Social Media Marketing Blog

3 ways Social Sponsorship differs from Traditional Sponsorships

In previous posts, we have discussed Social Sponsorship and how it can add value to audiences, brands and media. Since then, we have received numerous questions about how this type of sponsorship contrasts with the old school types and what pros and cons each might have so we decided to write about this in more depth.

1- Experiential vs. Static

Perhaps the biggest difference between both types of sponsorship is the following:

  • Social Sponsorship is experiential: It focuses on powering experiences that engage audiences and bring them closer to the properties they love.
  • Traditional Sponsorship is static: It focuses on exposing brands in different properties for audiences to make the association between said brand and property or simply to raise awareness.

There is a conceptual difference between how these two types of sponsorships are tied to properties - by properties we mean sports clubs, events or Media properties -. Traditional Sponsorship consists in adding a logo or another brand placement within the property to expose it to it’s audience.

By contrast, Social Sponsorship aims to add a new layer for audiences to interact with the property in a novel way. It creates a new experience within the property’s universe in which audiences can engage. For example, TIM in Brasil payed Masterfchef to be the enabler for Social Voting amongst other things. (You can read more about it in the Case Study)


2- Value distribution and creation

In the traditional sponsorship model, the value distribution is very straightforward (in theory at least): Sponsor gains exposure in a great property for which said property receives money. This is perfectly fine and will in many cases result in a win-win situation.

Social Sponsorship still involves A paying B, but there is a new actor that takes play: The Audience. This type of sponsorship is all about creating and “powering” new exciting interactions for audience members to engage with the property, adding value to their own experiences. So, we’ve already created more value for audience members which can positively impact their perception not only of the property but also of the sponsor.

But there is more:

The core of social sponsorship is the fact that audiences can use social media to interact. This amplifies the reach of both sponsor and property to your audience’s friends and following. If you pair this with the fact that 83% of people trust friend recommendations (Nielsen 2015) you can see just how ROI can be increased for all involved.

3- How to measure results

Traditional Sponsorship results have usually been tied to awareness and branding. How effective a particular action is may be more tied to how cheap/expensive it was to expose the brand to a particular demographic, and how well/bad that property did. For example, even without the actual numbers, it’s fairly easy to come to the conclusion that every single brand Leicester City Football Club approached before the season started, and rejected sponsoring the club missed a huge opportunity. (For all of those who don’t know, Leicester City is the current champion of the Premier League and before the season started betting houses gave them a 1 in 5000 chance to win. For contrast, finding the Loch Ness monster this year as 1 in 500). Even if they had sponsored the club, understanding the impact would have been near impossible without paying a research firm.

Social Sponsorship has a big advantage over traditional sponsorship in this regard: It is a lot easier to understand who, when and where was exposed to and/or created sponsored content. While it is true that there are still some things that cannot and will not be measurable (specially when we are talking about extended reach of posts) it is undeniably easier to measure it than traditional sponsorships.