NEW YORK: Social media and “advanced technologies” play increasingly important support roles in brands’ sponsorship activities, new research has shown.

A survey by the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) garnered responses from 119 corporate members and found that most US marketers (85%) were using social media to support sponsorships before, during, and after the sponsorship.

Additionally, almost half (44%) employed a range of “advanced technologies” – such as 360-degree photography, beacons, virtual reality, and RFID (radio-frequency identification) – as support for their sponsorship activations.

And the primary reasons for using these channels and techniques were the same: to generate awareness; to connect with customers during an event; and to improve brand perception.

“Sponsorships are becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing mix, and with good reason,” said Bob Liodice, chief executive officer at the ANA.

“Giving those activities a boost via the aggressive use of social media and other new technologies makes sense because of the ROI it provides.”

The majority of that effort is devoted to sporting events which dominate sponsorship spending in North America – accounting for around 70% of an estimated total of $23bn this year.

Facebook (92%), Twitter (87%) and Instagram (70%) emerged as the most widely used social media platforms in the survey.

Other platforms were used by less than half of respondents, including YouTube (47%), LinkedIn (41% percent), Facebook Live (27%), Snapchat (27%) and Pinterest (13%).

The study further noted that internal resources are most often used for the management of social media and/or advanced technologies in supporting a brand’s sponsorship activations.

In terms of measuring the effectiveness of social media activity, the amount of exposure generated was the top choice by a wide margin,

When measuring the effectiveness of the use of advanced technologies, on-site activity tracked at the sponsorship event and the amount of social media exposure generated were the two top choices.

Data sourced from ANA; additional content by WARC staff