Slow mobile pages will hurt your ranking: Google

Advertisers have until July to get their mobile pages up to speed.

Starting in July, Google will include page speed among the factors that determine mobile search optimisation and by extension, page ranking in search results.

Advertisers and agencies have six months to optimise digital assets for mobile-based search, with existing issues identified by the updated PageSpeed Insights tool.

Page speed has been a ranking factor for desktop-based search since 2010.

”We encourage developers to think broadly about how performance affects a user’s experience of their page and to consider a variety of user-experience metrics,” said Doantam Phan, a Google product manager, in an announcement post.

While slow sites with quality content still stand a chance, over time page speed will outweigh content strategy as a measure of a site’s value to a user, the company said.

Google is rewarding advertisers and agencies that create digital assets that allow users of Google Search to go from query to answer in the shortest time possible while retaining relevance.

Advertisers and agencies that intend to get ahead of the update rollout can optimize their digital assets by drubbing Google’s benchmarks for mobile page speed. They can start by cross-checking mobile page speed with TestMySite, a free Google tool. The free report includes a mobile friendliness report and a mobile speed score.

Specifically, Google said advertisers and agencies will need to beat three benchmarks:

1. Drop the request count below 50

Google recommends keeping requests (the number of times the browser has to call on the server for information while loading the page) below 50. The minification of images, Javascript, and CSS are great starting points.

2. Reduce page weight below 500 kilobytes

The main culprit for data-heavy pages is images. WordPress sites rely on Smush Image Compression, while others use Compressor IO, among other tools. Reducing the image load is critical for sites meant to deliver a commercial outcome, but the irony is that more images drive faster conversions. While image optimisation is a tedious task ignored by most, image compression is relatively less time-intensive.

3. Dwindle TTFB

TTFB, or time to the first byte, is a measure of how fast a site sends the first byte of data to a browser once a request is made. With numerous requests and black-hat redirects plaguing the ecosystem, this is one of the toughest pain points to correct, even more so considering that the user’s internet speed also makes an impact. For WordPress sites, W3 Total Cache helps a browser store site data better.

Advertisers and agencies can take comfort in the fact that most websites are nowhere near the halfway point of Google’s benchmarks, which means there is plenty of time to get ahead of the competition and get indexed as a mobile-optimised site that has steadily implemented and maintained best practices.

Source: campaignasia.com; 18 Jan 2018

Facebook Tweaks Newsfeed to Favour Content From Friends, Family

IN NOVEMBER, FACEBOOK CEO Mark Zuckerberg started sprinkling a new phrase, or perhaps a new idea, into his quarterly call with investors. “It’s important to remember that Facebook is about bringing people closer together and enabling meaningful social interactions,” he said. Research, he continued, demonstrates that interactions with friends and family on social media is particularly “meaningful.” The goal of his service is to “encourage meaningful social interactions” and to connect in ways that lead to “meaningful interactions” and let us “build meaningful relationships.”

Clearly something was up. In December, Facebook researchers worked the word “meaningful” seven times into a blog post about the value of social media. “We want Facebook to be a place for meaningful interactions,” they wrote, explaining findings that the passive use of social media can be alienating but active use can be beneficial.

Thursday, Zuckerberg more fully explained how this quest for meaning will be worked into the core of its platform: Facebook is changing the algorithm that powers its newsfeed, the service at its core and the mechanism that increasingly determines how news and information spread throughout the world.

“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness,” Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post. “But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses, brands and media – is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other. Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

The upshot: The newsfeed algorithm will now give less weight to the popularity of posts and more weight to posts that encourage users to interact and comment. One of the big criticisms of Facebook in the past 18 months is that the content we see in the newsfeed is driven too much by Facebook’s obsession with persuading people to spend as much time as possible on Facebook. The more time people spend in the newsfeed, the more ad revenue Facebook makes. That may be good for Facebook, but, according to an increasingly loud chorus of critics, it’s not so good for humanity.

That’s changing. Popularity may have been the most important indicator when Facebook was small. But as Facebook has become the world’s news and information network, it’s helped make the newsfeed feel like a third-rate tabloid that not only drives the most extreme and polarizing information to the top our feeds, but encourages creators of that content to be more extreme and polarizing to get noticed.

Now, instead of optimizing for how much time users spend on Facebook, Zuckerberg says he wants the time users do spend be “time well spent.” What that means, according to Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s newsfeed boss, is that video, news, and other content from formal Facebook pages will get less prominence than posts from friends and family. It means that the number of comments on a post will count more than the number of Likes, and it means that posts where people have taken the time to write long comments will get more weight than those with only short comments. News and video will continue to appear in newsfeed, but the number of friends sharing it will matter more than its overall popularity.

