Anticipation is building for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which will kick off Nov. 20 and see a champion crowned Dec. 18, and Twitter is sharing the excitement of football fans worldwide.


The upcoming tournament marks the first time the World Cup will be held during the winter, due to the intense heat experienced by the host country during the traditional summer scheduling for the event, and it also marks just the second major global sporting event since pandemic restrictions began to ease.


“There is pent-up demand and energy from consumers and marketers alike,” Twitter Next vice president and global head Alex Josephson told Adweek. “30 days of sports mania and World Cup conversation on the platform will overlap squarely with holiday shopping season.”


While the World Cup is a global event and Twitter is a global platform, the U.S. still accounted for 41.5 million of the 237.8 million monetizable daily active users the company reported for the second quarter of 2022, as well as $593 million of its $1.115 billion in total ad revenue for the period.


The U.S. Men’s National Team failed to qualify for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and, while the team did clinch a berth in this year’s tournament, its play has been uneven in the run-up to kickoff.


This did not seem to concern Josephson. While he admitted that conversation on Twitter increases proportionately based on the U.S. team’s fortunes, he told Adweek, “Once your home country is out, people on Twitter still avidly tweet about the World Cup. They find another country to root for, or fall in love with a team as Cinderella story, or they are interested in a particular player, or have a friend or relative from another country.”


He noted that 59% of people who were tweeting about the team from Japan during the 2018 tournament were doing so for the first time, and similar trends emerged for Australia (47%) and Mexico (43%).


Josephson and Twitter Next colleague Eimear Lambe, who focuses on global brand strategy, shared some of the trends they see heading into FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.


Spurred by the success of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team at FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, Twitter found that 75% of people using its platform say they are World Cup fans, compared with 49% who are not on Twitter.


The platform experienced a 22% year-over-year increase in soccer conversation in the U.S., and global discussion about the World Cup was up 3.2 times year-over-year.


Brands can take advantage of this and make their mark, as Josephson and Lambe pointed out that Budweiser was the most-talked-about brand globally during the 2018 tournament due to its Man of the Match initiative.


They added that Twitter has seen a 27% year-over-year jump in soccer tweets mentioning brands.


While “The Beautiful Game” hasn’t changed much, the ways that people consume and discuss it certainly have.


“Twitter in 2022 looks very, very different from Twitter in 2018,” Josephson told Adweek. “It’s not just text, photo, video anymore.”


He put the spotlight on real-time highlights in 23 countries via premium video offering Twitter Amplify, as well as a 277% lift in recall and 202% leap in purchase intent during beta campaigns testing the social network’s branded likes.


Other options for brands include Interactive Text Ads, in which a word or hashtag can be hyperlinked to drive people to another online destination, and interactive games within tweets that do not require users to leave the Twitter timeline.


Live shopping, which wasn’t a factor in 2018, lets marketers create programming around high-profile moments and occasions.


And on the fan side, Josephson and Lambe expect audio feature Twitter Spaces to continue to carve its niche, with participation from brands, as well.


Industries that have really emerged since the last World Cup include cryptocurrency, food delivery and sports betting.


Twitter found that “crypto and sports fandoms tend to be similar in nature,” leading several brand and trading applications in the sector to turn to sports sponsorships, particularly soccer.


Josephson and Lambe said Twitter sees a spike in tweets related to ordering takeout and food delivery during major sports events, and brands can take advantage by touting their offerings “in the moment.”


And the social network cited research showing that seven out of every 10 sports bettors use its platform, and 33% of them said they wouldn’t place as many wagers if it wasn’t for Twitter.


Finally, with alcohol (especially beer) marketing and sports so often intertwined, Josephson did not express concern about the restrictions on alcohol in the tournament’s host country, noting that marketing efforts on Twitter are global, and that the platform brings people closer to matches without having to be there.


He said of Twitter, “It’s the world’s biggest sports bar.”

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