What is a Sponsorship?
These are commonly used when sections of websites will receive extra traffic during an event (such as the Tennis section on a sports site during Wimbledon). They are also often used as Homepage Takeovers.
To distinguish a sponsorship from a simple roadblock a reskin is also often included. (A roadblock is when all the ads on one page are used by one advertiser)
In offline marketing, a sponsorship is where an advertiser pays to have its name placed on all materials to do with an event or institution. It is primarily a branding exercise and can be looked on very favourably. For example, when an advertiser pays for a charity event, everyone knows that the advertiser has reduced the cost burden for the charity, and is making life better for both the charity and attendees of the event.
This sort of marketing often requires very little from the advertiser. They just want their logo placed noticeably (and a thank you is always nice). The benefit to the advertiser is often a tangible boost to their reputation.
In online advertising, a sponsorship is often less subtle. Many sites consider selling all the ads on one page as a sponsorship. This is however not really a co-branding exercise at all. It, therefore, has none of the advantages of a sponsorship deal.
This is why a reskin and/or company logo is often included in a sponsorship deal. Sometimes it is actually used instead of simply selling all the ads on one page to a single advertiser. Reskinning a websites logo itself is also a common way of differentiating this type of advertising.
What it looks like
Here is an example of what a sponsorship can look like:
A sponsorship is usually sold on a page or section of a website for a set period of time. This means it is commonly billed on a CPD basis.
7 Things To Know About Sponsorships
- Don’t just sell ad space on your site, sell the full value of being associated with your site.
- Don’t just buy ad space and get clicks, buy space on a site that works well with your brand and get kudos.
- If scarcity increases demand, then selling all your ad space to just one advertiser sure will make it a scarce resource.
- (Temporarily) partner with a brand like yours to become more than a sum of your parts. 1+1=3 (sometimes)
- If people like another brand that is just like yours (which doesn’t compete with you) then why not join forces?
- Selling all the ads on one page or section of your site is not only lucrative, but it is also convenient (as you don’t have to deal with multiple advertisers).
- Sponsorship deals make the most sense for small sites (who shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about advertising) and big sites (who have a lot of brand value to sell).
Sponsorship Advice for Site Owners
For small sites, selling off all the ads across your site is a convenient way to maximise your profits from advertising while minimising your effort. This can and should include a reskin and an advertisers logo if possible. By selling your whole site (or a section of it) in bulk you can reduce worries about inconsistent advertising revenue.
If you are a medium or large site, then selling sponsorships of parts of your site (or newsletter) is a great idea also. You should distinguish these from roadblocks or homepage takeovers, however.
Selling advertising space in bulk is a good idea and can increase the value of your ad inventory. Selling a sponsorship should be more than just advertising space however – it should focus more on branding.
To this end, you should sell it with the promise of positive mentions of your sponsors on the site. These needn’t be more than thank-yous necessarily. Calling out to your audience that an advertiser is making a significant financial difference can cut through banner blindness.
Increasing the positive experience of this sort of sponsorship for your advertisers will help gain repeat business too!
Sponsorship Advice for Ad Buyers
If you are going to sponsor a site (or section of one) then make sure you get what you are paying for. If the deal includes advertising, then paying an increased rate to get a sponsorship makes sense only if there is an increased return on investment.
This means that you should be getting brand value out of any sponsorship deal. A reskin should certainly be part of one, and when possible your logo should be naturally included as part of the section of the site you are sponsoring.
Also, don’t underestimate the value of being mentioned (even as just a thank you) on the site. Once the advertising has been taken down, the text in articles on a site will remain, giving you a useful inbound link (which is nice for SEO).
A sponsorship should always be a way of improving how your brand is perceived. Therefore make sure you only sponsor websites whose ethos aligns with your company, and which your audience looks upon favourably.
Not to be confused with
Roadblocks, Homepage Takeovers