F1 Marketers must Leverage Search Intelligence to Drive Brand Visibility in the Run up to the Singapore GP

F1 Marketers must Leverage Search Intelligence to Drive Brand Visibility in the run up to the Singapore GP

Singapore, 22 September 2010 – Experian Hitwise, a leading online competitive intelligence service, has released data that reveals the need for Formula 1 (F1) brands to better drive their online marketing in the run up to the Singapore Grand Prix on 24 September.

Overall, it seems like F1 is not a key area of interest for Singaporeans, with searches for ‘F1’ only placed at 127 among other search terms made by Singapore Internet users in the week ending 11 September (Source: Experian Hitwise). This, coupled with search clicks for F1 at 22% and search clicks for Formula 1 at 3%, further points to the fact that marketers of Formula 1-related brands could take steps to improve their brand’s visibility in the local market.

A comparison of search data between 2009 and 2010 reveals that Singapore Internet users seem to favour using the term F1 over Formula 1 when searching for event-related information online. In addition, Singaporeans seem to be most preoccupied with F1 about three weeks prior to the event. This is then followed by a dip in searches before a peak during the actual event (See Figures 1 and 2)

Figure 1: Search term share of traffic in 2010

Search term share of traffic in 2010
Source: Experian Hitwise Singapore (September 2010)

Figure 2: Search term share of traffic in 2009

Search term share of traffic in 2009 
Source: Experian Hitwise Singapore (September 2010)

While terms like F1 and Formula 1 are top of mind for Singapore Internet users around the topic of motorsports, Experian Hitwise also found that key sponsor brands and F1-related brands including Singapore Tourism Board, Redbull, Johnnie Walker, and Shell did not turn up among search terms relating to motorsports. (Source: Experian Hitwise)

“Marketing for brands associated with niche events like F1 is tough business, as getting the right timelines for campaigns and reaching out to the right target audience through the right channels are factors that could make or break any online marketing campaign,” said Graeme Beardsell, Managing Director for South Asia, Experian. “We believe that F1 marketers, in order to achieve marketing success and improve advertising effectiveness per dollar spent, need to market forward with predictive insights from existing trends to improve audience engagement in the digital media space.”

Formula 1 global websites continue to capture the interest of Singapore Internet users

Singapore Internet users continue to visit global sites over local sites when they search for information around Formula 1, with only two of the top ten popular motorsports websites being from Singapore. While it is no surprise that the global Formula 1 site comes up on top in the list of most popular websites relating to motorsports, representing 30% of visits, it is interesting that the Singapore Formula 1 site sees a progressive increase in popularity in the weeks preceding the local event and taking 11% of visits (See Figure 3).

The popularity of the Singapore site, as compared to ESPN (10%), The Official Moto GP Website (7%) and Autosport.com (6%), represents a clear opportunity for F1 marketers to focus their efforts and reach out to their target audience through a local channel with locally relevant marketing campaigns to drive interest around the event, as well as increase visibility for their brands.

Figure 3: Most popular websites in Sports - Motorsport

Most popular websites in Sports - Motorsport
Source: Experian Hitwise Singapore (September 2010)

The interests of Singaporeans around Formula 1 also seems to be heavily influenced by the other F1 races happening around the world, evidenced by a 5% increase in upstream searches on Google between the weeks ending 21 August and 28 August (Source: Experian Hitwise), the latter timeframe being the weekend of the Formula 1 race in Belgium at Spa-Francorchamps, a popular track among F1 fans.

“When planning competitive online marketing strategies, F1 marketers need to be aware of both local and overseas trends that influence the search patterns of Singapore’s Internet users,” said Graeme. “In order to successfully leverage the online medium as a channel to increase sales and gain visibility with their target audience, marketers need to recognize the importance of leveraging existing customer data and tracking industry trends that influence their brands, to gain and maintain a strong online presence.”

Search and social networks take the lion’s share in Singapore

In the weeks leading up to the F1 event in Singapore, search engines and social networks maintained their popularity among Singapore Internet users, with Google Singapore driving the bulk of upstream traffic to F1-related websites in the weeks ending 4 September (31%) and 11 September (35%). Meanwhile, social networking sites like Facebook continued to drive almost 8% of downstream traffic over the same timeframe (See Figures 4 and 5).

Figure 4: Summary of Clickstream for Sports–Motorsport (Week ending 11 September)

Source: Experian Hitwise Singapore (September 2010)

Figure 5: Summary of Clickstream for Sports – Motorsport (Week ending 4 September)

Source: Experian Hitwise Singapore (September 2010)

Given the visual nature of Formula 1, Singapore Internet users also seem to gravitate towards online video platforms like YouTube, with the global online video community being part of the top five downstream websites visited by Singaporeans in the weeks ending 4 September (5%) and 11 September (11%).

“When armed with the right tools that provide intelligent and actionable information, marketers are empowered to successfully engage and influence the right target audience who are most likely become loyal and vocal brand evangelists in the future,” said Graeme. “With capabilities to help businesses convert data into insights, Experian Hitwise can play a vital role in helping F1 marketers identify opportunities to strategically conduct effective marketing campaigns, and help them maintain visibility among their target audience in an increasingly competitive environment where other brands are also vying for similar attention.”



Margaret Lam
Experian Public Relations
+852 2839 5276

Yik Wai Yi
+65 6534 7250

About Experian

Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 90 countries. The company helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision-making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2010 was $3.9 billion. Experian employs approximately 15,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; Costa Mesa, California; and São Paulo, Brazil.

For more information, visit www.experianplc.com.

For more information on Experian Asia Pacific, visit www.experian.com.sg

Experian and the marks used herein are service marks or registered trademarks of Experian Information Solutions, Inc.

About Hitwise

Hitwise, an Experian company, is the leading online competitive intelligence service. Only Hitwise provides its 1,500 clients around the world with daily insights on how their customers interact with a broad range of competitive Web sites and how their competitors use different tactics to attract online customers.

Since 1997, Hitwise has pioneered a unique, network-based approach to Internet measurement. Through relationships with Internet service providers around the world, Hitwise uses its patented methodology to anonymously capture the online usage, search and conversion behaviour of 25 million Internet users. This unprecedented volume of Internet usage data is seamlessly integrated into an easy-to-use, Web-based service designed to help marketers better plan, implement and report on a range of online marketing programs.

Hitwise, an Experian company (FTS-EXPN), http://www.experianplc.com, operates in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. More information about Hitwise is available at www.hitwise.com/sg.

For up-to-date analysis of online trends, visit the Hitwise Intelligence – Analyst Weblogs at weblogs.hitwise.com