We’ve arrived. The social media market has been undergoing a relatively gradual maturation process as brands have began to understand the power of investing in social media and sports. A sponsor is a business seeking advertisement, activation, and eyeballs. Social media, whether on a mobile device or desktop, is now engaging fans and capturing attention and emotion more than ever and more than other media forms. When the brand can insert itself in a non-intrusive, relevant manner with a team’s best social media content, the results can be wins all-around.
Below are just a handful of examples from this past weekend. Marketers have long paid for attentive eyeballs. These brands and teams care capitalizing on that.
Several teams across major pro sports are now inserting sponsors into their social media posts announcing a team win. Associating a sponsor with the emotional high of a win is not only an effective way to reach a buzzed fan, but to further effect positive brand affinities and associations. Several thousands of excited fans will see this Party City post from the Patriots, and that has real value.
Another relevant and organic brand insertion coming from the Patriots’s social media feed is this scoring graphic, which includes a mention of EA Sports Madden 16. These are fans excited about a score, a concentration of the exact audience EA Sports wants to reach, and the repeat positive exposure that advertising is all about.
Every Sunday, even for the sorriest of NFL teams, delivers highlight reel plays. And teams post the best highlights for fans to enjoy and share on social media. A lot of teams are capitalizing on this opportunity to bring in a sponsor while giving fans the content they want and here the Giants do so with the “nrg difference making play.” A higher end brand like this wants to foster brand awareness and positive association between their business and the team. And, of course, reach the eyeballs of any high-level decision-makers celebrating ODB’s latest highlight-reel catch; one embedded in a social media post that will seen by several thousands.
The Detroit Lions have been forward-thinking in selling sponsors on the value of social media reach and activation potential for a while. They delivered (no pun intended) this past weekend, with in-game scoring graphics featuring Hungry Howie’s Pizza. You can see pizza sponsors across pro sports activating special offers via social media the day after team wins, but the Lions are also effectively driving additional value during games. As the fans following high-five over a touchdown, they see Hungry Howie’s and may have their answer for an easy dinner to accompany the Sunday night game. Whenever fans are high-fiving with a sponsor in the peripheral vision on a post sure to travel well, that is a win worth dollars and cents.
I have a soft spot for anytime a sponsor is organically integrated into social media; that is, inserted in a way that stays in line with the native experience for the user. ESPN’s properties on TV and digital, social, and mobile seek to inform fans and infuse their conversations and experiences with fodder for chatter. Fostering provocative discussion among a community of fans is a time-honored tradition of effective social media and sports and ESPN College Football combines that with a sponsor with fantastic flair. Understanding Cooper Tire’s brand messaging about being “dependable,” they found an authentic, native way to include the brand in their fans’ social media experiences. That is a textbook example of good sponsorship presentation with social media content.
Emotional sports fans, highly engaged attentive with their content, in the moment, are highly valued audiences. A lot of their attention is to social and mobile and digital, among the still traditional outlets like TV, and sponsors and teams are catching up. The samples above are just snapshot of the value exchanges happening more and more in this ever-evolving sports ecosystem and fan community. It’s incredible to think where we were ten years ago in this space and where we are now. The fans and attention and emotion have always been there. We’re just now realizing the value in that.