Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The NASCAR Hashtag Aftermath

There they were, sitting in a San Francisco conference room sipping hotel coffee and waiting to curate your tweets. Sunday marked the first partnership between NASCAR and social media company Twitter. The group pictured here was the Twitter task force assembled to handle the project.

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.

We invite your opinion on this topic. Coments may be moderated prior to posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

30 comments:

William said...

During a race I will listen to the driver scanners (yes they got me again this year for $65)and have live scoring open so I can see what they do not show on the tv, where everyone is on the track, but I do not see myself ever using twitter (or other social media) to see what people are saying about the race while the race is in progress.

I just do not see any benefit to it.

Who is going to be tweeting? People watching the same TV broadcast as me? It sure won't be my favorite driver or his crew, if they are then they aren't doing their job.

The TV networks are trying to use Twitter and social media to attempt to get the viewer involved. We saw this last weekend where they had tweets from the drivers wives. I never looked but I am sure I can positively say there were probably 1000's of tweets where a viewer begged, pleaded and complained about not being able to see their favorite driver, I didnt see any of those on the screen: "@TonyRainesFan: Can you show Tony on the TV, I would love to see what color his car is this week".

Twitter and social media during a race is just another way Nascar is trying to get more of my hard earned money and I wont let it happen again (I say this every Daytona 500 when I pay for the scanners,one of these years I will mean it).

GinaV24 said...

I took a look at this #NASCAR deal during the race. It was behind and I felt that I wasn't getting the same information that I could already get on my own twitter feed, so after having ads forced on me - I get enough of that during the race broadcast, I went back to using my own.

This just didn't work for me. I want to get the information directly as it were - not filtered. I'm quite sure that they built algorithms into this to "weed out" any tweets that NASCAR wouldn't want out there.

OSBORNK said...

I thought part of the reason to go to Twitter was to avoid exactly what NASCAR and Twitter are adding with this "brilliant" move. Ads and the NASCAR spin is what I don't want or need. I think it is a waste of bandwidth. I look forward to both Facebook and Twitter joining MySpace when the next fad comes along.

matriarch said...

i choose who I follow on Twitter. The rest don't matter. I looked at this site once during the Pocono race and found it to be not worthy of my time. It is a complete failure to me.

Anonymous said...

The only difference re:tweets I saw in my hashtag nascar stream during this "experience" was in top tweets.I saw just as many tweets during the race as I have seen before this. Honestly I've used it during races to help find interesting fans to follow for quite a while.The fancy "landing page" was new but other than that same 'ole same 'ole. jmo

Steve James Media said...

Like GinaV24 commented, I wasn't impressed. When I click on a hashtag, I want to see all content, not something that's been "Okayed" by a team of black shirts that probably don't know anything about NASCAR anyway.

Spectricide said...

Agree with Gina. What they supplied on the landing page was behind the timeline curve and culled to be squeaky clean. Any body on twitter and watching the races already is following most of the tweets they curated. In the land of the "24 second news cycle" this just won't cut it but it is nice to see NASCAR reaching out and trying.

corbeilgal said...

As a Canadian fan I can only get to 1 or 2 races a year at most. I follow twitter during tv broadcasts for more info without paying big $$ for trackpass. I didn't see anything more than my usual timeline and in fast it all stopped an hour or more before the race ended. I'll hold judgment for how to see what happens but this week was all flash no bang.

AncientRacer said...

I have said it before and I shall say it again because it squares exactly with the Twitter statement that mentioned the Superbowl and the Oscars. NASCAR is the ideal testing platform for marquee events vis a vis the "landing page" paradigm because its fans are concentrated each week for the only top-level event of the week. It is, therefore, directly equivalent to the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, NCAA Final Four, etc., etc., etc.. Yet unlike those events which occur on a single day or during a very limited window of multiple days NASCAR Cup races happen 36 weeks a year. Twitter can do a lot of experimenting, massaging, polishing and perfecting their design with 36 weeks to play with. Even starting now with less than a full Cup season ahead by the time the Gorilla shows up (The Super Bowl) with its worldwide reach Twitter will have a lot of data and a lot of the bugs worked out of the design.

As for the "War Room" I mentioned that yesterday. San Francisco (beautiful city and I like being there)is NOT a hotbed of NASCAR fans so I would expect the "curators" know next to nothing about the sport, but the sport is not their purpose. In fact I would bet a week's pay were you to ask anyone in that room to name 10 Cup level drivers, past or present, they could not; nor could they answer some other basic level question like, say, "Why, as it relates to the racecars, are the Daytona and Talladega races different from every other race in NASCAR?"

Also as I said, the SF hotel Twitter "war room" would make a very good place for Tim Brewer to hang out until ESPN gets the series. The Twitfolk there, I believe, could use his expertise. But that is not what the "war room" is for. The room and the people in it are working on product development.


