Experience enhancements, such as free Wi-Fi or seat upgrades provided by a brand, are singlehandedly the most powerful drivers for spectators to post on social media because those offers personally benefit the fan. That’s according to research from Horizon Media’s Why Group which examined the value of sponsored live-event brand experiences.
The research found that fans that are open to posting on social media about the events they attend are twice as likely as non-posting spectators to consider purchasing a product from the event sponsor.
"There is a value exchange that marketers need to incorporate into marketing plans,” said Sheri Roder, Chief of the Why Group at Horizon Media. “It’s no secret that people aren’t going to post to promote a brand unless they feel that what they’ll get in terms of their own social standing will outweigh what they’re doing for your brand. And it better be good. Make it worth their time and you’re much more likely to get a responsive and active audience.”
People respond differently depending on whether they are live or watching the event on TV. In-venue perks that benefit the fan, such as wi-fi, are most likely to result in a higher likelihood of product purchase by the consumer.
For those watching live sporting events at home, sponsored ad integrations that connect viewers with in-game moments, such as half-time reports, replays, or time-outs, are also strong drivers for consumer posts on social media and purchase consideration.
There's also opportunity for brands to reach both groups. Traditional activations, such as stadium signage and naming rights, remain some of the most effective potential purchase drivers because they appeal to people both at the stadium and watching live.
Still, there is a disconnect between what people say and what they actually do. Of 21% of live event attendees who say they are open to posting, only 13% actually do. Nonetheless, Horizon says this gap in intent and action is where great opportunities lie for marketers: 40% of live event attendees claim that they don’t post content because they worry about spamming their social media network, and 50% say they are too selective about what they post to discuss activations on their networks.
Therefore, brand activations need to be fresh, unique, or humorous in order to ensure greater value for fans, the research concludes.
“Now that we understand the real social value of specific in-game activations, we can be even more strategic about what elements to leverage to ensure the greatest participation possible," says Sam Mogilner, Director of Business Development at Scout Sports and Entertainment, a division of Horizon Media. "Because the greater the social conversation, the greater the chance that a consumer will buy that brand. And this will be a key element as we continue to drive the ROI of our brands’ sponsorships.”