Respondents to the 16th annual IEG/ESP Properties Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey said they spend an average of $2.20 on activating sponsorships for every $1 spent on rights fees.

That ratio is the highest in the survey’s history, surpassing the previous high-water mark of $1.90-to-$1 in 2007.

WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S TYPICAL PROMOTIONAL SPENDING RATIO?
WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S TYPICAL PROMOTIONAL SPENDING RATIO?
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

Half of the survey’s respondents spent two activation dollars or more for every dollar spent on fees, with nearly a quarter of sponsors reporting they spent $4 or more on activating and leveraging for every $1 spent to acquire sponsorship rights.

Top Benefits And Objectives
As a growing number of properties pursue data-driven audience engagement plans—and the potential they bring for personalized marketing—sponsors rated access to audience data as one of the most important benefits their rightsholder partners can offer.

About one-third of sponsors rated the benefit a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale of value, ranking it the seventh most valuable benefit.

HOW VALUABLE ARE THE FOLLOWING BENEFITS TO YOU?
HOW VALUABLE ARE THE FOLLOWING BENEFITS TO YOU?
Percent of respondents who ranked the factor a 9 or a 10 on a 10-point scale, where 10 is extremely valuable
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

As a sponsorship objective, the goal of accessing audience data ranked ninth in importance, with 23 percent of sponsors scoring it a 9 or a 10.

HOW IMPORTANT ARE THESE OBJECTIVES WHEN EVALUATING PROPERTIES?
HOW IMPORTANT ARE THESE OBJECTIVES WHEN EVALUATING PROPERTIES
Percent of respondents who ranked the factor a 9 or a 10 on a 10-point scale, where 10 is extremely important
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

The objective of showcasing community and/or social responsibility, which did not appear among sponsors’ top 10 objectives in last year’s survey, was ranked as the third most important goal in 2016, with 38 percent of sponsors giving it a 9 or 10. Similarly, the objective of entertaining clients and/or prospects rose from the tenth position in the 2015 survey to fifth this year, with a 9 or 10 score from 35 percent of survey respondents.

Perhaps related to the increased importance placed on entertaining business customers was the rise in usage of business-to-business marketing channels. In 2015, only 43 percent of sponsors used B2B channels to leverage their partnerships, a number that rose to 52 percent this year.

WHAT CHANNELS DO YOU USE TO LEVERAGE YOUR SPONSORSHIPS?
WHAT CHANNELS DO YOU USE TO LEVERAGE YOUR SPONSORSHIPS
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

Only two percent of sponsors do not use social media to activate their partnerships, making it the most popular leveraging channel for the third year in a row.

For the first time, the survey asked sponsors which channels they used for sponsorship activation, with Facebook and Twitter coming out on top and Instagram and YouTube also being used by a majority of marketers. Despite the buzz around Snapchat in 2016, only 17 percent of sponsors reported using the messaging app as an activation tool.

WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU USE TO PROMOTE YOUR SPONSORSHIPS?
WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU USE TO PROMOTE YOUR SPONSORSHIPS?
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

Of course, content is king in social media and survey results reflected the continued importance of digital and other content to sponsors. For example, assistance developing relevant content was rated a 9 or a 10 in value of property-provided services by 26 percent of sponsors, making it the fifth most valuable service along with audience research on recognition and recall of partners.

HOW VALUABLE ARE THE FOLLOWING PROPERTY-PROVIDED SERVICES?
HOW VALUABLE ARE THE FOLLOWING PROPERTY-PROVIDED SERVICES
Percent of respondents who ranked the factor a 9 or a 10 on a 10-point scale, where 10 is extremely valuable
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

Signs Point To A Bright 2017
Sponsors were bullish when asked to project sponsorship-related activity in the coming year.

Nearly four out of 10 sponsors said they planned to increase sponsorship spending in 2017—significantly higher than the 28 percent who planned to boost budgets a year ago—while only 12 percent said they would lower spending, a much smaller number than the 23 percent who expected cuts going into 2016.

HOW WILL YOUR 2017 SPONSORSHIP SPENDING COMPARE TO 2016?
HOW WILL YOUR 2017 SPONSORSHIP SPENDING COMPARE TO 2016?
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

In addition, 75 percent of sponsors in this year’s survey said they were considering deals with new property partners for 2017, up from 70 percent of last year’s respondents.

IS YOUR COMPANY CONSIDERING NEW SPONSORSHIPS IN 2017?
IS YOUR COMPANY CONSIDERING NEW SPONSORSHIPS IN 2017?
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

Sponsors considering dropping out of any of their current deals accounted for only 45 percent of total respondents, down two points from 2015.

IS YOUR COMPANY SEEKING TO DROP OUT OF ANY CURRENT SPONSORSHIPS?
IS YOUR COMPANY SEEKING TO DROP OUT OF ANY CURRENT SPONSORSHIPS?
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

Sponsors were not as prepared to increase activation budgets as they were for sponsorship rights fee spending. Fifty-seven percent said they would hold the line on activation spending in 2017, while only 35 percent planned to allocate more for leveraging.

HOW WILL YOUR 2017 LEVERAGING AND ACTIVATION SPENDING COMPARE TO 2016?
HOW WILL YOUR 2017 LEVERAGING AND ACTIVATION SPENDING COMPARE TO 2016?
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

As a portion of overall marketing/advertising/promotion spending, sponsorship claimed 19 percent, according to the survey responses, up one point from 2015.

WHAT PORTION OF YOUR MARKETING BUDGET IS SPENT ON SPONSORSHIP RIGHTS FEES?
WHAT PORTION OF YOUR MARKETING BUDGET IS SPENT ON SPONSORSHIP RIGHTS FEES?
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

In terms of agency relationships, sponsors reported more reliance on sponsorship specialist firms, with 43 percent saying they use that type of agency to support sponsorships, up 10 points from last year’s findings. Conversely, use of a marketing, PR or promotion agency dropped 10 points to 60 percent of respondents, while those who use ad agencies to work on sponsorship declined from 66 percent to 53 percent.

WHICH TYPES OF AGENCIES DO YOU USE TO SUPPORT YOUR SPONSORSHIPS?
WHICH TYPES OF AGENCIES DO YOU USE TO SUPPORT YOUR SPONSORSHIPS?
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

Survey results show some positive movement in the amount sponsors are investing in measurement of their partnerships, with the number spending more than one percent of a sponsorship’s budget on evaluating its return growing from 26 percent in 2015 to 31 percent this year. However, the number of sponsors reporting they spent nothing on measurement also increased, from 23 percent to 27 percent.

WHAT PERCENTAGE OF A SPONSORSHIP’S BUDGET IS SPENT ON MEASURING RETURN?
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF A SPONSORSHIP’S BUDGET IS SPENT ON MEASURING RETURN?
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

It is likely some of those sponsors without a budget for measurement are among the 22 percent of sponsors who said they did not know if their return from sponsorship had increased, decreased or stayed the same.

HAS YOUR ROI INCREASED, DECREASED OR STAYED THE SAME?
HAS YOUR ROI INCREASED, DECREASED OR STAYED THE SAME?
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

HOW VALUABLE ARE THESE METRICS IN EVALUATING SPONSORSHIPS?
HOW VALUABLE ARE THESE METRICS IN EVALUATING SPONSORSHIPS
Percent of respondents who ranked the factor a 4 or a 5 on a 5-point scale, where 5 is extremely valuable
Source: IEG/ESP Properties 2016 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey

The survey was conducted online earlier this month and received 102 responses.