Hookit’s Motorsport Insight | Driving sponsorship revenue growth for McLaren F1 team

BlackBook's official data partner analyses how McLaren is leveraging its social and digital media insights to drive sponsorship revenue growth.

Having won 183 races, 12 driver’s championships, and eight constructor’s championships, the McLaren Formula One team is one of the most successful and iconic teams in the series’ history.

Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda, and Lewis Hamilton are just some of the names to have driven for the team during its 56-year involvement in Formula One.

In recent years, McLaren has been expanding into other racing series, like the American open-wheel IndyCar series, the all-electric Formula E series and the sport for purpose championship Extreme E.

In 2017, McLaren began working with Hookit, a Kore Software company, when they needed a way to measure the fan engagement and value generated for the sponsors of their digital-led livery reveal.

Now, as the team’s official digital valuation partner, McLaren leverages these solutions to measure, evaluate, and help optimise the return on investment (ROI) for its sponsor-partners across digital and social media.

The challenge

With sponsorship revenues growing across the series, McLaren needed new ways to grow their sponsorship revenues to keep up with the other top teams.

Before exploring new revenue opportunities, though, McLaren needed a way to prove how their social and digital content campaigns would benefit current and potential sponsors’ brands.

Previously, McLaren was solely reporting on standard metrics like impressions, engagement, and video views.

These standard metrics didn’t provide a monetary value generated, limiting a true understanding of the ROI that a partnership with McLaren provided.

How Hookit helped

Initially, McLaren used Hookit to measure the impact of their livery announcement.

Later, the scope expanded to include real-time dashboards to track the impact for their sponsors year-round, as well as benchmark their content and fan engagement against other top teams across Formula One.

Adjusted ad value and impressions by post type

Adjusted ad value (AAV) is a measurement that assigns a dollar value to a social post based on how clearly and prominently a brand logo or mention is shown and the level of engagement the post receives.

With Hookit, McLaren calculated the AAV of their social media content that contained their brand partners’ logos, which provided them with a direct ROI metric.

They were also able to see where the highest brand value was achieved per platform and by post type.

This was key information for McLaren as they were able to explain to their partners where brand exposure was coming from, allowing them to tailor strategy advice and continue driving partnership value.

“Hookit is our one and only platform that we can gather an AAV score that assigns a media dollar value to a social media post,” said the McLaren Formula One team.

“This is incredibly useful for reporting back to our partners, as we can show them ROI and how much value we are bringing to their brand awareness.”

Impressions-based models for current partners

Leveraging Hookit data, McLaren showed their partners how their brand name travelled through their partnership together.

For example, there were times when they used Hookit to analyse which partner was getting the highest impressions and AAV on their posts.

McLaren found that a partner with branding on the driver’s visor performed well in both these metrics, as Formula One regularly posted videos from the on-board cameras showing driver reactions during a race.

Hookit helped McLaren understand not only the exposure created by the McLaren channels, but also the exposure in posts from the team’s ecosystem: the visibility of the partnership in posts from Formula One, media accounts, influences, and more.

Providing this type of insight to the brand helped the racing team renew sponsorship revenue for the following season.

“From an impressions point of view, we can see how far a campaign or piece of content has travelled in the full social ecosystem,” said McLaren.

“This is huge for our major campaigns like last season’s livery launches where we can see how many other social media accounts posted about the campaign and the engagement it received.”

Impressions-based models for new partners

For brands considering a partnership with McLaren, the team used Hookit to estimate the impressions they could deliver based on the sponsorship package selected.

For instance, a brand was considering becoming a partner on a certain package, so McLaren estimated results based on the performance of existing partners with similar packages.

An accurate estimate of partnership impact and value for brands helped drive new revenue opportunities for McLaren.

Benchmarking against competitors

Beyond sponsorship measurement and valuation, McLaren had access to real-time analytics and insights for comparative benchmarking.

Hookit provided sponsorship insights and comparative social media performance for some of their key competitors on the grid.

Other metrics that Hookit provided included video views, interactions, max advertising value, and promotional quality score.

This helped McLaren discover ways to optimise their partnerships with current brands, as well as improve proposals to potential new brand partners.

The McLaren marketing team also used benchmarking to optimise their digital content and marketing strategies and maximise sponsorship value across social and digital media.

The results

McLaren used the learnings from Hookit data to become a top three team in Formula One in terms of social media followers, fan engagement on social media posts, and sponsorship value generated on social media for brand partners at the end of the 2021 season.

They also shared insights from the Hookit data across the other McLaren race teams in other series (for example, IndyCar and Extreme E) to propel them up the social ranks in their own leagues.

Leveraging Hookit, the team have also gained learnings about which platforms and type of content generated the highest AAV for their partners.

Instagram Stories consistently generated the highest AAV scores above any other platform.

From 2020 to 2021, McLaren increased annual AAV for its partners by 86 per cent (US$72.7 million in 2020 to US$135 million in 2021).

The social and digital media insights powered by Hookit transformed McLaren into a valuable partner for brands, driving sponsorship revenue growth for the racing team.

To find out more about these types of insights and data for your organisation and sponsors, click here.

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