Black Friday x The FIFA World Cup – The Competition is On

Falling on the last Friday of November each year, Black Friday is one of the largest Pre-Christmas shopping events celebrated across the world and wider digital space. Often recognized as ‘kickstarting’ the festive shopping season, retailers fight for every eyeball, click, and conversion over Black Friday – ramping up their eCommerce efforts in a bid to out-compete their competitors.

Lauren Church

And for the first time ever, advertisers will be competing against more than just fellow brands this year, with the FIFA World Cup – a tournament watched by 5 billion people – starting five days before Black Friday. Once again retailers are facing uncharted territory across one of the busiest periods in the marketing calendar, with many fearing the loss of profit due to distracted consumers. But will the World Cup frenzy really impact sales across Black Friday and Christmas?

The Impact on Consumer Behavior 

With matches kicking off from 10 am to 7 pm, four times a day, a total of 64 football matches will take place, coinciding with key trading days, such as the England / USA game on Black Friday. We’re expecting this to interrupt usual festive consumer shopping behavior, as around 64% of consumers will follow the world cup in some capacity, with 45% of people tuning in on their TVs at home. We’re already beginning to see the impact of the World Cup, with 40% of football fans planning to purchase Christmas gifts early this year, to optimize their World Cup experience. 

However not everyone will be watching the World Cup in its entirety. While a certain percentage of consumers will tune in for every match, a large proportion of ‘crunch timers’ will only be fully present for the key moments – meaning advertisers still have access to them as an audience. Coupling this with the controversy surrounding the host of the World Cup (with 60% of the British Public opposing Qatar as the location), it might not have as large an impact on audience accessibility as advertisers may have originally thought. 

That being said, it’s important for advertisers to also consider the impact of the World Cup in correlation with the impending recession and cost of living crisis. With over three-quarters of consumers planning on reducing their Christmas spending this year, we can expect that avid football fans will prioritize World Cup related purchases – such as alcoholic beverages – over festive gifts and experiences. Making it even harder for brands to connect, and convert consumers. Trends indicate consumers have already started searching for deals and are looking to spread the shopping across multiple paydays to ease the pressure on their gifting budget this year. 

Brands should not underestimate the positive impact that the World Cup can have on consumer mindset and spending. The World Cup creates a feel-good factor around the world, which will undoubtedly have a positive knock-on effect on gifting and consumer behavior. However, based on trends we have seen over the last few World cup seasons, this might vary category by category. Sports & Fitness related searches are expected to experience rather significant and frequent volume fluctuations throughout the tournament period. Technology is said to be a category that’s likely to benefit from the winter World Cup, with brands preparing for consumers to invest in bigger TVs. projectors and sound bars. Searches for streaming services and televisions are expected to be strong running up to the tournament as well as in the first few days after the start.  

What This Means for Advertisers

The 2022 World Cup presents both a challenge and a unique opportunity for brands and marketers alike – successful brands will understand the impact of major events on consumer behavior, and respond accordingly. With this in mind we spoke to our account directors across the UK to hear what top tips they had for brands this Black Friday.

Know your customer

First and foremost it’s critical for brands to know their customers. With consumer intentions shifting across generations it’s crucial that you understand your audience and tailor your marketing efforts to them – pivoting your approach based on your customer base. 

Start early, finish late

To ensure you are front of mind for the world’s football fans, you’ll need to start your Black Friday campaigns earlier this year to capture consumer attention before the tournament starts. Additionally, consider extending promotions later than usual too. Marketers who are not yet running Black Friday or 2022 Gifting campaigns should re-evaluate their start dates and resume their marketing efforts as soon as they can – to allow a longer time period for consumers to do their research and purchase and for themselves to be able to process orders, package and deliver on time.

Be responsive and engaged

During the trading period, brands will need to be responsive and innovative, to strike the right combination of enticing promotions and highly targeted CTAs to drive impulsive sales around matches. Football-related promotions, adverts, and email subject lines can also be used to make your brand stand out and catch the attention of football fans. For example, If a brand has the opportunity to play in the shared experience of the World Cup, it creates a potential sales opportunity e.g. offering time-limited discounts if England wins a match, or scores a specific number of goals. Brands should also be more considerate of how to attract audiences (such as Gen Z’ers) via digital marketing efforts across popular platforms such as Tiktok and Instagram. 

Protect your margins

Like consumers, brands will also need to negotiate inflation and the cost of living crisis this Black Friday. This coupled with heightened demand for Christmas ad space (as non-traditional Q4 advertisers are also competing for consumer spending) means we’re already seeing an increase in the cost of advertising/media. CPCs have risen across most retail categories already and will naturally see costs inflated further because of the added competition and those deciding to invest more at the expense of profit, to push sales. Consequently, we may see brands choosing to protect their margins and bottom line rather than dropping their prices. If you’re not marking down – don’t stress. Protecting margins is important too, and you will most likely have a halo effect from the consumer mindset of spending over this key period.

The key to a successful Black Friday this year is understanding how your customers will respond to the football World Cup. Brands need to be quick to act, responsive, and innovative to stand out amongst the noise. Whether or not the current economic climate will put a dampener on the football feel good factor remains unknown, but it’s important not to underestimate the UK’s love for football. Advertisers must strike the right balance between enticing promotions, brand-building, and empathetic messaging to ensure they’re both front of mind for the world’s football fans and understanding of the current cost of living crisis. 

To learn more, and find out how you can optimize your advertising this Black Friday, get in touch today.

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