We are, folks, those of us who may venture to the "Landing Page", Guinea Pigs and I have no problem with that really.

Its just business.

Buschseries61 said...

I think I checked it once Sunday and never felt the need to look at it again.

If the broadcast does a good job collecting and sharing information, there is just no need for it, like William said.

allisong said...

I checked the landing page several times over the weekend, and I guess my experience was different than some of yours.

1. Promoted (or ad-related) tweets are nothing new to me. I've been getting them in my own timeline ever since signing up for twitter.

2. Timeliness of tweets in the landing page - I noticed that when I first opened the page, the tweets showing were somewhat old. I noticed some of you commenting about that over the weekend. But what I discovered was you have to refresh the screen, then you will start to get all the tweets as they come in. In other words, there is no "reading backwards". Refreshing the screen is something I always have to do to get new tweets even in my own timeline. There is a bar at the top that indicates the # of new tweets waiting. I have to click on that to see them. Maybe this experience is different for some, since I only use twitter in a computer browser. I don't own a smart phone.

3. Subject of the tweets - I can attest that I saw more than once tweets that were of the "nascar is boring" variety.

Overall, my experience was that I prefer to stick with my own timeline, simply due to the volume overload on the #nascar page. Sometimes too much really is too much.

Steve L. said...

I just don't get it at all. I used the same people I always follow and the TDP1 hashtag and got as much, if not more, than the #NASCAR people threw out there. I felt no need at all to follow the #NASCAR non-sence.
I am trying the old fashion way of watching a race on TV by just watching the race on TV. If I feel the announcers aren't giving me enough info, I'll go back to my Twitter page and go from there. But for the next few races, I'm going raw....TV only. I miss a lot by reading tweets and it's usually the same thing I just saw on my TV screen.

terri said...

I agree with the other posters. If you're following racing on Twitter regularly, you've already established who you're paying attention to and who you're not.

I really have no problem with what Nascar and Twitter are trying to do. In this economy, anything that promotes a product has the potential to make/keep someone's job. I'm good with that.

Thomas said...

Major Fail and NASCAR seem to go together a lot here recently, and I don't know why.

Perhaps those in the ivory towers are out of touch with their fans? Or just insensitive in general. Or maybe us rubes haven't had our expectations lowered enough yet.

Anonymous said...

We are old fans - stress that old part - who don't need to be in touch with everyone all the time, so we don't use Twitter, text, etc. Mostly we found it irritating to have those Tweets on the screen. Who cares what some driver's wife thinks? OK...I guess some of you do, but we don't.

fbu1 said...

I wouldn't worry about the coffee temperature in the Task Force Central HQ. Please note the array of secondary pump handles on the right. The more important issue was choosing between the Monster Mocha or Carmelicious flavor blast.

Regarding the advertising potential of #NASCAR, let me add a thus far ignored component. Those who access Twitter using a cell phone app are added to the ever growing data base of users, by name and location. Among other things, tweets to #NASCAR from a phone app allows them to generally survey interest from specific geographical locations and specifically to identify potential consumers for NASCAR related products and services. That is far more accurate information than is gleaned from the TV rating service guesstimates.

LpMv2407 said...

This was on Jayski's via Reuters:"Twitter spokesman Gabriel Stricker said NASCAR DID NOT PAY for its curated hashtag page, but added that Twitter did not plan any more similar partnerships."

im going to say this again...once you stay on the new #NASCAR page for about 1 min the tweets come in realtime. the ones there on landing are the "top" tweets.

the orig twitter #NASCAR search is still there if u choose to view that. there is a link near the middle of the new landing page to it.

i think JD hit the nail on the head last week when he said that it seemed like it was for new/non twitter users. that was the reason for the promotion with 7 vague but attn getting 15 second ads. it was made to engage new ppl.

the new landing did help me with a few things. i saw some pictures i probably wouldnt have otherwise seen. that jimmie johnson incar video of him from the test session was on there & i enjoyed that thoroughly.

there are a few ppl i really enojy following during the race & for that reason ill stick to my own TL.

@william - i doubt nascar gets much of that money. since its on nascar.com, id say turner gets a big % of it.

LpMv2407 said...

id like to add also that most of the time if you follow ur favorite driver they generally have a PR rep tweet on their acct race status and radio quotes during the race. it's not all what ppl Think and can be very informative

diane said...

I tried the #nascar and found it uninspiring. I did figure out how to get all the tweets from regular posters, which is really what I want. I can get specific drivers, sponsors and teams by following them on my timeline. I don't want other stuff forced on me.

