Brad Auerbach
Head of Industry for Insurance, Facebook

Insurance carriers invest heavily in sports activations, from stadium rights to tour sponsorships. Historically, the traditional sponsorship model has been an effective tool for insurance companies; however, the way people watch sports has changed. How have leading carriers like Nationwide and Farmers Insurance amplified their investment for greater impact? The answer can be found with mobile and apps like Facebook and Instagram. These have been integral to that evolution, and offer unique opportunities to drive deeper engagement with millions, even billions, of fans.

This year, U.S. sponsorship ad spend is expected to hit an all time high of $2.8 billion [1]. Younger consumers – millennials in particular – are opting to spend more money than ever before on experiences, such as athletic events, over material possessions. For marketers, there’s never been a better time to activate these long-term investments.

Partners often ask us, “How can we maximize the impact of our sponsorships with mobile, and play a larger role in the conversations that are happening around sports on social?” Here are a few of the strategies we recommend:

1. Build awareness, drive tune-ins and boost attendance with mobile video

While television is the traditional channel for driving awareness, today’s battle for attention, hearts and minds increasingly takes place on mobile – where more than 75% of video viewing now happens globally [2]. In a world of infinite content, many now rely on curated apps like Facebook and Instagram to discover video that’s relevant to them. Even at sporting events, consumers expect free Wi-Fi so they can watch the video highlights from the game being played right in front of them.

Top insurance carriers have seen meaningful brand lift using our creative considerations for building great video ads on mobile as a guide. For example, recent video ads from Farmers Insurance captured attention quickly, showcased the brand early and often, and were built for sound-off viewing to yield positive results. Leesa Eichberger, Head of Brand Marketing at Farmers Insurance, explains, “When shooting the Getting Tournament Ready campaign featuring golf ambassador Rickie Fowler, we aimed to grab viewers’ attention with visually arresting scenes. We shot with a ‘mobile-first’ viewpoint optimized for Instagram and social, framing Rickie and the key action.” Pro tip: Maximize your investment with sponsored athletes by shooting mobile-first assets, such as vertical video for Stories, in tandem with TV commercial footage.

Nearly a quarter of traffic to ticketing pages comes from social media, so consider increasing the frequency of video ads across the Facebook family of apps in the days and weeks leading up to an event to drive tune-ins and boost attendance [3].

2. Enhance experiences on- and off-site

Events have become a form of social currency, with 98% of attendees creating content to share [4]. That’s why Facebook regularly partners with insurance brands on sponsorship activations. The possibilities to drive incremental engagement are endless; think Instagram-worthy installations or even AR and VR experiences.

Reaching TV viewers on mobile is just as important, as 90% of fans split attention with another device while watching live sports. Sports respondents we surveyed have also said they want to access more interactive content, stats and interviews, as well as engage with fellow enthusiasts. The Facebook family of apps and services offers a natural solution, uniquely combining people’s desires to watch and connect. This is especially true on Instagram, where over 25 million active users in the U.S. cite sports as their top passion [5].

3. Continue the conversation and connection

After an event, how do marketers keep the conversation going and scale the impact they’ve worked so hard to create? Post-event campaigns can maintain your alignment with sporting communities that are relevant to target audiences – increasing the likelihood that when these fans are ready to quote, you’ll be top of mind.

Allow people to relive the experience with behind-the-scenes looks, game highlights and creator content in feed or in stream on Facebook Watch or IGTV. Next, continue to remind fans that you support their passions. For example, following Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement, Nationwide formed deeper connections through a series of episodic videos targeting the community of NASCAR fans on Facebook. These ads, featuring their new sponsored driver, Alex Bowman, drove a 24-point lift in ad recall among 18-24 year olds.


Innovative insurance brands are helping to rewrite the sports sponsorship playbook. For marketers looking to amplify the impact of existing investments, mobile and the Facebook family of apps offer untapped potential when combined with coordination across teams. For more information and education about our ad products, visit

Sources: 1) “US Sponsorship Ad Spending” eMarketer, 2019; 2) “More than 75% of Worldwide Video Viewing is Mobile” eMarketer, 2018; 3) “9 Simple Steps to Master Social Media for Events” from Buffer & Eventbrite, 2018; 4) “EventTrack 2016 Content Benchmarking Report” by Event Marketing Institute and Mosaic; 5) Instagram Data, US, Feb. 2017.