Newsfeed’s algorithm works by looking at every post you could see—whether posted by a friend, a publisher, a celebrity or a political candidate you follow—and then crunching the zillions of signals you’ve already given Facebook through your past use. The story is then given a score based on how relevant Facebook thinks that information is to you. The algorithm tries to assess things like whether the content is a photo, or a video. Is it about a family member or is it a news article you found on your own? The more Facebook thinks you will interact with that content, the higher its score.

Source: wired.com; 11 Jan 2018

Using the same tune is better for adverts, according to new study by Goldsmiths

Using the same piece of music in adverts year after year helps people to like and remember your brand, according to a new study of brain responses led by scientists at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Until now there was no hard data to suggest whether it was better to stick to the same piece of music across consecutive advertising campaigns or change to a fresh tune for each new campaign.

The study also found that classical music was rated more favourably than other musical genres when used consistently across multiple adverts. Radio adverts using classical music in this way were especially successful at getting people’s brains to ‘engage’ with the brand or product, according to measurements of brain activity.

A report of the research will be published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics.

The researchers investigated whether using music ‘strategically’, consistently across advertising campaigns, or ‘tactically’, changing music across campaigns, had a greater positive impact on participants.

16 volunteers took part and were exposed to 27 radio adverts and 27 TV adverts with one third of adverts featuring ‘strategic’ music, one third ‘tactical’ music, with the rest having no music. The volunteers wore EEG (electroencephalogram) caps with electrodes attached that recorded electrical signals generated by their brains as they listened to or watched the adverts. After each advert they were asked to rate how much they liked it, how familiar it was, how much they liked the music, and how well the music fitted the brand or product advertised.

Joydeep Bhattacharya, Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths and lead author of the study, said: “Not only did using music strategically, using the same tune across multiple adverts, boost the ratings people gave each advert regarding how much they liked them and how familiar they were, but this strategic use was also associated with music being a ‘better fit’ for the advertised brands. We didn’t just see an increase in these subjective ratings. EEG recordings showed that ‘strategic’ music was associated with more power in high frequency brain waves, the beta and gamma oscillations, compared to ‘tactical’ music and especially over frontal brain regions. Previous studies suggest that the boost of these brain waves is a signature of reward networks ‘lighting up’ and we believe it demonstrates an enhanced engagement which could make an advert more effective at influencing people’s behaviour.”

The research also suggests that the effects of strategic music are more impactful and immediate in the brain for radio adverts than for TV adverts.

Co-author Richard Lewis (PhD), MD of Neuroformed Ltd, said: “The most satisfying thing about this particular study is that the data clearly supports strategic use of the same tune across different ad campaigns, as opposed to switching the music for each new advert. It’s good to finally have some clarity on this prickly issue. During the exit interviews many volunteers mentioned that, for the ads that have been using the same music over many years, the brand would often instantly spring to mind as soon as the first few notes had played, even before any brand imagery had appeared on screen. Such is the power of music to trigger brand associations when used strategically.”

According to these findings, the researchers say advertisers should select a backing track carefully and stick to it over consecutive campaigns so that it becomes the ‘common thread’ associated with a brand even as other aspects of new TV and radio adverts change. Of course the big challenge, they say, is to pick a tune that will stand the test of time.

Source: marcommnews.com; 17 Jan 2018

Shell – On top of the world #makethefuture

Shell’s latest ad didn’t stick to the usual format. To reach as many young people as possible, it launched a music video featuring five pop stars from across the globe including Jennifer Hudson, Pixie Lott, Luan Santana, Yemi Alade and Monali Thakur.

But they don’t just sing along to Imagine Dragon’s ‘On Top of The World’, they also show off five cleaner energy initiatives, such as gravity lights, which are affordable and safe lights that can be powered by a bag of rocks?

 

Source: marketingweek.com; 18 Jan 2018

YouTube Is Finally Addressing Brand Safety Fears With These 3 Changes

Creators are getting new guidelines

After nearly a year of complaints from advertisers concerned about their ads appearing alongside questionable content and a slew of its biggest influencers going rogue on the platform, YouTube is revamping its policies for how creators make money off of their videos.

