Top 5 Search Trends over the World Cup

Oluwatofunmi Ayodeji Posted by Oluwatofunmi Ayodeji

The FIFA World Cup is one of the biggest sport tournaments that takes place every four years. 32 teams are chosen to compete against each other over a period of a month, followed by people all around the world.

From June 25th to July 10th, we kept in track of the search terms that Sports Betters and Sports retailers were bidding on across desktop and mobile. Here is a list of the best search trends that we found.

1 – Its coming home!

In 1996 the no.1 single by Three Lions “its coming home” referred to England hosting its first tournament since the 1966 World Cup. And as the World Cup 2018 started to progress, England fans started to believe that it could be even more likely that England could win. Which then changed the meaning of the song into the hopes of actually bringing the trophy home.  

From what Adthena gathered we can see that as a response to “its coming home” people were using terms such as “england retro football shirt”, “1982 england shirt”, and “retro england football shirts” on Text Ads. Whereas on Google Shopping Ads (PLAs) there were searching for “retro england shirt”, “vintage england top”, and “1982 england shirt” and others too.

2 – The battle of Text Ad and Google Shopping (PLAs)

On Paid Desktop and Paid Mobile, Nike were the main users of England specific Ad Copy, even running “It’s Coming Home” in the title on their own Pure Brand Terms. We can also see that Nike were performing exceptionally well, achieving above 30% in their share of clicks on mobile.

Additionally, Riverisland and Boohooman used “It’s Coming Home” or “Three Lions” messaging on general man’s search terms.

Whereas on PLA Desktop and Mobile, Amazon were not advertising on PLAs in this market, giving Sports Direct and Nike domination with Sports Direct raising above 40% on PLA Mobile share of clicks followed by Nike, with above 30%.  

3 – Sports Betting

Desktop & Mobile

William Hill were dominant in the run up and early days of the tournament but competition increased massively and they lost dominance to Bet365 on 29th June. And Coral seem to show a trend of bidding aggressively around England matches specifically.

Unibet dropped out from 23rd June on both Desktop and Mobile and re-entered on 1st July suggesting that they were saving it for closer to the finals.

Paddypower increased their share massively over the past 30 days – peaking on Sunday 3rd when Russia beat Spain and Croatia beat Denmark.

4 – “Rent a car”

From what we could see this was an immensely competitive search term with three Russian competitors advertising, inc. Hiflat, Rent Express, and CityTransMSK. July 5th was the biggest peak of impressions with most competitors gaining a market share of 40-70%. Kayak also seem to be the most dominant player, with the highest market share of 80% on July 9th.

5 – “World Cup Tickets” US% Impressions

Throughout, Adthena could see that Viagogo and Stubhub were fighting to be the champion. Stubhub managed to get 70% of impressions on July 1st followed by Viagogo who reached above the 60s. World Cup Ticket Booking, which was specifically set up for the World Cup, gained high impressions on July 4th as did Ticket Compare. In the US we can see a Russian domain entering the US market.

But, Viagogo did have some peaks, focusing on game days v/s stubhub owning fairly consistent market share, maintaining about 55%.

Key Takeaways

  • It was a close call in Sports Betting
  • Retailers have put to thought into what customers are most likely to search during the tournament and were able to implement that into their Ad Copy.
  • Amazon not appearing on mobile PLA gave retailers the chance to gain visibility.
  • Nike, Sports Direct, JD Sports and Kitbag all performed well throughout the World Cup
  • Ticket booking service providers including Viagogo and Stubhub did exceptionally well in getting impressions
  • Russian competitors found their way onto the US SERP to gain some traffic


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About the author

Oluwatofunmi Ayodeji
Oluwatofunmi Ayodeji
Oluwatofunmi is a Marketing Intern at Adthena from The University of Greenwich. She works alongside Lorna Gill helping with social posts, events, emails, content and more. Her hero is Bill Gates and would love to meet him one day.