The 2018 World Cup Digital Battle Pt.4:The England Bid

Part 4 of a 4 part series

The England bid

After focusing on the Iberian, Holland Belgium and Russian bids we now complete the series by looking at the England bid and what it does digitally.

England, which last hosted a major football tournament in 1996 (and previously hosted the World Cup in 1966),  has a highly interactive bid site and has a large volume of supporters and followers. For these reasons we would argue that it is the best bid site we have looked at.

The official site has much of what we have seen elsewhere. It has comprehensive content, latest news and videos and again the countdown clock. The top banner also rotates in colour.

However, the England bid site differentiates itself from the others we have seen by the way it knows its audience (the global football fan) and allows the reader to get involved – and in so many ways.  Much of the interactivity is also featured on the home page so no need to click elsewhere. The site can be translated into 12 languages which is a good touch given that the World Cup is a massive global tournament. One of the slogans of the bid is ‘England United The World Invited’.

The reader is encouraged to back the bid by clicking in the top left part of the home page. So far a staggering 2.2 million people have done this (even some Scottish fans!). On clicking you are directed to another screen where you can register your details and leave a message of support. Such messages are constantly streamed onto the home page.

England United The World Invited

The site also points you to an interactive section which details English Football’s Global Impact. This section plays a video and features an interactive map which ‘highlights some of the work undertaken by the English FA, Premier League, clubs, government agencies and other partners over the last decade’.

The site also has a photo album of many supporters and ambassadors of the bid (in the Our Supporters section), including Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and Simon Cowell of X Factor fame.

This site, like the others, also has a downloads section. The array of downloads offered to the reader is impressive. The site states that it has ‘created a whole host of ways for you to ‘Back the Bid’, show your support and interact ’. By offering everything from iphone applications to twitter backgrounds and screensavers the bid site has probably achieved that aim.

The site also makes good use of social media and earlier this week England 2018 launched the second phase of its digital campaign, created by Engine’s Jam. Football fans on Facebook are being targeting through a peer-to-peer recruitment drive. This facebook campaign has attracted over 300,000 from 170 countries (the largest number we have seen by any European bid. The facebook page is consistent with the website by offering photos, videos, supporter apps and further ways to follow the bid.

The England bid, like the others, can also be followed on YouTube (where there are 300+ subscribers), flickr and twitter. The homepage also has a News RSS feed and there is also a button to grab an app for your browser. The official twitter page provides regular updates – official and otherwise – and there appears to be a lot of interaction with twitter users. There have been over 600 tweets so far and there are presently 6,401 followers. In a great touch, the homepage has a live stream of the latest tweet.

This concludes our series. We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on the 4 bids. In the days leading up to the announcement of the successful bid next Thursday, December 2nd, we shall invite you to take part in a poll to vote for the best 2018 bid in digital terms.