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Lessons from the world's biggest branded video event -- ever

Lessons from the world's biggest branded video event -- ever Mallory Russell

While Germany took home the World Cup, it wasn't the only winner. This year's World Cup is the single biggest branded video event to date, reaching 671.6 million views as of the final day of the tournament.

That level of viewership is simply astounding. To put it in perspective, 671.6 million views is equivalent to 8 percent of the total branded video views in 2013. The World Cup has 30 percent more views than the 2014 Super Bowl, which was the most-viewed branded video event, with 516.2 million views, until the end of June.

For the third month running, the iMedia Brands in Video chart shows just how much the World Cup has dominated the branded video universe. Eight of the 10 brands included on the June list created and released tournament themed campaigns. Seven of those brands -- Nike, Samsung, adidas, Beats by Dre, Kia, McDonald's, and Coca-Cola -- were on the Visible Measures list of the top 10 most-viewed World Cup brands.

Nike tops the June chart with 123.7 million views. The apparel brand increased its views 136 percent from May and moved up one spot from the month prior. While Nike had more than 65 campaigns generating views during the month, it was the performance of its World Cup campaigns that made its viewership nearly double that of the next brand on the list.

It was Nike's "The Last Game" that contributed the most to the success of the brand in June. Garnering 83.8 million views, the animated short starring some of the biggest names in soccer accounted for 68 percent of Nike's views for the month.

By the end of the tournament, "The Last Game" had more than 97 million views, which made it the second most-viewed campaign of the World Cup. It was only bested by "Risk Everything," another Nike campaign that generated 20.5 million views in June and more than 124 million overall since its release.

With numbers like that, it shouldn't be a surprise that Nike was also the most-viewed brand of the whole tournament, with 240.6 million views (half of which were garnered in June) across eight campaigns.

Samsung, like Nike, managed to dominate the World Cup video conversation, despite the fact that it was not an official sponsor of the event. The brand was the second most-viewed in June with 62.5 million views. Overall, the electronics maker drew 124.3 million views from its World Cup campaigns, making it the second most-viewed campaign of the tournament, as well.

Samsung's most popular campaign of the month was also the third most-viewed World Cup campaign -- "Galaxy 11: The Training." The campaign sets up a story in which 13 of the world's most popular soccer players must save Earth from an alien invasion. It accumulated more than 25 million views in June and 74.5 million views overall.

The third most-viewed brand in June, adidas, was again the third most-viewed brand of the whole tournament. In June, it brought in 45.4 million views, which is about half of its total World Cup viewership.

The apparel brand, and official sponsor of the World Cup, produced nine campaigns for the tournament, the most of any brand. It's most successful campaign in June was "House Match," starring David Beckham, Zidane, Bale, and Lucas Moura, which drove more than 18 million views for the brand.

World Cup video lessons

What can we learn from Nike, Samsung, adidas, and the other brands on this chart that found great success in producing World Cup-themed campaigns? Why did World Cup branded video experience such dramatic success, especially compared to other sporting events, like the Super Bowl or Winter Olympics?

First, it's important to note that brands advertising during the World Cup have a pre-existing advantage. The World Cup is a global event -- the biggest on the planet -- and revolves around the most popular sport in the world, soccer. That means there are multitudes of passionate and loyal fans hungry to consumer soccer-related content.

But these brands couldn't just rest on the promise of a huge, eager fan base. They used know-how from their other event experiences, like the Super Bowl, to make sure that viewers were as engaged as possible. In particular, they put the following three learnings into practice.

Long-form content keeps eyes on the screen

Brands did this by creating compelling stories that played out in long-form content that hooked viewers. The average length of the top 10 most-viewed tournament campaigns is 3:15; six of the top 10 World Cup campaigns had videos that were more than three minutes in length, which is a minute and half longer than the average Super Bowl campaign.

Emotion runs high on the pitch and online

World Cup brands also relied more than ever on emotional content to inspire viewership. Some ads told the stories of individuals, while others celebrated the spirit of competition and national pride. Banco de Chile's ad featuring the Chilean miners is a great example of how a brand played to emotion to drive viewership, conversation, and sharing.

Celebrities rule the day

Higher engagement scores are also due to the use of celebrities like popular soccer players Lionel Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., and Wayne Rooney, who have built-in fan bases that drive social media conversations and sharing. More than half of all World Cup campaigns used celebrities in their campaigns. Most of those famous faces were soccer stars, and, in most cases, brands used more than one to reach multiple audiences.

Mallory Russell is content editor at Visible Measures.

iMedia's Top 10 Brands in Video chart, powered by Visible Measures, focuses on aggregated brand view counts across related social video ad campaigns. Each brand and campaign is measured on a True Reach basis, which includes viewership of both brand-syndicated and audience-driven video clips. The data are compiled using the patented Visible Measures platform, a constantly growing repository of analytic data on close to 400 million videos tracked across more than 300 online video destinations.

Note: This analysis does not include Visible Measures' paid-placement (e.g., overlays; pre-, mid-, and post-roll) performance data or video views on private sites. This chart does not include movie trailers, video game campaigns, TV show, or media network promotions. View counts are incremental by month.

Learn more here.

Mallory Russell is the Director of Content for Visible Measures. Prior to joining Visible Measures, Mallory wrote for Advertising Age and Business Insider. She also spent a few years in the San Francisco ad business at DraftFCB and Goodby,...

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