In Part Two of this three-part blog series Relo dug deeper into the multiple factors that cause viewability issues in NASCAR and in much of motorsport. Before getting into the third and final installment of this NASCAR viewability series, let's recap the main takeaways from part two.
In part two, the main theme was uncovering the several nuances which impact NASCAR. Here were some of the high level takeaways:
- Fast pace of cars on the track leads to blurry frames - Relo concluded that on average 20% of frames suffer from blurriness issues during a race
- Wide-shot camera angles which have a bigger impact in NASCAR than in other North American leagues which leads to a negatively affect on the air time brands’ receive
- On-track driver performance is critical -- as network cameras focus on the top drivers for nearly 50% of each race
In the last part of this content series, Relo will provide advice on how to optimize sponsor integrations and creative execution on the cars, as well as insights on what type of content works best on social media and how to further generate value there.
Contrasting Color Schemes and Clean Sponsor Integrations are Among the Strategic Adjustments Required to Optimize Viewability
As a rights holder trying to generate value for your partners or a brand whose goal is to maximize your ROI, you have likely asked yourself:
“Is it possible (and if it is possible), how can I possibly generate more brand value?”
That one is a bit of a leading question, isn’t it? Of course it is possible, and there must always be an appetite for improvement and innovation. As such, we have put together a list of recommended guidelines that should be considered when looking to maximize overall brand exposure quality. Check them out:
- Leverage contrasting color schemes to ensure brands stand out on car liveries
- Implement clean brand integrations - overly elaborate creatives have a negative impact on overall viewability given the limited size of the assets
- Prioritize text - possibly short and bold - rather than complex logos
- Stack creatives to better leverage all the space available on a specific asset
- Implement secondary brand colors and creatives if they ensure better viewability
Why is it important to follow these guidelines, and what type of impact do they have on the quality of brand exposures? To best answer these questions, let’s have a look at some visual examples of good and not-so-good creatives. We'll start with brand integrations which could be improved.
Tight camera angles in NASCAR should typically lead to high quality brand exposures, however that is not the case here for Food4lLess. Despite the close camera angle here, the Food4Less logo is almost not visible on the yellow hood in the frame above. This is partially due to the sunlight, but the root cause is the color scheme implemented: the blue portion of the creative does not stand out on the yellow livery (not to mention the “4” in yellow).
Another example in the frame above is Bass Pro Shops, where on the hood of the 3rd car faces a similar issue. The notably elaborate (which while typically recognizable) brand creative clashes with the color scheme on the hood of the vehicle. The number of contrasting colors battling each other plays a clear role in the mostly illegible creative.
We’ve now walked through two of the more common brand activation pitfalls, but what does a great brand integration look like?
Kroger (Hood) and Sunny D (Sides) follow many of the guidelines above: clean creatives, bold text and very good color contrast. All of which evidently lead to the two exposures on the #47 car, being considerably more recognizable than that of the formerly mentioned Food4Less and Bass Pro Shops.
However, that's not to say there isn't room for further improvement for Kroger and Sunny D respectively. At that point, the brand and rights holder must weigh their primary objectives: is the name most important, do we want to show off the product, etc. If there was interest in maximizing each of the logo marks further, Kroger and Sunny D could explore nixing the shopping cart and juice bottle to further amplify their logos in the available space.
Opportunity to Increase Brand Value Goes Beyond the Broadcast, and Over to the Social Media Universe
Gone are the days where social media strategy was an afterthought to your overall sponsor activation strategy. NASCAR teams and brands should consider social media the land of abundant opportunity – a medium to augment broadcast television values.
Moreover, social media offers a strategic advantage over broadcast television: teams have complete control of the content they publish on their official channels, which Relo refers to as Owned Accounts. For this reason, this analysis is focused on such Owned Accounts.
To best leverage social media and maximize value, It is critical - for both teams and their partners - to understand what platform and type of content drive the most interest and value. Let’s start from the platform.
TikTok is on the Rise From an Engagements and Value per Post Standpoint
One specific social network where teams and brands should focus on is also the one with the most buzz around it: you guessed it...TikTok.
