Whether you are sponsoring the US Open or a Nascar team, creating value for sponsorships has always been about ROI - Return on Investment. However, maximizing efficiency means getting the best overall return possible. This requires regular reevaluation and recalibration. If you are only evaluating your investments at the end of the season then you are not getting the best ROI. There is time to fix it if something isn't working. There's also an opportunity to increase investment if a sponsorship is working.
Ensuring your sports sponsorships are successful means tracking your goals against outcomes during the sponsorship itself. This post will examine meaningful key performance indicators ("KPIs") for sports sponsorships, the importance of tracking them, and how to leverage a quality data provider to align with your goals.
Big Dividends from In-Season Sponsorship Tracking
The importance of tracking during the season cannot be understated. It's how you'll know whether what you're doing is not only working but if it could be improved. If something isn't working there is time to fix it, or better yet adjust your sponsorship levels so that you are investing exactly where the value is being created. If something is working there is a chance to increase investment which will lead to even more success creating an even bigger impact for your business down the road. This feedback loop gives brands the opportunity to go into negotiations with both eyes wide open and set themselves up for long-term partnerships that stay happy and productive over time.
Setting KPIs Before a Sponsorship Begins
There are some basic things to consider when choosing KPIs for your sports sponsorships. The most important thing is to understand what you want at the end of the season so that you know where to focus on maximizing efficiency. These goals may include awareness, favorability, intent to purchase, actions taken upon carrying your brand message (wearing gear or passing on information), and conversions or sales.
Why KPIs are Important
Clear KPIs allow brands to understand whether or not things are working for their business, any changes they might need to make in order to get better results, and what the future may hold if they continue along this path. Being proactive makes it much easier to stay ahead of the curve rather than having to play catch up which means more efficiency all around.
Having clear benchmarks that can be used to report on performance makes it much easier for brands to understand how their investment is panning out over time. This means knowing exactly what success looks like and making sure that metrics are regularly updated so you can keep an eye on how your sponsorship is performing.
Common Sponsorship KPIs
Awareness, favorability, and intent to purchase are always safe bets but if a brand is looking for a little more impact they might choose from additional KPIs like social media impressions or earned media coverage. These metrics all work together to paint a picture of what success looks like and give brands a clear idea of what an ideal relationship would look like with their chosen team/league/event.
The most common sports sponsorship KPIs include:
- Sponsor Media Value
- 100% Media Value
- Broadcast Impressions
- Streaming Impressions
- Site visits
- Earned media impressions
- Attendance (by event and total)
Duration of KPI Management
The most important thing is that your brand continues to be perceived positively and that awareness of your sponsorship is maintained over time. This usually means having a mix of short, medium, and long-term metrics so that you can properly understand what is happening now, why it's happening, and how much impact everything has moving forward.
Continuous Improvements Through KPIs
Monitoring KPIs continuously allows brands to make better decisions. More information in a situation is always good. Having context for that information - the role of the KPIs - is even better. If something isn't working out as expected it gives the brand an opportunity to fix things or course-correct. Knowing exactly what's going on under your watch allows for better optimizations which lead to higher ROI. Tracking KPIs is about being proactive rather than reactive. Being able to anticipate problems before they become even more problematic is always the best course of action.
Quality metrics are an absolute necessity because of how crowded the media landscape has become. Not only can KPIs help monitor strong performance but they are also integral to identifying whether or not something is working, creating benchmarks for future success, and being able to track value over time. This helps keep relationships happy and productive long term. The importance of having a good understanding of what you want at the end of your sponsorship cannot be understated. It helps set up deals and negotiations for success and gives brands a chance to maximize efficiency making for long-term partnerships that stay happy and healthy over time.
Other Key Considerations on Sports Sponsorship Tracking
The most important things to track in the long-term are whether or not your brand is still being perceived positively by fans, if awareness of your sponsorship is high, and if people are still interested in taking part in actions related to what you're trying to accomplish. If these factors begin dipping then it may be time for some midcourse corrections but given enough time they will all rebound which makes performance tracking data invaluable when doing business with sports organizations over time.
Do Not Get Distracted By Metrics That Don't Really Matter
Although it may sound counterintuitive, striving for perfection is not the goal when it comes to sports sponsorship data. You want to make sure you are collecting enough information to effectively measure your ROI. So while having accurate and detailed data is important, if you get caught up in chasing after metrics that don't mean anything then you could end up wasting time and money. Every metric you track should show an impact (or lack thereof) on your key KPIs. Focus on tracking what matters.
The Role of Data in Tracking Sponsorship KPIs
You cannot track your KPIs without a quality source of data. To track KPIs during the duration of a sponsorship you need regular data updates. Unfortunately, many existing data sets provided by teams and partners do not align with these needs.
In some cases, the data you receive during a sponsorship comes from a partner or even the team itself. Often, this data aligns with their KPIs, not yours. While it is in everyone's best interest to be aligned during a sports sponsorship, data accuracy and integrity can be a challenge. Sometimes the data does not come regularly. Sometimes it is only available at the end of the season or sponsorship.
Consider a sports intelligence platform like Relo Metrics. Relo provides near real-time analytics and data that help teams and brands alike. These data sets deliver the ability for all parties to be on the same page and recognize the most potential value from the sponsorship.
The Impact of Real-Time Performance Evaluation
Having a pulse on performance means making sure every continued investment is worthwhile. This gives your brand the best chance possible at achieving success. It's about doing proper research before entering into new deals and understanding why certain things work over others. This maximizes the chances for long-term wins by tracking KPIs. Quality metrics are an absolute necessity because of how crowded the media landscape has become.
KPIs do more than help monitor strong performance. They are also integral to identifying whether or not something is working, creating benchmarks for future success, and being able to track value over time. This helps keep relationships happy and productive long term. The importance of having a good understanding of what you want at the end of your sponsorship cannot be understated as it helps set up deals and negotiations for success and gives brands a chance to maximize efficiency making for long-term partnerships that stay happy and healthy over time. To learn more about how data can inform better decisions in sports sponsorships, read our insight here.