NASCAR Infographic Shows Potential, Not Effectiveness Of Social

by · December 6, 20137 comments

The folks at LaneTerralever recently put together an interesting infographic about NASCAR drivers and the success metrics around their social presences. The digital, advertising and public relations firm analyzed the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams’ websites and scored them in three main areas: Online popularity, social/mobile friendliness and social integration.

The results weren’t incredibly surprising with dominant title collector Jimmie Johnson coming in first. But it wasn’t the rankings that got me thinking when I saw the infographic. You can click on the small version here to see the larger sized-one or scroll down beneath the text to see the full version.

NASCAR Digital Cup InfographicLaneTerralever focused on whether or not the teams allow fans to socially share content from their website, whether the website was mobile friendly and how popular the driver’s social community was. The question that I asked when I saw this list was simple, “Do any of these metrics matter?”

Sure, there’s some merit to the size and resonance of a NASCAR driver’s audience. But the infographic’s introduction even indicates the reason for the evaluation is to determine if teams are maximizing the potential of their sponsorship dollars. So a driver has a big, vocal audience, or even a social and mobile-friendly presence. How does this help the driver’s sponsors?

Yes, there’s a natural resonance when fans refer to Johnson’s team as the “Lowe’s 48.” But that’s not what the research was focused on. It was focused on the mere ability of the website and community to be social. It wasn’t focused on how effective the driver’s were at moving sponsor conversations to their communities, or how effective the communities were at reverberating the sponsor messages.

If you want to know which NASCAR driver has the most social and mobile-friendly technology on their side, this infographic is very informative. But if you’re a sponsor wishing to know which driver is the best to spend your money with, it’s not very helpful.

We’ve reached a point in social marketing where we need to stop focusing on the presence of technology and instead look at the effectiveness in using it. If Jimmie Johnson’s fans don’t talk about Lowes, Kobal, The National Guard or any of the team’s other sponsors much, well … there’s not much reason to invest if driving social conversations is your goal.

NASCAR Digital Cup Infographic

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog and signature Explore events. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

    You hit the nail on the head Jason. I get so frustrated with agencies who brag about the number of “likes” or followers without any mention of the impact on the bottom line. Grading on the ability to socially share content and mobile friendly websites? Seems pretty basic but as accompanying blog post on Lane Terralever’s website points out, about half are missing it.

    I would love to see a study which monitored social media streams and reported brand recognition in relation to the driver. Maybe a survey using social media to measure NASCAR fans’ brand loyalty?

    I would be much more interested in seeing something that demonstrates that NASCAR sponsorship does (or does not) “activate them (NASCAR fans) as brand evangelists” than learning about social sharing buttons and mobile friendly websites.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Yeah, Jim. Part of the problem is that measuring brand recognition and effectiveness of advertising, PR, etc., takes actual work. You can’t do it with an analytics package. You have to go survey, etc. It’s time and resource prohibitive. I like what LaneTerralever did here, just wish we had a higher standard of what gets pushed out in an infographic.

      • http://www.quickeasyblog.com/ Jim

        Agreed. It takes a lot of work. And yes, way too many inforgraphics ultimately don’t live up to their visual impact.

      • http://occamsrazr.com Ike Pigott

        This ought to be emblazoned across the masthead of every social media marketing site for the next year:

        “I just wish we had a higher standard of what gets pushed out in an infographic.”

  • Jon Lewis

    Jason, thanks for the thoughtful post about the infographic. As an individual and as an agency we’re definitely in alignment that follower and fan counts are vanity metrics that can be misleading. No doubt that an engaged community, regardless of size, is much more important to a brand than sheer volume. But we also believe there are some important foundational issues that need to be addressed in order to activate a community before we start to measure the effectiveness of a content strategy.

    In many regards we’re still in the infancy of what digital marketing is going to become and more often than we would like, we run into brands that have worked with agencies and freelance professionals who make beautiful sites that don’t perform. In the case of the drivers in this study only 4 out of 26 had a mobile-friendly site. That’s not merely a hiccup in strategy, it’s an epic fail given the continued growth in mobile content consumption.

    We also agree that sponsor mentions by fans is a powerful way to gauge effectiveness of an online marketing campaign, but the idea of fans creating user generated content about a sponsor felt like a stretch so we looked at whether or not drivers are making it easy for fans to share content. After all, it’s a lot easier for a fan to share great content about a sponsor than it is to come up with a unique piece of content about that sponsor. And again, we were shocked at the limited amount of content that drivers allow people to share from their sites. Considering the sheer size of their fan bases, that’s a lot of lost opportunity.

    I’m right with you–the effectiveness of a content strategy is more important than the mere presence of a particular technology, but we continue to run into brands that are failing on the fundamentals. In those cases we’re forced to stop and build an infrastructure.

    Thanks again, Jason.

  • Elise Redlin

    First off, thanks for sharing the infographic, Jason! I’m so glad that our post/infographic inspired a good discussion on the difference between being technologically equipped and actually leveraging that technology to engage your social community. Our infographic was created with the intent of representing the first part of the discussion – the “potential” as your headline appropriately puts it. We here at LaneTerralever are the first to advocate real engagement with our clients but that wasn’t the actual scope for this particular content piece. Yes, these metrics do matter although we agree that they are not the be-all, end-all view of social media value. These metrics are relevant and do provide a useful bellwether to the follow-up data that you’ve mentioned. A follow-up content piece that covers the kind of in depth analysis you’re alluding to would be valuable, but probably not well-suited to the infographic format.

  • http://www.gmrwebteam.com/ Ajay Prasad

    Simple and convincing explanation of a difficult topic. I like your suggestion , tricks and way of writing the things. Thank you so much for sharing the infographic.