Sports sponsors find if you tweet it, you will buy it

(Kevin C. Cox-Getty Images)
(Kevin C. Cox-Getty Images)

Sports sponsors are more likely to convert fans into buyers if persuaded to share brand activations via social media.

Research from Horizon Media, an “independent media services company,” demonstrates that though only 22 percent of all fans would consider purchasing products advertised via in-venue activations, 40 percent of those who would consider posting on social media would also consider becoming buyers.

(Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

The results of this study are hugely important to sponsors. Activation isn’t just about brand recognition and developing business-to-business relationships, it’s about converting spectators into customers. Horizon’s research signifies to sponsors that in order to most effectively convert fans, they need engaging social media campaigns. This also means sponsors and properties need to enable fan access to social media through developments like in-venue WiFi. Paradoxically, that means encouraging fans to pay attention to their handheld screens as much as they do to the games.

Horizon’s poll demonstrates that humorous and trendy activations are more likely to garner social media activity. Contests – seat upgrades, trivia questions, those ubiquitous virtual car races – are also an easy to way encourage fan interaction. And for those fans that aren’t converted into customers, any social media activity generated by activations is free advertising. Essentially, partnership activation via social media is a way for sponsors to outsource their marketing and brand expansion through sports fans.

(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Venues need to get fans to pull out their phones as much as possible: Witness the growing opportunities to have your text displayed on a Jumbotron during pre-game or halftime. However, it’s also important for sponsors to be aware of fans’ limits. Forty percent of those polled by Horizon refused to post activation content out of concern of being marked a spammer by followers. It’s therefore incumbent on sponsors to make their campaigns “share-worthy.”

The simplest way to increase the “shareability” of an activation is through interesting or newsworthy content such as highlight reels and moving promos (think Nike’s “Together” commercial featuring LeBron James).  But sponsors should also look to make content appeal to friends who missed the game. What about a contest based on the number of likes/re-posts a fan gets that involves their friends: If you win, every connection that supported your post gets a piece of the prize.

You can follow Nick on Twitter at @Nick_Zobel.

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