What's Your 'Clicks-to-Sponsor?'
Having put together more than a few competitive analyses, I can typically find my way around a property website. Nevertheless, recently I was left wondering why more properties don't showcase sponsors front and center - or at the very least make it dead simple for visitors and fans to learn about what they're doing.
Pretty much any proposal you get will have the obligatory "prominent exposure on XYZ property website." Before negotiating that deal, you may want to take a look at the quality of the exposure you'll be getting to make sure you're maximizing both the branding and click-through potential of the offered asset.
You're probably not a web developer or engineer, but if you were you would spend a lot of time analyzing and refining the navigation that your website visitor takes, using a variety of clickpath services. These techniques are often used to measure the effectiveness of a site's overall design. Online retailers sometimes use clicks-to-purchase/click-to-revenue, or the number of pages a visitor must view from the homepage to purchase, as a way of identifying and alleviating unnecessary friction in the purchase process.
In that vein, we took a quick inventory of how many clicks it takes to get to sponsors, or "Clicks-to-Sponsor." Here's what we found:
# of Clicks from Homepage
0 AVP.com - link enabled to co-branded sponsor/AVP sites as well as sponsor sites
0 NBA.com - link enabled to co-branded sponsor/nba sites
1 MLS.net - link enabled to sponsor sites
1 BreedersCup.com - link enabled to sponsor sites
1 PGATour.com - link enabled to sponsor sites
1 LPGA.com - link enabled to sponsor sites
1 USOpen.org - no sponsor links
2 MLB.com - no sponsor links
? NFL.com - no sponsor section
While it's nice to have a sponsor page for marketers, agencies and potential sponsors to look at, does it really offer anything to the consumer and fan? Further, do they even look at it? Have you thought about ditching the sponsor list, and creating sponsored content as the NBA does? Take for example the "create your own amazing playlist" by Cisco or the section that allows you to learn more about international stars by FedEx. Both convey simple, but clear brand messages and since they lead to valuable content, you won't have to fight with your web producer to get them front and center on the homepage. For the sponsor, the difference is messaging vs. awareness. For the property, it's adding informational value that the fan is seeking out not pushing advertising the fan may not want.
Maybe it's not the clicks that matter and perhaps we shouldn't fault properties that don't show their sponsor lists front and center. Afterall, if it doesn't add any value why should they? Fans don't care about lists, they care about content.
The better question might be, how do we make the sponsor list more appealing and more valuable to the FANS - not to the marketers.