Transparency needed to speed up sponsorship's tech evolution, says Klip Desk

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Australia's sponsorship industry is close to a technological "tipping point" which can revolutionise sponsorship ROI, but a lack of transparency around measurement is holding the industry back, according to the boss of Dentsu Aegis's newly-acquired sports tech agency.

Global agency group Dentsu Aegis Network recently acquired Klip Desk and its two products, 'Klip Studio' and 'Klip Logic', with the company to become a subsidiary of Dentsu's sports marketing agency, MKTG.

The company will now be rebranded as 'Klip Desk, Linked by MKTG', with Klip Desk founder and CEO Aaron Tobin to report directly to MKTG's Australian chief, Matt Connell. Dentsu Aegis's Australian boss, Simon Ryan, said the acquisition would deliver a "real advantage over our competitors in the sports content and sponsorship space."

Speaking to Sponsorship News, Tobin said that the alliance with Dentsu Aegis and MKTG would give Klip Desk greater resources to expand, as well as access to MKTG's existing clients in the sport and entertainment space.

Klip Desk is comprised of two technology platforms, an AI software publishing platform known as 'Klip Studio' which distributes sport highlights in real-time, and 'Klip Logic', a machine-learning system that identifies and measures sponsorship exposure.

"Klip Studio was set up because when you looked at consumer trends and fan trends, all the information suggests that digital and short-form content is playing a huge role in how people engage in sport these days," said Tobin.

"But on the flipside, the ability of rights-holders to be able to deliver against those needs has been quite limited due to the systems and processes and innovations in place. That's a huge missed opportunity to engage fans and sponsors," he said.

Tobin added that a key aspect of the Klip Desk's offering is all its technology is "front-facing", meaning that all clients have access to the programs and are able to commission their own reports as well as access relevant data in real- time.

"A big part of our business is transparency – we think there's been a lack of transparency in sponsorship measurement. Any client can use the technology themselves to run a report and access the data at any given time."

While Tobin said that front-end technology would build trust, he also said it would allow more frequent collaboration between rights-holders and sponsors, who would now receive constant updates on sponsorship results, rather than sporadic top-line reports.

"We're right at the tipping point of sponsorship measurement and return on investment. Putting the technology in the hands of the clients will make people hungrier for data and push us to innovate on further ways to find ROI," he said.

"We want to empower everyone, whether it be the sponsorship manager at a brand, or sales team at a rights-holder, to be able to look at every single video clip individually and see where the valuation is coming from. We want transparency but it also provides insights at a granular level."

Klip Desk is also investigating ways to capitalise on the "trove of data" generated by measuring interactions with sports content on social media, such as fan sentiment towards sponsors.

"The next frontier in measurement will be in attributing and tracking interactions right back to the individual. Right now we know 'how many' but not the 'who' – once we can drill down into the personal, we can then really get to pointy-end sponsorship ROI like sentiment and path to purchase," Tobin said.