Digitally Activated: Sports Centered

A Look at Online Sports Activations

Sponsored Facebook Posts: Good or Bad Idea?

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Is there a reason not to have sponsored posts on your Fan Page? Is Facebook the holy sanctum of fandom that cannot be commercialized by sports properties?  Of course not.

A recent report from ComScore estimates that Facebook accounts for 23% of all ad impressions on the Internet. This statistic underscores the reality that users are not impervious, nor opposed, to advertising on Facebook.  The bombardment of advertising which users are exposed to on the platform necessitates that properties incorporate their partners in original content which enhances the user’s experience.

I argued this point in a recent meeting, but was unable to convince a majority of my colleagues to agree with me.  They wanted to see proof that is was a viable option, so I offered to look at the Fan Pages of some of the leading properties on Facebook.  Their pages were to serve as our moral compass.

I visited on February 16th and selected 10 of the top 20 sports properties on Facebook.  I proceeded to categorize all of their post from Feb. 1-16 into five categories: promotional, videos, photos, sponsored content and social outreach.  In all, 695 posts were reviewed.  The results can be seen in the table below.

A few quick notes regarding the table:

  • The Promotional category served as a catchall for posts which contained  links to articles (even if the post included a picture), poll questions, ticket/apparel discounts, or asked for user feedback
  • The Boston Celtics did a great job of driving traffic back to their “Keys to the Game presented by Ford” section with a video link
  • The best integration of a sponsor into a post was the Los Angeles Lakers’ Injury Report presented by the UCLA Medical Center
  • Post which included open-ended questions were the most commented and liked posts [ex from Man U’s page: Was Wayne Rooney’s goal against City last Saturday “the best goal ever scored at Old Trafford”? Check it out again and tell us what you think. We’d love to hear your thoughts! (47,382 Likes and 9,670 Comments) – yes, the goal and topic are extreme motivating factors, but the post itself is a great example of how to generate user involvement]
  • If you are a property – share as many videos as you can produce, and as many fan submitted photos as possible; we like to see out teams dominating/having fun, and we love to see ourselves embracing our fandom
  • If you work for the Cowboys or Yankees – please get someone to turn off the RSS feed; unquestionably, the two most boring pages in the history of Facebook.

My research revealed that less than 1% of posts from these properties were branded with a sponsor’s image; however, this should not preclude future sponsor integration.

Facebook is a community. Facebook is an entertainment channel. Facebook connects fans with their teams.  Properties should use these statements as guidelines for the integration of sponsors into their posts.  The guidelines will drive properties to connect partners with their fans in a meaningful way that improves their fans experience on the Internet.  In doing so, they will be uplifting the partner’s brand image.

The cost of a sponsored post? How good is your account executive?


Written by Peter Amador

February 27, 2011 at 9:46 PM

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