FIFA’s Social Media amazing journey

Jaime Salinas    November 27, 2017

Prior to Social Media one of the earliest types of advertising was through word of mouth followed by engraving or drawing images on a cave wall, those images told a story, and promoted ideas.


Early printing in the 15th (1401 to 1500) and 16th (1501 to 1600) centuries created a mark in advertising and companies were able to reach a wider audience. In the 18th (1701 to 1800) and 19th (1801 to 1900) centuries advertising was expanded to newspapers.


One of the first advertising agencies was set-up in Philadelphia in 1842 by Volney Palmer, the agency acted as a broker for newspaper space and later on they became a full service by offering ad-placement services and a full production that organized advertising by a target market and population.


In the 20th (1901 to 2000) century the radio was born and was part of a new era on advertising it offered a complete new way of reaching potential audiences. Followed by television which introduced a new type of advertising that was more visual than the previous advertising methods, by the end of the 20th century the internet was introduced to the masses and it became a valuable communication tool for businesses to advertise in a complete different way.


According to Visually technology and the use of Social Media and Internet has accelerated the pace in which people are able to connect, be engaged and be informed.

Below is a list of the time frame it took for various modes of communication to reach 50 million users.

  • Telephone: 75 years
  • Radio: 38 years
  • Television : 13 years
  • Internet: 4 years
  • Facebook: 3.5 years
  • IPOD: 3 years
  • Angry Birds Space app: 35 days


Many organizations still depend on word of mouth as the main form of communication mostly used in marketing and advertising initiatives. These companies are considered to be in the stone ages as compared to organizations that are using Social Media in a big way. A good example of a company that is using Social Media very well is FIFA.


FIFA was taken by surprise in the last World Cup in Brazil when 1 billion people attended FIFA’s Global Stadium, according to the current Deputy Head of FIFA Digital. Senior Manager – Social Media & Video, Alex Stone they began evaluating the data collected from the 2014 World Cup in 2015.


Based on the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ analytics FIFA is picking out actionable information that can be used for the next World Cup, here are some of the key components of their study. What country the visitors where from, who were the followers, what age, what languages they spoke? This can help FIFA’s communication department to determine the strategy going forward to deliver the most effective service to their fans. currently caters to five core languages of English, French, German, Arabic, and Spanish. In order to address the communication needs in the host countries they added Portuguese for the last World Cup in Brazil and have added Russian for the next World Cup in Russia 2018.


FIFA’s Social Media Future aims

According to Alex Stone, Deputy Head of FIFA Digital Senior Manager – Social Media & Video. FIFA’s Future Social Media aim is to increase engagement with their fans on a regular basis and FIFA also wants the fans to be more interested in other events they run, in Football as a whole and other aspects that are less publicized. FIFA’s ultimate goal according to Alex Stone is

“to build a consistent presence with this content rather than just dipping their toes in every four years for the World Cup.”


FIFA’s use of Social Media is to create awareness and engagement with fans in real time, creating web pages and videos for fans explaining on how they can buy tickets, demand on tickets, when they go on sale and information on tickets that show on the black market and how to deal with this issue.

FIFA uses Social Media to obtain feedback from fans on their preferences at stadiums regarding where they can purchase specific foods, preferences in music and music volume.


The information that is gathered through Social Media engagement with fans and stakeholders is assisting FIFA to create positive brand experiences. FIFA has continued to offer many opportunities through Social Media for their customers and stakeholders to connect with them, offer feedback (likes and dislikes), to keep up-to-date on services, and product development, through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Global Stadium, YouTube Videos and website.


In an Interview by Andy Vale on May 12, 2015 with Alex Stone, Deputy Head of FIFA Digital Senior Manager – Social Media & Video

“So moving forwards, we’re looking at how can we combine FIFA’s newly discovered social audience with those of potential partners. How can we create something together that benefits the fans at the stadiums, at the fan fests, or even online? In that respect, the reaction to the World Cup on Twitter and social media has potentially opened up a lot of doors for us that might not have been there before.”

The following video is a good example on how FIFA educates their fans, players, referees, and stakeholders in general. The video shows new technology that they are currently using to improve, monitor, and assess players performance in real time through electronic monitors while players are engaged in the beautiful game of football.

In order to watch the video, FIFA has granted permission via YouTube

The Future of Social Media and Business

Social media is evolving and consumers are continuously engaging in digital media at home, at work and on the go, wherever they are. Consumers and stakeholders are doing this on their desktop computers, tablets, cell phones, and Google Home devices.

Customers are connecting to different channels to provide product ratings, ask questions about products and give product feedback. In doing so customers are telling businesses when and where they would interact with products and services, customers also expect businesses to answer their questions in a timely matter.


Businesses are learning that they have entered into a new era in digital media and it is not enough to have strong marketing initiatives believing that this will turn consumers into customers. Brands that want to be noticed in the digital era must adapt and realize that Social Media is here to stay.


Top 3 Social Media trends that will take over in 2018

 According to Andrew Hutchinson’s November 14, 2017 online article the following can be considered as Social Media trends in 2018

1 – Increase in the use of video in social media channels, i.e. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter

“Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter all investing in video to help generate engagement and build followers.”

2 – Expansion of Live Streaming i.e. Snapchat, Facebook, and YouTube

3 – Doubling Down on Ephemeral Content ( short-lived media content that is accessible up to 24hours on social networks) i.e. Snapchat and Instagram


Interview with Sam Sgro, November 19, 2017

Marketing Manager at Robert Bosch Inc. Automotive Division (retired)

Sam Sgro has over 35 years Marketing experience with various employers


Will the use of Social Media in the future be considered as a normal part of the day to day marketing activities in organizations?

Social media alone cannot provide the answers to this question, but can provide a medium which the marketer can draw from and use the information to make informed decisions. Using social media to talk to the consumer provides the company with a snap shot of information from the vocal few. As with all market research, this information needs to be taken in perspective and should be vetted wherever possible. One must not simply be swayed by the vocal few alone but must be made aware of any issue (positive and negative), and then take steps to verify/confirm the information through further research especially when public opinion is negative – no company wants the undercurrent of opinion to become a tidal wave.


Lessons for Others

In doing the research for this assignment on FIFA’s Future Social Media Trends. I found out that it was not so easy to gather this information either through research or gathering information via expert interviews. FIFA is keeping things pretty secretive. I guess they are doing this in order to generate excitement and interest in what they will be doing in the near future for the World Cup in Russia 2018.

I also learned that FIFA is successful in their Social Media strategies as it concentrates it’s focus in only using the main Social Media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. If my research on The Future Social Media Trends is correct, we should be seeing a lot more videos on all Social Media channels used by FIFA to engage with their customers.

Industry: Soccer (aka Football)
Name of Organization Contact: Gianni Infantino FIFA President

Authored by: Jaime Salinas

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


Top Social Media Trends That Will Take Over 2018, published Nov. 14, 2017 by Andrew Hutchinson @adhutchinson, retrieved November 23, 2017 from:

Reaching 50 million users, retrieved November 25, 2017 from:

The Future of Social Media and Business, by Alex Hisaka works in Marketing at Retrieved November 26, 2017 From:

In an Interview by Andy Vale on May 12, 2015 with Alex Stone, Deputy Head of FIFA Digital Senior Manager – Social Media & Video, retrieved November 23, 2017 from:

Understanding DIGITAL MARKETING book (4th edition) by Damian Ryan, advertising through the ages page 2-4, retrieved November 15, 2017