As for the telecast, I do not care for twitter being such a prominent mention. I also agree with those who said "Who cares what some driver's wife thinks?" I don't, the same would go for Danica's husband or any driver's father, mother, etc. I don't need that crap filling up the television broadcast. One more reason to record the race and fast forward when they do those things, which is what I did this time. Now, they don't get my eyeballs for commercials.

I guess we can blame Brad K. and his tweeting during the JPM vs the jetdryer incident for the corporate suits (nascar and twitter) for trying to milk some $$$ out of this.

Anonymous said...

The best part of the page was the picture stream. NASCAR people (both fans and those who work in it) take very cool pictures! But the tweet stream itself didn't do anything for me personally, as it follows too many teams I'm not interested in, and not enough realtime updates. I simply can't get the page to correctly refresh when I close it, that is, pick up where it left off the last time I looked. I gave up on it mid race. If I'm looking for a widespread reaction to a news item or event, I'll still click through to the raw stream. On raceday, I'll continue to use my own personal timeline and lists, which contain the info I want to see without having to sift through info I don't.
Donna in FL

GinaV24 said...

fbu1 - big brother IS watching and I personally prefer NOT to be tracked that much. Another reason that I have chosen not to use phone apps and have turned off the tracking piece of my phone.

I had to go into to twitter when it "upgraded" and switch things so that my whole name doesn't come up as my ID. Thanks very much, but I don't really want the world of tweets to have ALL my info available and yours was a timely reminder of that issue.

Anonymous said...

Twitter has to try something. They are a free service with virtually no advertising revenue. Despite the millions of users and very practical nature of the service - it has yet to figure out a way to generate revenue. I guess their answer is paid censorship.

Keith Murray said...

I just followed my normal list of NASCAR folks that I always follow. The hashtag project may work well for newcomers to the service, but I already know what I like to hear and read about, so I have a list that I follow for NASCAR stuff.

SKB Editorial Services said...

this experiment defeats the spirit of social media if not the "law" of connecting. I don't need more of what NASCAR or advertisers think I should see/share. I suspect this will cause folks to come up with an alternative hashtag to get the honest, unmoderated comments between race fans.

AncientRacingGuineaPig said...

@SKB Editorial Services

Goodness me. Whoda Thunk It.

@GinaV24

I have ALL trackers and stuff disabled on all Gizmos. Even n my Cadillac. No On-Star for me. If I Need You I'll call; and you can take that to the bank #PrivacyFirst :)

Great Post all.

Sophia said...

i only use twitter from laptop, don't own smart phone. I didn't use it as much as usual as I ENJOYED TNT!!

But I did briefly try the nascar hashtag & saw very FEW tweets so i did not understand the appeal. I get more from normal twitter stream though I follow twitter for other stuff & small % for racing.

Also I may jinx myself but I've yet to see an add in my stream. I use Chr mostly for Twitter and adblocker. Don't know if that's what helping me or not.

I don't need a group of filters or censorers of the NASCAR tweets. So I don't get it at all.

But aside from reporters, I noticed less tweetin on Sun but as I said, for the most part I enjoyed TNT or MRN when I was in other parts of the house. We again have local radio that gives us Cup races anyway & that's great.

@Janinda said...

I'll take your bet @ AncientRacer: which 10 drivers would you like me to name? Past champions, Chasers, start and parkers? and from which era? And as for the Daytona and Talladega, you looking for the easy answer of "restrictor plate" or do you want to talk banking, history, milestones, controversial finishes?

I can't make official company statements but I'm the guy on the left, in the black hat. Feel free to follow me at @janinda and decide if I'm a fan or not.

Meanwhile, keep the feedback coming.

P.S. The coffee was pretty decent for a hotel conference room.

AncientRacer said...

@Janinda

Excellent.

You got guts. Guts built our Sport.

Of course I shall follow you ... you are the one with the Weasley beard. I should appreciate your following me as well: @Ancient_Racer

Hats, while not probative are, at the very least, a clue.

BTW: I specified nothing for the 10. Just 10 and "restrictor plate" is, as you know, the correct answer as the question specified "racecars"

Cheers! :)

GinaV24 said...

LOL, @janinda - awesome that you will come and play with us. I'm with Ancient - I'll add you to my follow list.

@SKB - they can always join the planeteers on #tdp1 - as you know we always have lots to say to one another.

Ancient - yep, I'm wit you. My Envoy has on star and they keep sending me mail saying "c'mon, turn it on". Ha, no thanks. I do try not to see black helicopters but considering how much google earth can show a person freaks me out just a little.

papaserge said...

This isn't a "black helicopter" move at all. All anyone needs is to do is click on the "View search results" button on the #NASCAR page and boom, it's the old #NASCAR free to view. They're going for the non-Twitter crowd with this move and I think it's working.

At the very least, it does mean Twitter integration on TV, even if Twitter is paying for it.