Over the past year, YouTube has tweaked several of its policies, upping the requirement for channels to hit 10,000 views, for example, and adding more staffers to vet videos. Still, brand safety has quickly become a more mainstream problem for brands. As of just last week at CES, execs were quick to point to brand safety concerns as among their biggest gripes with Google and Facebook.

“While we took several steps last year to protect advertisers from inappropriate content, we know we need to do more to ensure that their ads run alongside content that reflects their values,” wrote Paul Muret, vp of display, video and analytics at YouTube, in a blog post.

Here are the three steps YouTube is taking:

1. Buh-bye programmatic premium ads

Google Preferred, YouTube’s program that allows brands to only run ads against the most popular 5 percent of content, is billed as the site’s top-tier program for the its most premium content.

While those ad buys are limited to a small section of video channels, creators’ individual videos are not vetted. That can be a problem for brands: Think Logan Paul’s controversial “Suicide Forest” video that got the star kicked out of Google Preferred or PewDiePie’s anti-Semitic messages that caused brands to back away from his videos.

To avoid such problems, YouTube is now manually screening each individual video for Google Preferred channels, which should cut down on the number of lone videos that make their way through YouTube’s programmatic pipes. According to Google, Google Preferred channels and videos in the U.S. will be vetted by mid-February and will be finished globally by the end of March.

2. Moving beyond views

Until now, creators were given permission to be part of YouTube’s Partner Program—in other words, how people make money off of clips—based on how many views a channel had.

Although YouTube did increase the requirement to 10,000 total views in April, “it’s been clear over the last few months that we need the right requirements and better signals to identify the channels that have earned the right to run ads,” Muret wrote.

Now YouTube channels will need to amass 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in a one-year period to run ads. Both new and existing channels will have to meet the new requirements, which go into effect on Feb. 20.

In addition to views, YouTube staff will also monitor spam, community strikes and flags of abuse as qualifiers for whether or not a channel can make money off of clips.

According to Google, 99 percent of the channels that will be affected by the new guidelines make less than $100 from advertising every year, meaning the vast majority of channels affected do not make much money off of YouTube.

3. Tiered media buys

YouTube is rolling out a three-tiered system for brand safety that allows brands more transparency into where their ads appear.

One option caters to brands that are sensitive about where their ads appear. On the other end, a broad-based option lets brands buy ads across a bigger section of videos. The middle option—which is the default option—plays between, with targeted ads that still reach a significant number of channels.

Whether or not the changes will cause brands to pour more money and trust into Google has yet to be seen, but agencies see the moves as important steps from one of the world’s biggest advertising platforms.

Source: adweek.com; 17 Jan 2018

This chart shows how much more expensive ‘brand-safe’ video ads are versus YouTube videos

A number of global brands pulled their advertising campaigns from YouTube after finding their ads had appeared next to extremist content.

Google, which owns YouTube, has vowed to tackle the issue by working on toughening up its policies, making its advertiser controls easier to use, and hiring more staff to police content deemed unsafe by advertisers.

However, as this illustrative chart from Enders Analysis shows, at least some of the blame for such ad misplacement falls on the ad buyers themselves:

Image 1

The chart demonstrates that the cheapest ads – bought using automated systems on ad exchanges that serve ads to a swathe of sites across the web – carry the most risk, whereas ads that have been directly sold by a media owner – and particularly broadcasters – are deemed the most safe.

“YouTube Preferred” – a service where advertisers pay a premium to only appear against the most popular videos – also appears quite high up the chart. But most advertisers simply buy YouTube ads at scale, via ad exchanges like Google’s AdX.

As Google executives themselves explained, 400 hours of user-generated content are uploaded to YouTube every minute, making it extremely difficult to monitor which content is safe for brands to advertise against and which isn’t.

In a research note, Enders says: “The basic idea of ‘you get what you pay for’ in programmatic video advertising, either in media costs or agency planning and service fees (or both, depending on the type of media), is something we believe that many advertisers have yet to fully incorporate into their strategy for media buying.”

Business Insider took a deeper look at the real motivations behind the YouTube advertiser boycott. We spoke to more than a dozen ad executives who suggested the boycott smacks of “opportunism” and a chance to gleefully bash the biggest player in the online ad industry. Others said the disquiet shows just how little some marketers understand about the mechanics of the online advertising market.

Source: businessinsider.my; 25 Mar 2017

Trends for 2018: Marketers will find the best strategy for voice

As voice technology grows in popularity brands will need to ensure any communication they have with consumers hits the right note.

