How to Amplify Sporting Sponsorships With Social Media

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As the Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, and March Madness quickly approach, tens of millions of people will be glued to their screens, passionately cheering on their favorite player, team, or home country. Other than the exuberant excitement that these events cause, sporting events all have something in common — their unparalleled viewership.

In decades past, brands positioned themselves as leaders by purchasing TV spots during popular sporting events. However, as the cord-cutting phenomenon continues into 2018, the most disruptive change to advertising to date has been the way users consume television content. For example, 2016 was the first year that digital ad spend beat TV spend. This significant change in the advertising landscape forced brands to innovate their traditional methods to achieve digital brand recognition.

As the impact of digital marketing on consumers continues to grow, brands have begun to realize that their sponsorship investments are producing diminishing returns. While there is no doubt that sporting events will continue to drive high viewership, brands need to now more than ever strategically integrate sponsorship deals with their digital campaigns to deepen the effectiveness.

To achieve this omni-channel marketing approach, our team at Adaptly worked with a major financial services company to amplify an official NFL sponsorship through social media advertising. Adaptly brought the brand’s storytelling to life by breaking down the walls between sponsor and consumer, delivering the brand message to the right audience at the right time.

Through Adaptly’s partnerships with Facebook and Twitter, our team drove results for the financial service brand’s real business objective: increasing brand awareness by driving video views. During the 17-week NFL season, we deployed social campaigns to coincide with game days and times. This strategic pulsing strategy revealed the true power of social – the ability to track and analyze 60 million video views and engagements generated throughout the season. Measuring the impact allowed the brand to analyze every dollar spent, extending brand recognition to millions that a traditional sponsorship would not have reached.

The strategy across Facebook and Twitter took two forms: proactive and reactive. On Twitter, we closely monitored weekly conversations to keep the brand front-of-mind and engaged in any NFL-related conversations. By implementing keywords to suppress bad sentiment, we ensured that our client avoided association with any negative post-game conversations. This strategy produced efficient results, generating over 35 million video views with a cost per view (CPV) of $0.01.

To proactively strengthen the brand’s digital presence, we focused on their pre-existing influencer relationships on Facebook. With the influx of interest in social influencers, advertisers have several new ways to incorporate sponsorships into their overall marketing strategy. Together with the brand, we decided to defy financial services industry norms, bringing influencer marketing to the forefront of their Facebook strategy.

The Adaptly team worked closely with the brand to launch the influencer campaign with a two-phase approach during the 2017 NFL playoffs. To generate excitement, we first launched a teaser campaign to promote the influencer post in which the brand was tagged. This teaser ad format quickly sparked conversations and captured nearly 2 million engagements. To maintain interest, we launched the branded content campaign shortly after the teaser. This 7-day campaign served over 30 million impressions across Facebook and Twitter, with a historically low CPV of $0.01. Based on the interest in influencer posts on Facebook, Adaptly was able to prove the value of influencer advertising strategies while positioning the brand as an innovative leader in the financial services space.

Even though we are living in the digital age and the way that users consume TV has evolved, it is still evident that live sporting events will continue to drive high viewership. However, it’s clear that a simple product or logo placement will no longer deliver brand recognition. To succeed in 2018, it is vital that brands step beyond stadium walls, innovate their sponsorship strategies, and bring conversations from the field to consumers’ hands via social advertising.