Blogs & CommentFeatured

Study: Twitter finds 16 million football fans in MENA

By Benjamin Ampen, Managing Director, MENA, Twitter

From professional footballers’ thoughts and football club news, to sports journalists’ opinions and live match broadcasts that are celebrated, lamented or debated; these conversations happen across Twitter in real time, informing fans of everything that’s happening around the sport in an open, public platform.

For perspective, the last time any of the Arab teams that qualified to the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ participated in the tournament was in 2006 (Saudi Arabia and Tunisia). Back then, Twitter was a few months old. And to stay informed around public reactions, football fans had to wait for online portals or newspapers the following day.

Now, 12 years later, Twitter has evolved from a text-only platform to one that is more visual, interactive and focused on video with live broadcasts. Brands can now start conversations and create Twitter Moments; a feature that combines a collection of Tweets into one, to tell their stories. One can say that this is Twitter’s biggest FIFA World Cup™ in the region so far, with four Arab teams qualifying for the first time in history.

With 16 million football fans on Twitter in MENA (being represented by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE), Twitter commissioned a study by Hall & Partners to unveil insights to how the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ affects user behavior, as well as how brands can best utilize the platform for their own visibility.

On a regional level, the research revealed that 97% of the respondents are excited about the 2018 FIFA World Cup™. As the following graph illustrates, there were more than 28 million and 17 million mentions of the Saudi and Egyptian player and team handles respectively on Twitter the past year:

Moreover, 81% of the respondents said they will watch all the games or as many as they can, and 62% of Twitter users are positive when seeing a sponsorship or advertisement around the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

The survey that we ran revealed strong support by MENA Twitter users for the Arab teams. We learnt that the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ excitement influences viewing behaviors and platforms such as Twitter provide fans with timely content and news.

Clearly, there’s a lot of excitement around the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia ™. Brands can activate leading into the tournament and during the event this summer through a number of ways. From owning key moments and game days, to driving direct engagement with their audience and fans by placing their brands front and center of the conversation, to sponsoring premium content from around the event itself, the opportunities are vast when it comes to building a football marketing strategy.

The research undertaken unveiled a number of additional country-specific results, including:

Saudi Arabia