If there is one piece of technology that has captured marketers’ imagination this year it is voice recognition. Amid the rising popularity of voice-controlled devices, including Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, brands have jumped on the voice bandwagon – coming up with their own ‘skills’ (what Amazon calls voice-driven apps on the Alexa platform) and even, in the case of Burger King, using an ad to trigger voice searches on a viewer’s computer.

These are all valid ways of thinking about voice. Voice offers a new and innovative way to reach consumers that technologically advanced brands can take advantage of.

Domino’s Pizza, for example, sees voice as a way to sell more pizza and so has enabled customers to order directly through Alexa using voice. The brand’s digital boss Nick Dutch admits it isn’t seeing huge sales from the channel now but it expects to in future and is “preparing for the fact this technology will be something people use”.

However, perhaps the bigger transformation for brands is in search. Google claims 20% of mobile search queries submitted via its app are already done using voice. Meanwhile, comScore estimates 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020.

That will have a big impact on search results and therefore SEO strategy. Instead of consumers seeing a long list of results and being able to pick the most suitable one, most voice results will probably serve up just one answer.

The types of search queries are different too. When typing, people generally input queries such as ‘weather’ but in voice they might ask ‘do I need an umbrella today?’. That offers more context and therefore more chance for brands to show up relevant content, but that requires a change of approach.

Source: marketingweek.com; 11 Dec 2017

WeChat opens its closed ecosystem for brands

A new feature called “brand zone” allows brands to sell directly to users even if they aren’t followers. Luxury brands are approaching the new function in different ways. Photo courtesy: CuriosityChina

A new feature called “brand zone” allows brands to sell directly to users even if they aren’t followers. Luxury brands are approaching the new function in different ways.

The new feature signals Tencent’s ambition to make WeChat an all-encompassing digital platform, connecting social media marketing, e-commerce, and payments.

WeChat has made a fundamental change to the way it works.

China’s most popular social media app has always limited its posts’ visibility to the sharer’s friends, or an official account’s followers. While this closed ecosystem limits the potential for content to go viral, it has been an asset for the app’s parent company, Tencent, and for users, who have been able to share more sensitive content among smaller groups without incurring the wrath of the government.

During the rollout of version 6.6.1 last December, however, WeChat quietly launched a new feature named brand zone, which allows brands to display their official WeChat accounts, boutique stores, and other customized content to users who don’t subscribe to their content. Instead, users can search directly for the brands they want to visit.

The new feature signals Tencent’s ambition to make WeChat an all-encompassing digital platform, connecting social media marketing, e-commerce, and payments.

According to the China-based digital marketing agency CuriosityChina, the new brand zone gathers all of a brand’s activity on WeChat in one place.

So far, a dozen major international brands have already utilized this new feature, with more than half of them being luxury and premium brands. Early adopters include Cartier, Gucci, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Longchamp, Michael Kors, Swarovski, Montblanc, and Lancôme.

On December 21, the official WeChat account of the American affordable luxury label Michael Kors, for example, released a post introducing the brand zone feature to followers. At the time this article was written, the post was viewed more than 14,000 times.

“This new function will allow brands to conduct flexible traffic control within the brand zone as it could be redirected from one section to another. [It is] also a good first step to a traffic monetization,” said Alexis Bonhomme, the co-founder and general manager of CuriosityChina.

A deep analysis of how each brand is utilizing this new feature shows different approaches to leverage and monetizes the boutique store function.

The Italian luxury powerhouse Gucci, for example, redirects consumers who land on the boutique store to its official Chinese e-commerce website, which was launched last July. So does Louis Vuitton, who also opened the first Chinese direct-to-sales website last year.

The prestige jewellery brand Cartier, on the other hand, has decided to redirect the traffic to its HTML5 (built-in web browser) WeChat stores to generate direct sales. And French fashion label Longchamp has linked the boutique store back to its mini program, which allows consumers to customize and purchase their signature handbags.

Similarly, the use of the customized section under the brand zone differs from brand to brand. Cartier once again directs traffic to its WeChat web browser stores, while Gucci sends consumers to its website to view new products, and Michael Kors gives visitors the option of customizing a handbag.

The launch of the brand zone on WeChat is a breakthrough move that greatly strengthens the ability of the app to assist brands’ sales. The arrival of high-end luxury players including Gucci and Louis Vuitton, who have long refrained from working directly with the domestic e-commerce sites like Alibaba and JD.com, further showcases the competitiveness of the retail ecosystem that Tencent has been building.

That media and individuals don’t have the same ability to broadcast to non-followers gives some indication of the direction China is heading in 2018.

