For anyone involved in the organization of some sort of live event, sponsorship is an inevitable topic. Yes, it can be tedious hunting around trying to convince businesses that your venue or event is worth their sponsorship dollars, but the allure of a sizeable sum of upfront payment is hard to ignore. In fact, a third of venues surveyed by Eventbrite rank sponsorship as a “very important” revenue stream, and it’s already a vital way for many venues to protect their businesses and stay in the black.
The good news is, if you run a venue, you’re already in a better position to raise sponsorship revenue than other types of live events like festivals. Venues can offer sponsorship packages lasting for a longer period, include a variety of events all year round, and justify the ROI (return on investment) with consistent data points over time.
Sounds great doesn't it? But exactly how should you go about showing your potential sponsors what they’ll get by trusting you with their money? In this blog, we break down the differences between in-app digital display and in-venue physical signage for you, if you've considered putting them in your sponsorship package.
Even if your venue doesn't have an existing app, bear with us because there's a way around it (also because we can’t recommend this method enough!) If your venue has an app that attendees use to check the schedule or book their tickets, that’s a great place to put in the word (and logo) about your sponsors on screens that all your attendees are bound to see, such as the welcome screen. If your venue can’t afford to have your own app, there are external services with an app component that you can use to both provide your fans with that particular service, and your sponsors with in-app display opportunities.
For example, the FanFood app is built with the intention to help venues secure sponsorships. And that’s why in the version two of the FanFood app, we leave plenty of space for sponsorship display. This way as venues use our platform to offer convenient mobile ordering of concessions to their attendees, they can also offer their sponsors the opportunity to appear on the phone of every attendee who’s placing a FanFood order. And that’s something most sponsors wouldn’t want to pass on — occupying your audiences phone screens and thus their undivided attention for several seconds. No advertising could be more “in-the-face” than that.
Another huge advantage of in-app sponsor display is that you can report back to your sponsor exactly how many people see their message and how much time they spend on looking at them (if you use FanFood, we can generate the data report for you too!) As you probably already know, all sponsors want justification for the money they spend. And if you can tell them exactly, for example, “1829 of people saw your logo for on average 5 seconds. Their average age is 38 and 65% of them are male”, your sponsors will trust you more by sponsoring repeatedly or with a larger amount of spend.
Here’s an example of how comprehensive that report can look like (the numbers are just for illustration and don’t necessarily represent an actual venue). Let’s once again use FanFood as an example. To begin with, we can see how many people have downloaded the app, and when they downloaded it (most likely around when your event begins):
We can also see exactly where these app users are from. This can be very useful data especially for a local business, so that they know whether they are targeting the right audience:
You can see how many users are returning users and compare that percentage across time to understand user retention:
And here's the best part, understanding how much time exactly a user spend looking at your sponsor's logo. You can't get the same data for an in-venue signage (there's no accurate way of measuring how long a person stares at a billboard sign during a game, for example.)
Another great advantage for in-app display is how flexible it could be. If you put up a banner or billboard sign, it's going to be challenging to update that with refreshed message/branding regularly. However, with an in-app display you can experiment with different designs, messaging, promotions, ad copy etc. with no more than a quick edit on the backend. And it will be reflected on the app right away.
Finally, in-app placement helps you to build long-term, sustainable partnership with your sponsors, especially through the loyalty programs in the apps. You can constantly engage with the fans based on how often they use the app and incentivize users with special offers by your sponsors. This way not only do you get more consistent users, but it also directs your app traffic to your sponsors as well. This also means you can personalize the experience for your fan and customize the rewards based on their in-app activities. That's the key to fan engagement and fan loyalty!
This is probably one of the most common elements in a sponsorship package. Be it co-branded banners, posters, bags or seat stickers, these physical products are relatively easy to implement without being too technologically demanding.
At FanFood, we provide venues with co-branded in-venue sponsorship package as well, and our most popular items include banners, bags, tents, posters and seat stickers. This means you can offer your sponsors these co-branded assets as part of your sponsorship package, while FanFood would design, print and ship everything straight to your venue.
While the estimation of how much attention these co-branded assets get at an event, and therefore how much exposure your sponsors get to your audience, can never be as accurate as the digital sponsorship display we discussed above, there're still a few ways to gauge the return on investment for your sponsors.
One way is to estimate the traffic at your venue. How many people attended the events where the co-branded assets were present? How many people came up to the tent / picked up their FanFood orders at the express pickup window? How many bags were given out (assuming at least 10 other people also saw the bag as the fan carried it around)?
A more accurate way to directly measure the effect of in-venue signage could be attaching a special promo code/purchase link to the signage. This is similar to a TV or podcast commercial where viewers or listeners are asked to go to a particular URL for a special offer — besides the discount that the buyers get, it also indicates how many people make the purchase as a result of the commercial.
However, data about how much brand exposure your sponsors get (e.g. how long do people look at their logo and how likely they are to retain that information) is definitely elusive when it comes to in-venue signage. As competition for sponsorship gets increasingly intense, the more accurate your data gets, the more likely you can nail that next sponsor. While we absolutely recommend digital sponsorship display for its comprehensive ROI estimation, flexibility and personalization, a combination of both in-app display and in-venue display would be the most ideal (and guess what, FanFood can provide you with both in a complete sponsorship package!) The more touch-points you get with your audience, the more likely they are to retain the information and the more likely you and your sponsors can achieve your goal — stronger brand awareness and more customers.