The popular platform generated the most value on a per post average, mostly due to the incredibly high engagement rate compared to the other platforms. This is not too surprising, as Relo has identified a similar trend in MLB, NBA and NHL. In those leagues, TikTok posts published by teams received between a 5x-7x higher engagement rate than the second most engaging platform on average.
The chart above displays the average Sponsor Media Value and the number of Engagements that NASCAR rights holders generate on their official social media channels
While engagements are a key element in driving value, it is worth to note that they are certainly not the only one metric to focus on. Facebook posts generated a higher SMV than Instagram on average, but had a lower engagement rate. The reason for this is that Facebook received nearly 3x more impressions and video views than Instagram on average - not surprising as Facebook accounts have around 1.5x more followers.
We know that the above data can be a bit overwhelming all at once. Whether you are a brand or a team, you are likely pondering this question:
"Okay...so what? What can I, and what should I do with this data?”
Relo has the answer:
- Teams should increase their activity on TikTok, which now accounts for just nearly 5% of social posts
- Given the higher engagement rate Instagram drives, teams should consider mapping out cross-platform activations between Facebook and Instagram to increase their followers on the latter
“Behind The Scenes” Content Typically Drives a Higher Engagement Rate Than Other Social Posts
As previously mentioned, there is a strong correlation between engagements and value on social media. Therefore, increasing the engagement rate should be a priority to further maximize value. Understanding what type of content unlocks consistently higher engagement is step one to driving higher values.
After analyzing thousands of posts in the first half of the season alone, Relo concluded that the ten most engaging were all focused on “behind the scenes” content, which generally performs well across all major sports leagues.
A clear trend which Relo has examined is that avid and casual fans are interested in viewing pit stop content, varying from informative posts on refueling, to eye-catching posts of worn down tires.
To maximize incremental value on social media, it is critical for brands to be featured in as many “behind the scenes” posts as possible. Not only that, it is important that sponsor integrations are as high-quality as possible, and this can be achieved through the implementation of dedicated Branded Content activations.
Branded Content is a Premium Digital Asset with Abundant Opportunity to Continually Drive More Value
Relo recommends matching “behind the scenes” posts with Branded Content exposures as these are usually clearly visible and recognizable due to their nature of graphic overlays. Ideal MVP scores for Branded Content integrations should fall in the 40-50% range.
The chart above showcases the average MVP score that teams from US Major Leagues receive when they launch Branded Content activations on their official social media channels
However, NASCAR brands' MVP scores on average lagged behind that of other North American league counterparts, clocking in at just 30%. This presents an opportunity for NASCAR teams and brands alike to raise the bar for what is possible via Branded Content activations on social media.
The two graphics above showcase a divergence in quality of Branded Content activations. NFL teams are the most effective at launching high-quality Branded Content campaigns. Given the lack of sponsor integrations at a field level during games, NFL teams are aware that it is critical to leverage social media to generate value for their partners. Knowing this, the Dallas Cowboys made the above Pepsi exposure the cornerstone of their post.
On the other end, the NASCAR graphic presents too many logos. While they are easily recognizable, the multiple activations - including those on the car - diminish the share of voice for the primary brand logos featured.
But why is the number of brands such a key factor?
The answer is simple: the more brand exposures there are, the more dispersed the focus of the eyeballs looking at the post becomes. This is the main reason why Pepsi received a 47% MVP score in the Dallas Cowboys’ “Player of the Game” post, while Food4Less and Slim Jim both received only a 25% MVP. For this reason, Relo typically recommends brands having dedicated Branded Content campaigns.
For the same reason, the Branded Content integrations above received MVP scores close to 50%: both images only had one Branded Content exposure each. Also, the number of brands visible on the car was significantly lower compared to the previous NASCAR image.
It is also worth noting that share of voice does not depend on the type of content featured in the post, but exclusively on the number of brands visible - the two Branded Content integrations above were impacted by share of voice to the same degree.
Continual Innovation Leads to More Fruitful and Collaborative Partnerships
Mastering sponsor activations can be challenging in NASCAR, but addressing these challenges head on is a recipe to a more symbiotic rights holder / partner relationship. Continually optimizing and making strategic adjustments where necessary (both across broadcast and social media) will continually yield stronger results and ultimately help all parties involved.
Connect with us to learn more about how you can leverage Relo's sponsorship intelligence to inform your future decision making.