Athletes' Endorsements A Hit For Online Advertisers

Wheaties boxCelebrity endorsements are as old as advertising itself, and a new study conducted by Insight Express finds that the practice has remained relevant in an increasingly digital world.

Indeed, when banner ads featuring video and still images of pro athletes were tested against the same ads with no endorsement, the study found a 180% increase in unaided brand awareness, along with a 56% improvement in message association, where participants correctly absorbed the attributes of tested products and services.

The study, conducted on behalf of Brand Affinity Technologies--which is itself in the business of matching mostly pro athletes with online advertisers--indicated that online endorsements perform strongly on both branding and direct-response levels.

"Across all channels, it's obvious that targeted endorsements naturally register with consumers," said Allie Savarino, vice president of marketing at Brand Affinity Technologies.



In addition, the study found a 39% improvement in brand favorability and a 27% increase in purchase intent.

Launched in beta late last year, BAT has already assembled a network of about 1,400 pro athletes available to advertisers for far less than typical celebrity endorsers.

"Endorsement marketing has traditionally been more gut instinct than science," said Savarino. "Our data-supported method removes much of the risk and guesswork involved."

Clients include Web-based ticket seller StubHub, which works with BAT to run display ads for local events, and LegalZoom.

According to BAT, campaigns with pro athlete endorsers are delivering 13.5 times average conversion rates and 3.5 times average click-through rates.

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