TLDR: Accurate sponsorship monitoring is the only way to be sure that your investment is really paying off. Reliable data is crucial in the process of analysing the key performance indicators in sponsorship monitoring. The only truly effective way to ensure that all data points are being touched on is by using a software that includes an element of computer vision.
Sports sponsorship is a method of boosting brand awareness that has always been popular. But recently, and partially spurred on by the easing of the pandemic, this popularity has surged.
Even without the boost of a world returning to normal, sports sponsorship would still be on the up, simply because it is effective. In a world where we are bombarded with adverts from the moment we awake until the moment we sleep, sports sponsorship offers brands one thing that no other medium can compete with – a captured audience.
The figures tell the story better than words. According to Business Wire, the global sports market is expected to grow to $501 billion in 2022, up from $355 billion in the previous year.
As reported by the New York Times, it is estimated that the average consumer is bombarded with about 5,000 ads per day. Perform a little bit of arithmetic and the figures across a 16hr day show that consumers see about 5 adverts each waking minute of the day.
Compare this to having your brand displayed prominently for the duration of a tennis match, football game, or a motor race. Additionally, clips from sports events will inevitably end up populating social media news feeds, digital channels like YouTube, and digital & traditional press outlets. In essence, sports sponsorship has the potential to reach an ongoing audience of millions.
Perhaps, the most discouraging aspect of sports sponsorship is for brands to try and understand the ROI of their endeavors.
Sports sponsorship can be expensive. At the top-end of the market, brands will pay millions of dollars annually to be associated with a major sporting event or brand. These are not small sums, and understandably, brands who invest such figures want to know that their investment is working.
While an ROI of two to five times the investment is considered a “norm” for investors, sports sponsorship returns can be more than just about the numbers. The metrics that measure the success or otherwise of sports sponsorship are difficult to quantify and even more difficult to measure.
Ultimately investing in sports sponsorship has the aim of promoting a business. The most obvious benefit from this is increased sales or profits, but this isn’t the only metric.
Improved brand identity, impressions, suppressing competition, maintaining market placement, demographics, conversions, and ultimately- sales are a few of the KPIs that businesses need to monitor to gauge the success of sponsorship deals. You can find out more about it in this detailed article regarding the Key Performance Indicators in sports sponsorship.
Measuring the success or otherwise of these is not simple and is also expensive. Unlike digital ads that gather all the analytics that marketing departments could ever need.
The story is very different for sports sponsorship, and in many ways, this could be described as digital v analog. The problem is that to accurately measure ROI, reliable data sources are required. Digital platforms and digital ads provide these in abundance, with every click and conversion counted in real-time. Much of the performance data from sports sponsorship does not have such reliable data sources.
Until recently, monitoring sponsorship value analysis relied heavily on two flawed approaches:
Understanding the value of sports sponsorship is critical for organizations that invest millions of dollars, yet it has been traditionally underfunded* and is based on outdated, inaccurate, and slow measurements. (* Surprisingly, on average, less than 2% of a sponsorship budget is put aside to monitor its results and performance)
The key takeaway is that accurate sponsorship monitoring data delivered in a timely manner is critical if the true value of sports sponsorship is to be monitored.
Sports sponsorship could be likened to a jigsaw. The completed picture can be stunning, but remove a piece, and the flaws are immediately apparent. The missing piece, in this case, is the lack of reliable data for monitoring the value of a sports sponsorship arrangement.
However, complete the jigsaw with the missing piece, and suddenly the whole picture is clear. Accurate and reliable sponsorship data that is delivered within a relevant timescale is critical for assessing the value and viability of any sports sponsorship deal, and the main benefits it brings to the table are described below:
With millions of dollars at stake, understanding how any sports sponsorship deal performs is beyond essential. Having reliable data available shows whether the desired message is reaching the desired audience. It can also throw up surprises like unexpected interest from a disregarded demographic. This can allow organizations to adjust their marketing strategy to focus on previously overlooked market sectors.
But ultimately, understanding whether the campaign is providing ample “bang for the buck” is the main reason that accurate sponsorship data is critical.
Honing an organization’s marketing budget to maximize its effect is a key strategy for any business. To understand where to allocate more or less funds, a business needs to understand which campaigns are working and which aren’t. This is impossible without reliable data.
Data can help identify strong and weak points in existing marketing strategies and allows marketing departments to target their budgets more precisely. Additionally, understanding the performance of sponsorship campaigns has budget implications when negotiating future sponsorship deals, as discussed below.
Negotiating sports sponsorship deals without accurate data can be a hit-and-miss affair, often based on flawed data that is supplied by the sponsorship partners. Understandably, they have a vested interest in putting as positive a spin as possible on the available data.
However, arrive at the negotiating table armed with a complete set of reliable stats from past contracts, and a more realistic sum based on real-world figures can be negotiated.
Reliable data doesn’t only mean negotiations with partners can be undertaken from a position of strength. It also helps when justifying proposed deals to management.
As noted earlier, digital advertising has one big bonus in its corner, instantly available data for each customer click and an accurate record of the customer journey. For sports sponsorship, gathering such detailed data is a different ball game.
But digital advertising is the metric it needs to be compared with if it wants to maintain such strong growth. This means data needs to be available that is:
Accuracy is everything if actions taken as a result of gathered data are to be successful. Inaccurate performance data that paints a false picture of results can lead to underperforming campaigns being renewed and vice-versa.
In essence, inaccurate data can cost companies millions of dollars in wasted spending.
Currently, it is not uncommon for sponsors to receive all the relevant data at the end of a sponsorship deal or season. For the sponsor, this means that underperforming campaigns are not recognized until the damage is done.
Digital campaigns can react in real-time and tweak campaigns to improve performance on a daily or even hourly basis. This ability to react in real-time is something that companies that invest millions of dollars in sponsorship are now demanding.
Understanding the audience that a sponsorship deal attracts can be key to its success. Data needs to reflect this need. The ability to segment data to reflect the demographics that a sponsorship deal is targeting is a critical aspect of a successful sports sponsorship arrangement.
This is instantly available with digital advertising but is only just becoming achievable with sports sponsorship.
Sports sponsorship existed long before the advent of the digital age. In many ways, this has been something of an Achilles heel. A blend of embedded reliance on the “old ways” of doing things and the outright difficulty of acquiring accurate and timely data have conspired to keep the ROI of sports sponsorship as a game of “best guess” and flawed customer surveys.
However, recent developments in AI that utilize computer vision have changed the game completely. Computer vision can fulfil the task of marking up impressions in real-time. This task was previously undertaken by humans and was both costly and slow.
The latest generation of computer vision technology effectively does the same process but at computer speeds. Visual-AI can deliver stunning datasets that are based on the instant analysis of video content at a full frame rate.
For the first time, the metrics of sports sponsorship can be measured accurately and timeously. This is a major step forward for the companies that invest a large part of their marketing budget in this field. And while it may still lag slightly in certain aspects of the data it provides, it can deliver complete and comprehensive insights that were never before available at a reasonable cost and in a decent time frame.
Using cutting-edge technology and innovative solutions, VISUA operates at the very forefront of bringing the way sports sponsorship is valued into the 21st Century. Our platform can bring the depth of data normally only available in digital mediums to the field of sports sponsorship. You can find out more about how we are helping companies to reassess and understand the value of their sponsorship deals in this press release.
If you want to find out more about the technology driving this seismic shift or if you have any inquiries about our product, please fill in the form below.Book A Demo
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