With the World Cup starting today, comScore has released some mobile stats about it. The last three months have shown a surge in sports-related activity over mobile devices – but more so in the UK than any other country. And at the same time, Synchronica is predicting an explosion in mobile messaging for the duration of the tournament.
What’s the story?
Mobile movers and shakers have been preparing for the World Cup for months now. As early as December last year, mobile advertiser InMobi was warning people to get ready for coming spike in mobile activity. And over the last few weeks, there has been a steady flow of mobile applications for the event. Why? For two main reasons:
1) The World Cup is the biggest advertising event in the world – if you’re a mobile marketer, you’d be crazy not to get involved.
2) Sports works well on mobile. Using your device to check sports news has always been a popular activity, and sports fans can easily stay in contact with their communities using mobile. Mobile social networks and utility applications have not been slow to tap into that market.
What does comScore have to say?
What comScore has observed over the last three months is in support of the above. It looked at mobile sports activity across the EU5 (UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) and compared it to the same time period last year. The UK has the largest mobile sports community, with almost 5 million users. Spain saw the largest growth, from 1.7 million last year to 3.1 million this year. You can see the rest of the details in these charts:
What about Synchronica?
Synhronica works in mobile messaging – and we’re not just talking SMS here. It also deals with mobile IM and email, and designs them to work on extremely low tech devices. The company is predicting that during the World Cup, even people who don’t usually use IM chat on mobile will start using it to chat with friends and family during game time. CEO Carsten Brinkschulte said “even the most ambivalent of football fans will find themselves drawn into discussions on the highs and lows of their team’s performance… I’m confident that IM chat services will see a significant rise in popularity during the tournament.”
What we think?
The World Cup offers an unparalleled opportunity to grow mobile services. It’s not even really about the marketing opportunities – although those are also exciting. This is a chance to educate people about the things their mobiles can do beyond simple voice and text. And it’s a chance to do it the best way you can on mobile: virally. All over the world, people will be sitting next to one another, comparing football results, facts and opinions. In a situation like that, basic curiosity will be able to drive a mobile service further than any amount of marketing could.