The Power of YouTube: Making your event sponsorships stand out

Our research with Google has shown that advertising on YouTube shows great promise for brands to stand out in a busy media landscape through sponsoring event coverage on the platform.
11 July 2024
The Power of YouTube events

Senior Client Director

Parinita Garg

Client Manager

In an advertising landscape where big, flagship events gather viewers and capture conversations by the million, brands have a powerful opportunity to seize the moment by getting their sponsorship campaigns right. Ranked as the number one media channel for consumer receptivity (Power of Connection, based on 347 Connect touchpoint studies), sponsored events show huge potential for brands looking to secure Brand Equity ROI if they advertise on the right platforms, partner with the right events and lead with the right creative approach.

Our research has shown that advertising on YouTube in particular shows great promise for brands looking to stand out in a busy media landscape through sponsoring event coverage on the platform. Kantar has worked closely with Google to measure the effectiveness of 15 sponsored event campaigns activated on YouTube in the UK.

Our research utilised Kantar’s Context Lab solution – a control versus exposed methodology simulating the real-life experience of the YouTube environment, allowing us to understand the effectiveness of branded content within a digital context before a campaign is run. Respondents experience a like-for-like version of the YouTube environment, wherein they encounter the advertising and the sponsored event content.

the power of youtube contextlab

These campaigns spanned a broad range of sectors and event types and the measurement involved surveying 5,500 consumers to determine the level of delivered brand equity impact, all benchmarked against conventional digital advertising formats.

Key results and themes

The results were a resounding indication that advertising on YouTube should be a core focus channel for brands looking to gain the most value for their sponsored event campaigns. The research showed that brands that ran sponsored campaigns on YouTube were more successful in raising brand awareness than all other conventional digital advertising in the EU. On average, sponsored campaigns on YouTube generated 17pp lifts in unprompted awareness for the brands measured and lifted top-of-mind awareness for brands by 16pp - a huge success for advertisers looking to occupy category level share of mind.

For brands looking to drive sales and persuade consumers to engage with their brand, the research found that sponsorship activity on YouTube drove 3pp lifts on Consideration/Purchase Intent - a significant lift over and above Kantar's EU digital advertising benchmark. Among Male audiences in particular, these lifts were further amplified, reaching 5.7pp – again, significantly above Kantar Digital norms.

Not only are sponsored campaigns on YouTube more effective than standard digital advertising in raising brand awareness and persuasion, but the activity also drove an average 18pp lift on Sponsorship Association – with viewers correctly attributing the brand in question to the sponsored event, thus building strong and meaningful connections between the two.

the power of youtube sponsored campaigns

Getting fit right

Long term sponsorships can be highly effective in building brand equity - but they require time, effort, and consistency. More than ever, brand fit is increasingly crucial, and is key to a successful brand partnership. Different sponsorships may resonate differently across audiences and demographics, and your brand objectives should form the basis of your sponsorship strategy.

Our research found that partnerships with music and sports related events, such as Coachella, the MOBO Awards, Wimbledon, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup, can drive different brand equity priorities. For advertisers looking to persuade consumers to engage with their brand, partnerships with music events like Coachella, are more effective in driving Consideration/Purchase Intent – with music-related events 13pp more likely than the average campaign to drive impact on these metrics. By dialling into engaged and interest-based audiences, these events can target a focused audience likely to make purchases or consider your brand.

On the other hand, for advertisers looking to drive brand awareness and campaign recall, sponsoring sports events has been highly effective – 7pp more likely than the average to build awareness for the brand. By capitalising on the broad reach of national events, brands have the opportunity to make the most of the moment - think headline events like the FIFA Women's World Cup.

However, with national moments like these, it will be key to find the right balance between popularity and sponsorship investment. Popular events tend to be more expensive for brand partnerships, and a brand can run the risk of getting lost in the noise amidst many other sponsors. Therefore, finding the right fit for an event with the right balance of popularity and brand visibility is essential to landing a good return on investment.

the power of youtube investment

Getting creative right

To set your brand sponsorship up for the greatest chance of success, nailing the creative is a must. Content should be engaging enough to capture viewer attention, branding should be prominent and showcased early on, and the brand's link to the event should be clear. Our research also found that strategically utilising influencer content in your campaign activations can help to drive brand impact even further.

When done right, sponsored campaigns on YouTube containing influencer content can raise brand awareness, campaign recall, and sponsorship associations - with significantly stronger performance than campaigns not including influencer activity. Influencer collaborations can work well because consumers trust who they know - highlighting the importance of getting fit right and finding the right influencer for your brand. Our research found that the most successful influencer collaborations got fit right, with a best-in-class deodorant campaign including prominent female footballers – perfectly landing the sponsorship association with the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Trust and credibility are essential: advertisers should look to find not only the right fit for the brand, but also the sponsored event in question.

More broadly, look to follow Kantar's creative best practices when advertising on YouTube for maximum impact.

  • Make people feel something: Emotional content drives engagement - ensure the creative delivers an emotionally resonant brand story
  • Stand out at the start: Avoid the skip - many skip after the first mandatory 5 seconds, so ensure content is engaging and branding is integrated in those first few moments
  • Give the brand a leading role: Ensure branding is clear, in the focus, and appears early to drive stronger brand awareness and sales effects
  • Get the length just right: Retaining audience attention after 90 seconds becomes difficult - look to ensure the first 5 seconds create a simple but compelling brand encounter for viewers
  • Make a lasting impression: Leave viewers with something to remember with engaging yet simple and clear post-text or a call to action
  • Consider the context: Creative works best when it's customised for YouTube - look to keep messaging simple to avoid clutter drive home the brand narrative

Read this article on