British pubs saw a 320% increase in online engagement during the World Cup, suggesting that consumers opted to go to the pub instead of staying at home during the event.
The research by digital management platform Yext, measured the online behaviours of UK-based pub goers throughout the FIFA World Cup 2018, and found that consumers co-ordinated where they wanted to watch the next match at least 24 hours in advance.
The study, conducted among 155 pubs across the UK, analysed the total number of actions (such as ‘get directions’ clicks, ‘click to call’ interactions, and clicks to pub websites from search) each pub received and user engagement, calculated by looking at the total number of actions divided by the number of times each location was seen online.
On 10 July, a day ahead of the semi-final against Croatia, pubs experienced a 97% increase in engagement. This was in contrast to the actual match day, 11 July, where pubs experienced 24% less engagement.
Despite predictions this would be a tournament watched from home, engagement during the first week of the World Cup rose on average by 31% compared to the pre-World Cup period. Compared to non-match days, the pub set experienced 465 more actions or ‘clicks’ per day through the Group Stages.
As the competition went on, pubs became increasingly aware of more traffic directed their way online. Germany and Brazil matches drove consumer excitement with the final matches played by each team generating up to approximately 6,000 actions across the pub set.
Once knocked out of the World Cup, pubs across England experienced consistently less engagement day by day. On 15 July, the day of the final, engagement dropped by 28% to its pre-World Cup level.
There was also an increase in reviews during the event as customers left 1,550 more reviews per day across the entire pub set when compared with pre-tournament levels. This is equivalent to 49,600 more reviews than an equivalent period before the World Cup.
As England’s approached the semi-finals, there was a boom in consumers sharing their opinions of their experiences at pubs, generating 6,820 more reviews on 10 July with an average review rating of 3.9, lower than the average 4.1 rating given before the World Cup.
Jon Buss, MD UK and Northern Europe at Yext, said: “England fans drove a major boom in online engagement and in-person business to pubs during the World Cup; and then, as quickly as they came, World Cup pub goers were gone after the final and traffic was back to its normal levels.
“England fans performed in-depth online research on where to go to watch matches throughout the tournament, checking key business information – such as opening hours, location and menu items. For businesses to capture opportunities like this, they need to make sure this digital knowledge is up-to-date and correct.”
Buss added: “Reviews are an integral part of the decision-making journey we embark on as consumers. Not only are they vital in fuelling the revenue stream, they can be very useful insight tools, informing the business about which elements of the experience work and which need attention. Having one view, and being able to manage the authenticity of reviews, are the keys publicans need.”