Social media generated more than $12B for sponsors around the world last year
The GIST: Another day, another example of sports’ viral social media impact. Marketing solutions firm Kore released its State of the Industry report yesterday, which revealed that social media generated more than $12B in total adjusted ad value for sponsors around the world last year.
The methodology: The report measured adjusted ad value (AAV) on social media, which accounts for the platform, engagement, positioning, clarity, and promotional makeup of posts. Kore analyzed 19M-plus posts from athletes, leagues, and teams on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, China-based Weibo, and Russian app VK.
The value: Though social media comprised just 9% of global sponsorship revenue in 2022, digital inventory was included in 50% of all contracts. Brand value was up 39% from 2019 (the last pre-pandemic year), and social engagement has climbed steadily — sponsors hit 100B engagements last year, up 6% YoY and 46% from 2019.
- As for the best-performing social media platforms, Instagram accounted for 72.7% of global engagement, while Facebook was second with 10.8%. Meanwhile, videos (36.8%) and images (35.2%) generated the most engagement by format.
The top athletes: Freestyle skier Eileen Gu generated $4.1M in AAV from 31M social media impressions in 2022, more than any other female athlete. Soccer player Alisha Lehmann took second with $3.9M in AAV from 105.8M impressions, while tennis icon Serena Williams was third with $3.3M from 38.9M impressions.
- Rounding out the top five were college gymnast Olivia Dunne, who drove $2.9M in AAV from 134.5M impressions, and NASCAR driver Hailie Deegan, who generated $2.2M from 8.7M impressions. An all-star social team.
The top brands: Unsurprisingly, Nike and Adidas scored the highest AAV last year with $869M and $513M, respectively. Emirates flew into third with $354M in AAV, Puma was fourth with $217M, and Red Bull finished out the top five with $188M. These companies posted double-digit growth from 2019, while Puma enjoyed triple-digit growth.
Zooming out: Social media is increasingly important to sports’ business model, and women athletes’ elite community-building skills allow them to flourish on socials. Between Twitter’s Elon Musk–induced downfall and TikTok’s American woes, however, social media could develop obstacles to maximizing sponsorship value in the immediate future. Stay tuned.