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Reaching European football fans with Facebook in-stream video ads

Technology By: MarketingMay 25, 2021

In this case study we will show you how this UEFA Champions League sponsor reached more than double its forecasted campaign audience with exciting Facebook video ads featuring footballing legends, lifting European brand awareness by up to 4.7 points as a result.

Bringing fans closer to the action

Mastercard is a payment processing network, connecting customers, financial institutions, retailers, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. The UEFA Champions League 2019/20 represented an important moment for generating engagement and increasing brand preference for Mastercard, as one of the tournament's main sponsors.

Driving international brand preference

Mastercard wanted to promote its cross-channel “Priceless” campaign message by offering cardholders the chance to win exciting experiences during the final games of the competition.

Getting noticed with video and branded content

Mastercard and creative agency McCann came up with a campaign strategy to reach its audience across seven European target markets with engaging content in exciting formats. The campaign focused on collaborations with Mastercard’s brand ambassadors, a number of high profile, instantly recognisable footballing legends. They shared their Priceless football memories and built excitement about the UEFA Champions League in carousel and video ads that prompted people to find out more about the prizes they could win.

Mastercard then worked with Facebook Marketing Partner Infectious Media to show the ads to four core audiences based on football interests, football fan engagement behaviours and UEFA Champions League fans, which were overlaid with additional demographic and regional targeting. Because it wanted to reach a larger audience with its video ads, Mastercard selected Facebook’s in-stream video placement option alongside Facebook News feed, Instagram feed and Stories placements.

To amplify the campaign message and increase viewable reach,* Mastercard also used Facebook’s branded content ad option, which makes it easy for content creators and their business partners to collaborate and promote content. In this case, Mastercard turned one brand ambassador’s Instagram post about the “Priceless” campaign into an ad and showed it within the wider campaign.

Mastercard and Infectious Media monitored the campaign’s performance over the two-week period and used Audience Insights to create ads tailored to certain markets during the second week, provided by McCann. Audience Insights also enabled the team to adjust bidding strategies mid-campaign and divert budget to top-performing countries and formats.

Surpassing reach goals

Mastercard’s use of engaging formats, such as branded content, helped it score convincingly with its August 12–23, 2020 campaign. As well as surpassing audience reach targets, Mastercard measured strong awareness results in a brand lift study:


lift in top-of-mind awareness in UK


lift in top-of-mind awareness in Spain


average lift in top-of-mind awareness across all markets


ad engagement rate from in-stream video

more people reached than internal forecasts predicted (source: Integral Ad Science)

''Critical to the success of this campaign was the ability to drive reach at scale while focusing on video-specific creative. In-stream placement was an important tool for achieving the viewable reach that we saw, while using branded content amplified ambassador activity within the central campaign really proved the value of this new way to engage our target audiences.''

Maeva Le Roch, Director of Media, Europe, Mastercard

''The unique formats and ability to bring in organic content through the use of branded content helped to leverage the true power of social advertising through Facebook. Being able to plan and optimise in a central manner allowed this campaign to truly deliver incremental viewable reach beyond expectation.''

Jonathan D’Souza-Rauto, Biddable Product Lead, Infectious Media

The full case study was originally published by Facebook and can be viewed here.

As a Facebook Marketing Partner, Infectious Media is working closely with the platform. Get in touch if you want to find out more.

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