Advanced Television

WhatsApp, FB Messenger drive World Cup audience  

March 28, 2018

A global survey of over 80,000 Internet users by GlobalWebIndex  reveals that Latin American digital consumers are the most likely to be watching the FIFA World Cup, where 65 per cent of Internet users will be tuning in online and on TV. Globally, over half (55 per cent) of male Internet users watch the World Cup either online or TV; just over a third (37 per cent) of female Internet users will watch.

Percentage of Internet users aged 16-64 who watch online or on TV 

Asia Pacific   Europe   Latin America   Middle East and Africa   North America 
FIFA World Cup  48 47 65 59 23
Premier League   39 25 33 46 14


In Europe, the audience for the World Cup amongst Internet users (47 per cent) is significantly higher than that of the Premier League (25 per cent), indicating the scale of the marketing opportunity for marketers with international vision. By comparison, at a local level, the World Cup audience in the UK is just 3 per cent larger than that of the Premier League (42 per cent).

This increase is seen in female audiences in the UK as well as male audiences. Thirty-one per cent of women state they watch the world cup either online or on TV – this draws the audience proportionately level with Europe’s Premier League audience.

Marketers must also be aware of the relevance of the World Cup across generations. The ‘grey pound’ will turn out in force for the tournament with 42 per cent of Internet users in the UK over the age of 55 (55-64) stating that they watch FIFA World Cup online and/or on TV. 

Playing the online field

While YouTube dominates the findings as the channel most FIFA World Cup viewers are using, to reach these audiences, marketers need to be thinking far more about direct messaging campaigns.

Among audiences that watch the tournament online and on TV, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are now among the top five social platforms. WhatsApp, for instance, is in use by 87 per cent of World Cup engagers in Latin America, Middle East and Africa. In Europe, this drops to 65 per cent.


Asia Pacific (Exc. China) China Europe Latin America Middle East and Africa North America
 per cent  per cent  per cent  per cent  per cent  per cent
YouTube 94 WeChat 88 YouTube 90 YouTube 97 YouTube 96 YouTube 89
Facebook 89 Youku 71 Facebook 76 Facebook 93 Facebook 93 Facebook 84
Instagram 65 Sina Weibo 70 WhatsApp 65 WhatsApp 87 WhatsApp 87 Facebook Messenger 64
WhatsApp 65 Qzone 63 Facebook Messenger 49 Facebook Messenger 71 Facebook Messenger 75 Instagram 62
Facebook Messenger 64 Tencent Weibo 49 Instagram 48 Instagram 69 Instagram 71 Twitter 53
Twitter 61 Tudou 44 Twitter 39 Twitter 55 Twitter 66 Snapchat 43

With brands making tentative steps towards this massive media moment it could be the option that offers the best value agile campaigning – to be there in the moment with fans.

In China, things are starkly changed, and WeChat is the go-to with 88 per cent of the audience using the platform. WeChat is followed by Youku (71 per cent) and Sina Weibo (70 per cent).


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