo credits: footyheadlines.com, Twitter)