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NASCAR and online advertising

 

Chris Munizza
 
 
I am sure that most of you know twice a year NASCAR comes to town. On April 13, the NRA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race took place at Texas Motor Speedway.
There was a variety of events and appearances over the week culminating with a Friday and Saturday night race. So you may ask yourself, “What does that have to do with online advertising?”
If you missed the running of the Daytona 500 last year you missed a unique race and a powerful example of social media. The race was red-flagged or stopped with 40 laps to go. There was a very bad wreck and it took a long time to clean it up and actually repair the track.
When NASCAR red-flags a race the drivers normally stay in their cars. If it is an extended cleanup, officials will let the drivers get out of their cars. Brad Keselowski, last year’s Sprint Cup champion, decided to bring his smartphone with him in the car during the race. I am not sure why, certainly he wasn’t texting and driving. Whatever the reason, it made for some interesting reporting from his Twitter account.
At the start of the night it was reported that he had an estimated 55,000 Twitter followers. By the end of the night I saw that he had over 205,000 followers. When the drivers got out he started tweeting comments and pictures from the track. The commentators got word of what he was doing and his account blew up.
I know that we all don’t have the ability to tweet from the running of the Daytona 500 but you get the idea.
It makes for an interesting story but what does that even mean for a normal business? Why should you care? Well, here are some statistics you may be interested in:
• In the U.S. alone, 82 percent of adults use the Internet, with the typical user spending an average of 38.8 hours per month online.
• Twenty-two percent of that time is spent on social networking and 20 percent on reading content.
• Since 2005, social networking has been the fastest-growing online activity.
• Consumers spend an average of 36 minutes per month on Twitter via desktop computer.
• Consumers spend a growing amount of time on social media sites via mobile devices.
• Twitter gets about 114 minutes per month via mobile phones and browsers.
• The overall spending on social media advertising was estimated to reach $4.8 billion in 2012. This is up 23.6 percent from 2011.
Again, you may be asking yourself, “Why should I care?” Well, whether you like it or not there is a conversation going on every day online. As a business you have a chance to be involved or not. The challenge you are going to run into is that this is becoming more of the standard conversation.
So let’s take Brad’s story for example. By the end of that race he was going to be involved in 270 percent more conversations than he was before the race. His name, his brand and his sponsor are all benefitting from access to those conversations. That is just the immediate conversations. What about retweets by other people and responses back from Brad? Are you getting the impact now? What would it mean for your brand to be in front of that many people on a recurring basis? Are you currently paying for that in some form of traditional media like TV, radio or billboards?
Twitter is only one of the outlets for your company or brand to be involved in the conversation.
Chris Munizza is an Internet marketing consultant at ReachLocal. Chris.munizza@reachlocal.com

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