Google strives for World Cup second screening success

World Cup Brazil by Diego Lourenco Gurgel/FlickrWas Wayne Rooney’s goal for England against Uruguay his first in a World Cup?

That was the question on a lot of people’s lips during the game according to Google: the search engine has revealed that searches for this fact increased tenfold during the game.

Whether you’re watching the World Cup in a club, pub or even your lounge, chances are that somebody in the room will have one eye on the screen and another on the smartphone in their hand.

Social media channels have been buzzing with people praising the use of vanishing spray to mark the pitch by referees – and asking where they can buy Thierry Henry’s cardigan – while search engines will have been handling an increased number of requests for pizza deliveries and night bus timetables.

This act is known as second-screening – a pretty self-explanatory term, which has opened up a new marketing opportunity for savvy brands to take advantage of.

Second-screening marketing efforts can vary in size – ITV’s accompanying X Factor app recently pulled in Domino’s Pizza as lead sponsor and 18 other participatory brands, but smaller budget efforts can also have a huge impact.

To capitalise on the World Cup, Google has smartly pulled together a team of approximately 20 people in a drive to use its data to create original infographics for use on social media.

Its small team of data scientists, designers, editors and translators are creating shareable content as the tournament progresses – for example the US got behind its national team during the thrilling 2-2 draw with Portugal in such a big way last night that it was searched for 12 times more than ‘The White House’ by local Google users.

French fans are daring to dream that their new stars – Giroud, Valbuena and Pogba – can emulate the feats of their 1998 side, with Google searches for the trio three times higher than for Zidane, Djorkaeff and Deschamps, who lifted the trophy 16 years ago.

Using various forms of social media to second screen is only going to become more popular as brands explore ways they can emulate what the likes of Google have been producing. Getting the right marketing mix is crucial, and this is a string all brands should be looking to add to their bow. If you neglect one marketing method – especially one on the rise – you risk losing current and future customers.

Phil Stelter is managing director of Unique Digital