Source: campaignasia.com; 15 Jan 2018

Amazon Eyes Video Advertising Expansion

Amazon is hoping to more aggressively take on Google and Facebook in the digital advertising space, and video advertising may play a key part of that expansion.

According to CNBC, Amazon hopes to increase its share of the search marketplace, as well as in video advertising, two areas where Google and Facebook are dominant.

An advertising technology executive who had spoken to the shopping giant about its video ad plans confirmed to Digital News Daily that Amazon was serious about making a play for video ad dollars, as well as expanding its video capabilities more generally.

Right now, Amazon sells video advertising for its simulcasts of NFL “Thursday Night Football Games,” though almost all of its Amazon Prime Video offerings remain ad-free.

Earlier this year, reports said Amazon had considered offering its Prime Video shows for free, supported by advertising, but the company denied that at the time.

Still, as Amazon expands its video offerings, including potential live sports and other programming, it could significantly increase its video ad inventory.

A more interesting opportunity for video advertising lies in the platforms the company controls. Amazon’s Echo Show and Fire TV products both serve over-the-top video to customers, and both could serve as a gateway for delivering video advertising.

The Fire TV stick was the number-two-selling product on Amazon this holiday season, the company said in a press release this week. Though Amazon declined to give any specific sales figures, eMarketer estimated that the company had approximately 36 million TV-connected devices in use as of July 2017, which suggests that it could have sold millions more devices this holiday season.

Just as Roku is leveraging its installation base to serve video ads, Amazon can do the same for Fire TV and Echo Show devices.

According to CNBC, Amazon is also pitching marketers on custom branded-content videos that it could run on its own platforms, or offer through ad marketplaces.

Despite its size, Amazon remains something of an underdog in the video advertising space. Google’s YouTube remains the 800-pound gorilla of free streaming video, while Facebook has invested heavily in its Watch platform to grow its video business.

Source: mediapost.com; 28 Dec 2017

F1’s commercial boss on building a brand beyond racing

F1 wants to offer sponsors more flexibility and widen its appeal through a focus on eSports and a review of the role of so-called ‘grid girls’.

When Liberty Media completed the $8bn deal to acquire Formula One at the start of 2017, one of the first things it did was recruit Murray Barnett as the sport’s first head of global sponsorship and commercial partnerships.

Under the previous ownership, F1 lacked any kind of marketing department and derived most of its revenue from TV rights and race hosting fees, with owner Bernie Ecclestone cutting sponsorship deals personally. This was an outdated model that wasn’t at all joined up with the sport’s teams or drivers, and prevented F1 from ever hitting the commercial heights of other sports like football despite its global appeal.

Each F1 race can have up to 300,000 fans attending, with 80 million people watching live at home. The sport estimates it has 150 million global fans.

Liberty knew that under Ecclestone’s 40-year reign as F1’s commercial supremo, the sport didn’t make the most of its sponsorship opportunities. And Barnett, an experienced marketer poached in March from his role as chief commercial officer at World Rugby, has been tasked with leading the evolution.

When asked by Marketing Week what the biggest changes have been so far, Barnett confidently replies: “As a brand we have become more fan centric and we’re now doing everything through the prism of a fan, or a potential fan.

“Recently there was a young fan seen on TV crying in the stands because his hero Kimi Raikkonen had crashed and been eliminated. We brought him down to hang out with Kimi and go into the pits. This kind of emotive viral marketing activity would never have happened before and it made headlines globally.”

He adds: “I don’t want to talk too much about Ecclestone’s time, but our view now is to try to approach sponsors with a ‘yes, why not?’ attitude as opposed to a ‘no, I don’t understand the question’ kind of attitude. If they want to host a fashion show during a Grand Prix, we’ll make it happen, rather than shut the idea down.

“Nowadays, you have to work a lot harder to prove sponsor value. In the old days, it was just about throwing a few hospitality tickets around or putting some signage on a car. Now brands want authentic integration into the sport and that takes more time and effort to build and deliver.”

A more joined-up approach

The sport recently launched its first eSports league

For the first time, F1 now has account executives looking after each of its individual sponsors. They also have access to a portal with up-to-date information on F1 fans so they can target the audience more effectively.

Barnett cites Heineken as an example of a sponsor that has benefited from these changes, with the beer brand standing out for its experiential activity including hosting popular pool parties during the Monza Grand Prix.

“The way I look at it is someone should be able to attend a Grand Prix and for nine hours not see one bit of racing and still leave entertained,” adds Murray. “This is what I am telling brands.”

