For brands, more in-person events in 2022 means more lucrative opportunities for corporate sponsorships and partnerships. Major sporting and entertainment events like the Olympics, Super Bowl, recent GRAMMY Awards, or upcoming UEFA Champions League provide unique opportunities for brands to increase awareness, reach new audiences, and improve their public image. But proving the ROI of these investments is an age old problem. “We weren’t able to get a true idea of our earned reach which made it difficult to prove the value to stakeholders and understand where we should make adjustments to future sponsorships and activations” said one Synthesio client. As more consumers turn to social platforms to engage with events (like live Tweeting, resharing pictures of celebrity appearances on Instagram, or reacting with peers in subreddits), social listening helps brands determine the real value of their investments by:

1. Providing a more complete picture of reach and engagement

As mentioned in our recent blog, text analytics aren’t enough to get the full picture of brand mentions; advanced image analytics capabilities like logo recognition provide critical visual insights and unlock previously “invisible” data. Plus, BI-style reporting allows marketers to easily track and share event-related metrics with other stakeholders. 

In 2021, one global financial services company and Synthesio client used logo recognition to assess the earned reach of their logo in coverage and discussions surrounding a major award show. During the campaign, the Synthesio platform captured all appearances of their logo on social media – even when partially obscured or captured in poor lighting thanks to machine learning algorithms. By adding logo recognition to their standard text analysis, they uncovered 40x more coverage than they were able to capture in previous events – totaling 400m impressions they would have otherwise missed. With a larger, more comprehensive dataset, then then applied AI analysis to find critical insights about their sponsorship like overall engagement, earned media value, top influencers, and most engaging channels. 

Figure 1 Synthesio’s image analytics technology uses state-of-the-art deep learning object detection models to spot brand logos, making your insights more complete and accurate

2. Benchmarking against past events and competitors

Social listening can track competitors’ owned and earned reach and create a central hub for tracking key campaign and sponsorship KPIs. By comparing the ROI of sponsored events and understanding how they stack up against competitors, brands can make better, faster decisions about how and where to allocate their sponsorship budget. 

Another Synthesio client, a major enterprise software company, recently announced its partnership with a world-renowned sports team. To kick off the partnership, they launched a marketing campaign surrounding a global sporting event. The team tracked all mentions related to the brand, event, and other sponsors – and analyzed owned and earned media across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. to measure campaign performance and impact. Synthesio’s analytics allowed them to quantify total volume of conversations, engagement, positive and negative sentiment, top earned influencers, and other KPIs. In this case, social insights revealed that this campaign garnered higher reach and engagement than their previous one – but they weren’t the most talked about sponsor: one competitor generated nearly 3x the number of mentions in the weeks surrounding the event. By analyzing thousands of online conversations, they were able to identify key takeaways from both their own performance and competitors’ about which content, channels, and approaches work best. 

Figure 2 Pre-templated and customizable data visualizations allow you to compare against competitors and previous campaigns – and deep dive on channel or content performance   

3. Giving a more nuanced view of consumers’ perception and emotional response to sponsorship campaigns

Hard metrics about volume, reach, and engagement are useful for proving the ROI of sponsorships, but identifying the drivers of success (and getting actionable insights about what to improve next time) requires a deeper understanding of how consumers respond to a campaign, i.e. what they like and dislike, how it impacts their brand associations, who influenced their thinking, etc. Today’s advanced AI capabilities like sentiment and semantic analysis and even Topic Modeling allow brands to tune into critical context about why sponsorships are successful – or not. 

In the case of the enterprise software company, traditional social listening KPIs didn’t tell the full story. Though competitor brands generated more conversation volume surrounding the event, they scored the highest percentage of positive sentiment. Tweets and Facebook comments revealed that consumers praised the campaign’s social responsibility messaging, appreciated the use of humor, and loved the celebrity cameo. Comments associated with negative sentiment showed that some consumers questioned the authenticity of the campaign and were confused about its purpose. For the client, these types of insights are already evolving into new opportunities and helping redesign how sponsorships are activated: “the quality of data, depth of analysis that’s possible, and customization of the tools lets us look at exactly what we want to see, feeling the pulse of the audience in real-time.” 

For marketers and brand health pros – and agency partners who design and activate campaigns – maximizing the ROI of sponsorships means tapping into digital channels to get the full picture of your impact. To learn more about how Synthesio’s SaaS platform can help you make data-driven decisions, request a demo with our team here. 

Thank you to Paul North, Head of Social and Content at Big Group for contributing to this blog post.