Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The NASCAR Hashtag Aftermath
Simply put, Twitter created a page where anyone searching #NASCAR on Sunday was sent. Rather than seeing a list of relevant tweets as usual, those searching were redirected to a "landing page" where the group above coordinated the content. While not exactly a social media hijacking, it certainly was a redirecting of content for a purpose. So, what was the purpose?
During the race, Twitter aired a series of seven TV commercials promoting the partnership. Each 15 second commercial spot reinforced the direct link between NASCAR and the social media company. What the ads effectively did was specifically promote the newly designated hashtag (landing) page.
"The spots that aired on Sunday seem designed to show advertisers that hashtags can potentially be a useful branding tool and not merely a pop-culture phenomenon," said Cotton Delo in Ad Age. "It's further evidence of Twitter's desire to be the platform advertisers turn to when they're looking to execute promotions around major live events such as the Super Bowl or the Oscars."
The keyword from the quote above is advertisers. During the live race, sponsored tweets appeared on the hashtag page for ticket sales to NASCAR races. Sponsored tweets are Twitter's form of advertising. So when NASCAR indicates that the organization has a partnership with Twitter, the bottom line is that NASCAR can use the social media service for various advertising purposes.
"Twitter wants to be the destination for users who wish to engage with a certain brand," writes Ryan Lawler at TechCrunch. "That’s what’s so brilliant about #NASCAR and what we can only assume will be future hashtag landing pages. The brands themselves don’t have to actually create anything new. Because at the end of the day, there’s nothing better than getting your biggest fans to promote your brand for you."
In other words, what NASCAR did was encourage teams, sponsors and others (including media members) to create content on Sunday aimed specifically at the landing page. It didn't cost NASCAR a penny to produce and the attraction of being included on the hashtag page had the tweets flying.
Ultimately, the only remaining issue on the table is whether or not money is changing hands between NASCAR and Twitter for this project. While that information is not public, this excerpt from the Ad Age article may tell the tale.
"Twitter declined to comment on how much it's charging for event (hashtag) pages," said Delo. "But precedent suggests that they'll be available to major advertising partners at the outset. Its roll-out of brand pages last year was reportedly for marketers who had committed to spend a minimum of $2 million on Twitter's suite of ad products, such as promoted tweets."
There you have it. An interesting social media project with all kinds of twists along the way. Twitter looking for revenue, NASCAR looking for exposure and fans reading "curated" content from guys in black t-shirts. At lease we hope the coffee was hot.
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