The sport faces a unique challenge in that it has to build the profile of the umbrella brand as well the profile of the 20 tracks used in its races and the 10 teams. However, Barnett says things are becoming far more joined-up: “We see ourselves as one of 31 shareholders in F1. There’s 10 teams, 20 tracks and us over at HQ.

“When we go to see commercial partners, we say to them if we are not right for you centrally, let us give you an intro to the teams or the drivers to build a relationship with them. If one of us grows, the whole sport benefits.”

Appealing to women
But who are the fans that sponsors are keen to reach via F1? According to GlobalWebIndex, which analysed the brand engagement levels of 51,280 global F1 fans, the sport can claim to have a cross-generational appeal, with consistently high scores across different age groups.

Of the total F1 audience, 83% shop online each month, with 50% saying they tend to buy with the brands they see advertised during races. F1 fans spend an average of two hours a day on social media, with the study claiming 38% of internet users are F1 fans and one in eight of its millennial fans choosing to watch races online.

But while the opportunities to market to this group are obvious, there are still areas where F1 is lacking. One of the biggest is the sport’s gender divide, with the same study showing men are 50% more likely to watch F1 than women.

This is not helped by the sport’s outdated use of promotional models who act as ‘grid girls’. The practice effectively reduces women to eye candy and is at odds with the progress seen in other sports such as football.


F1’s sponsorship boss says it needs to become more ‘progressive’ towards women

Barnett insists F1 is reviewing the use of grid girls, but he won’t commit to axing them altogether despite mounting pressure to do just that.
“We’re 100% committed to looking into grid girls and making them a more relevant part of the competition rather than just holding a board and standing next to a car,” he says.

“We want to make them fully integrated into the programme and change the perception of what their involvement in the sport is. We haven’t quite cracked what this will look like, but we’ve recognised we need to become more progressive there.”

He cites F1’s Dare to be Different programme, which encourages women to get involved in a career in car engineering as a positive milestone. He says there’s also a fierce debate internally about whether to host a women’s only F1 competition.

He explains: “There is a fierce debate about whether we should have a separate female F1 competition or to keep it fully integrated and let women drivers take part in a mixed gender competition like some have done in the past.

“We have a lot of women in senior management positions at F1, so we’re not as bad as you think, but there’s definitely a lot of room to grow.”

Rebranding and placing faith in eSports
In August, F1 launched its first eSports programme in partnership with developer Codemasters, which creates the official F1 video games. And Barnett has high hopes for this eSports league.

“I’d say, in five or 10 years’ time, the professional gamers will be able to compete against the real-life drivers in real time – one with a controller and one in a car,” he says. “My eldest son is 10-years-old and for all the will in the world he won’t sit for three hours watching a Grand Prix live. However, he loves gaming so eSports means we can connect to this young generation in a more engaging way.”

Barnett is working closely with ad agency Wieden+Kennedy and experiential agency CSM Sport & Entertainment to rebrand F1 ahead of the new season. In November, it unveiled a new logo that it said was inspired by both Coca-Cola and Starbucks’ bids to create signage that stands out more in the digital era. It was a bold move considering the previous brand logo had been the same for 23 years.

This rebranding will be followed by a new graphic package for F1’s television production, a new web platform, a live and a non-live over-the-top TV platform and ‘new social capabilities.’ And one area Barnett says F1’s storytelling will change is in how it treats social purpose and the sport’s impact on the environment.

He explains: “We’re looking at things like carbon off-setting for F1 as an organisation, but it’s also one of the best kept secrets that F1 is actually an incredibly lean engine. We have 50% engine recovery, 1.6 litre hybrid engines, 1,000 break horsepower – people tell me this is astonishing.

“I don’t want to talk negatively about Formula E, but the power of their batteries has to come from somewhere. F1 as a sport can be sustainable and good for the environment so we need to tell that story more often.”

Ultimately, Barnett wants F1 to get to the stage where the logo “triggers an emotion that means different things to different people like Nike’s ‘Just Do It’.”

He concludes: “There’s so many opportunities if you want to sponsor football but if you want to go into motorsport, there’s only one place to be and that’s F1. We want to put the spectacle into spectacular and make this less of a corporate brand that’s more about having fun.

“It is going to take a long time for brands to change their perception of what F1 is [because of the old commercial model] and actually give us consideration, I know that. But we need to have patience and recognise that if we keep offering compelling experiences for brands then others will start to take notice soon rather than later.”

Source: marketingweek.com; 9 Jan 2018