NASCAR, the racing series, is pursuing various innovative strategies as it seeks to generate consumer insights at the speed of the action as it develops on the track.

Norris Scott, NASCAR’s vice president/analytics and insights, discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2018 Data and Measurement Conference.

Even for a brand that, for decades, has relied on television as its principal point of engagement, he insisted, “You cannot underestimate the importance of social media. It continues to alter sports.” (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: NASCAR’s three tips for building new engagement for an old sport.)

As news breaks on the race track, fans immediately react online. And, at NASCAR, “We’ve actually seen a big impact from the new Facebook algorithm,” Scott said.

Scott’s social-media teams are organised by client: “We have a group of people that is managing our relationships with the tracks. They’re embedding themselves in that business,” he explained.

“We have people embedding themselves with our brand marketing group to understand what they’re doing on that side of the business. We serve our NASCAR clients themselves – the race teams and our sponsors.”

The goal behind these efforts, he asserted, is to “make our data actionable”. As case in point may be looking at whether increased consumption of content on social media cannibalises NASCAR’s TV and other digital output.

Working at speed is a challenge for NASCAR and its research partners. “Every week, something changes for us. And this has put a little bit of strain on a lot of the syndicated-research companies,” Scott said.

“They may be doing research every day, but they might not be reporting it as often. My boss, the CMO, doesn’t want to wait six months for a report. She needs the data now to action on.”

And NASCAR is nothing but motion when a race is underway. So, internally, Scott has beefed up the speed of reaction at specific events “with more live, or close-to-live, analysis, where we measure real causation on fan engagement.

“That sort of minute-by-minute analysis is going to be the future.” When the yellow flag is pulled back and that green flag drops to pick up a race, Scott’s Competition Group will be ready for the instant analysis NASCAR’s top marketing officer wants.

Because of its access to such instant analysis, “we’re unique in sports because of the role our fans play,” Scott told the ANA Orlando assembly. “They are truly the fabric of NASCAR.”

Sourced from WARC