A change of tactics for Visa this World Cup

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Credit card firm Visa says it changed its advertising strategy in the run up to the Brazil World Cup, allocating more funds to social media.

"We have spent a similar amount of money compared with the last World Cup, but the spending is very different," Antonio Lucio, chief brand officer at Visa, told CNBC from Sao Paulo where the first World Cup game kicks off later on Thursday.

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"We are shifting a significant amount of money into the digital and social media space versus the last World Cup," he added, declining to say how much Visa is spending on advertising.

The World Cup in Brazil is expected to see record-breaking digital and social media activity, and hence global brands have turned their focus to this area compared with more traditional media sectors such as television and radio.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In another sign of that trend, sports firm Adidas said it opted to spend more on digital marketing than TV ads for the Brazil World Cup, according to a report in Britain's Guardian newspaper.

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Micro-blogging website Twitter meanwhile said there have already been more posts about the World Cup before a ball has been kicked in the closely-followed tournament compared with the entire World Cup held in South Africa four years ago.

"It is a very good investment and it is a very important investment to showcase our credentials and to leverage it through our clients, our banks and merchants," Lucio said, referring to Visa's World Cup advertising spending.