SOURCE: Horizon Media

December 15, 2014 11:04 ET

Horizon Media Study Identifies Specific Live Sport Activations That Result in Highest Levels of Brand Sponsorship Mentions in Social Media

Joint Research Study by Horizon's WHY Group and Scout Sports Marketing and Entertainment Practice Reveals Link Between Brand-Focused Social Media Activity and Likelihood of Product Purchase

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - December 15, 2014) - Horizon Media, the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world, has discovered credible links between social media usage at live events and a consumer's path to purchase for brands. The study was commissioned by the agency's Scout Sports and Entertainment Marketing specialty practice to learn more about effective in-game sports marketing initiatives at the stadium.

Horizon Media's WHY Group utilized its Finger on the Pulse® proprietary online research community and its social listening practice, The Distillery, to investigate the true value of sponsored live-event brand experiences. The study finds that those 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. This data prompted Horizon's WHY Group to uncover what specifically drives fans to post on social media.

The research finds that experience enhancements, such as free Wi-Fi or seat upgrades provided by a brand are singlehandedly the most powerful drivers for consumers to post on social media because those offers personally benefit the fan. Those in-venue perks also result in a higher likelihood of product purchase by the consumer. For those watching live events at home, sponsored ad integrations that connect viewers with exciting 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. Traditional activations such as stadium signage and naming rights have not lost their importance; these traditional strategies remain some of the most effective potential purchase drivers whether people are at the stadium or watching live.

"Nothing parallels the impact of the live sports experience. Untapped potential for brands in this space is staggering," said Sam Mogilner, Director of Business Development at Scout Sports and Entertainment, a division of Horizon Media. "Now more than ever, brands have the opportunity to create deeper relationships with consumers through the use of sports sponsorships. And in the short term, brands can drive social mentions and product purchase by offering targeted experience enhancements." 

At live events, actual posting doesn't necessarily live up to intent. Of 21% of live event attendees who say they are open to posting, only 13% actually do. 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. Study results show to ensure greater value for consumers, activations must be fresh, unique and/or humorous.

"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." 

"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. 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," says Mogilner. 

Horizon's Finger on the Pulse® Survey is the agency's proprietary online research community, comprised of 3,000 people reflective of the general U.S. population. The community empowers the agency to connect directly with consumers, diving beneath the surface of beliefs and behaviors to uncover critical insights. If you would like to learn more about this study please contact Horizon Media.

About Horizon Media
Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world's ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry's leading trade association. 

The company's mission is "To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere." By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $4.7 billion and over 1000 employees.

The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visit horizonmedia.com.

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