How to Monetize Engagement for Virtual Sponsors and Booths
As any event organizer knows, sponsors are often a driving force behind a successful event. Creating a valuable sponsorship package – and successfully showing monetization – has long been a challenge for both organizers and sponsors.
The good news is sponsorship opportunities don’t disappear because events have gone virtual. In fact, with the ability to reach bigger audiences, the opportunities afforded by a virtual event may be even more attractive to prospective sponsors. However, the question remains: what are ways to monetize sponsor investments?
We chatted with Sandy Hammer, Allseated’s Co-Founder and CMO, to discuss her advice for getting creative with valuable packages, and strategies organizers can use to monetize virtual sponsorships and booths.
How is selling virtual sponsorships similar to traditional sponsorships?
“Honestly, approaching sponsors for virtual is the same as for in-person events,” said Sandy. “You’re selling an opportunity to promote their product or solutions to new audiences, and that’s no different whether it’s in a physical or virtual realm.”
And remember digital sponsorships are nothing new, explained Sandy. Many organizers have used them previously – think email and web banner ads as one example – but in conjunction with other physical branding opportunities such as brochures or giveaways.
What’s different is that when planning an entirely virtual event, the digital components take center stage, and there is a lot more flexibility and creativity, which is crucial, according to Sandy. “So far, sponsors in the virtual world haven’t really seen a return on investment, simply because many organizers have been trying to apply the same sponsorship models from in-person events.”
How should planners and organizers think differently when approaching sponsors for virtual events?
Many more powerful options can be used when approaching sponsors for virtual compared to in-person. “In the digital world, organizers can offer multiple, large screen sponsorships to display logos or messaging. The creativity is unleashed in 3D mirror image expo environments, like those from our exVo platform.” Sandy continued, “For example, organizers have sold sponsorships for large digital banners placed throughout the virtual environment or even on the virtual ‘robotic’ body-like forms that allow attendees to navigate expo spaces similar to the traditional expo experience.”
Sandy explained that thinking out of the box and doing something totally different is a crucial point to reiterate with potential virtual sponsors. “Without the confines of traditional booths, sponsors gain opportunities to go bigger and bolder.”
For example, a TV show or movie, creative media, and animations in the virtual world draw ample attention. Sandy explained the possibilities are endless when it comes to doing something tailored and unique to a sponsor’s needs and goals. “As just a few examples, we can create waterfalls, have bottles of champagne popping open simultaneously to announce a cocktail hour, or even place sponsored products throughout the virtual environment.”
What engagement metrics matter to virtual sponsors?
“Leads are obviously an important reason why sponsors spend money for an exhibition at a trade show or conference,” said Sandy. “And it’s no different in the virtual world – leads are very much on the minds of sponsors and exhibitors, along with increasing brand awareness, creating networking opportunities, demonstrating thought leadership, and developing and deepening relationships.”
But according to Sandy, organizers shouldn’t stop with those engagement metrics. “In the in-person environment, it’s challenging for a sponsor or exhibitor to track all of the steps along the lead journey.” She continued, “Because every single movement can be tracked in the virtual world, the metrics, analytics, and data that an exhibitor or sponsor can gain about a particular lead are at least ten times more.”
For example, “Even if a guest doesn’t come into a virtual booth, we can determine how long that person was standing there, which marketing materials were clicked, and even what and how long videos were watched,” explained Sandy. “Then, by using that level of data, along with other capabilities like push notifications, those can become opportunities to start conversations or move leads faster and further along the sales journey – which demonstrates an immediate value to the sponsorship.”
And that’s exactly the kind of information virtual sponsors and exhibitors have found value in. Sandy shared, “At our last event in Germany, organizers used exVo to create a dynamic expo floor. The exhibitors told us this format was the first brand opportunity they had to generate real leads and track results – and they were thrilled with their investment.”
Planning a virtual event with sponsors? Talk to the Allseated team for more ideas and strategies to monetize engagement for your sponsors and booths.