- Social media is an increasingly key element to supporting brand sponsorships, according to a study by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) made available to Marketing Dive. Eighty-five percent of marketers reported they use social media for that purpose.
- The study also found that 44% of marketers are turning to emerging technologies like 360-degree photography, beacons, virtual reality and RFID (radio-frequency identification) to support sponsorships.
- Both social media and advanced technologies are used to generate awareness, connect with customers before, during and after the sponsorship, and to improve brand perception. The ANA cited estimates that sponsorship spending will hit $23 billion this year.
Sponsorships might be an age-old piece of marketing, but the ANA study illustrates how the tactic is evolving with digital channels and cutting-edge, mobile-first technologies. Part of this is likely spurred by the meteoric rise of social media influencers, who often have large and loyal audiences that adhere to brand recommendations shared by who they follow online.
"Sponsorships are becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing mix, and with good reason," ANA CEO Bob Liodice said in a statement. "Giving those activities a boost via the aggressive use of social media and other new technologies makes sense because of the ROI it provides."
Marketers' preferred social media channels used to activate sponsorships were Facebook at 92%, Twitter at 87%, Instagram at 70% and YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook Live, Snapchat and Pinterest all at less than 50%. The study found that the amount of social media exposure generated was the top choice by marketers looking to measure the effectiveness of a brand's sponsorship, underscoring the key role these platforms play. Sports accounted for about 70% of all sponsorship spending, followed by entertainment at 10%, the ANA found.