The real-time truth of the Formula 1 fan’s digital race experience

Using innovative tech and research to understand in-home customer behaviour during race days.

Understanding how race week media is consumed

Formula 1 is a global sports brand synonymous with single-seat racing, but the brand struggled to adapt to the ways that sports are now consumed. F1, like many broadcasters of live TV experiences, are challenged with how to make their product as exciting and engaging as possible for fans who are bombarded with choice for what, when, how and where to engage.

To ensure F1 carves out a strong presence in digital spaces was key to remaining competitive. An innovative research programme to better understand the ‘true’ digital content attitudes and behaviours of fans was employed, including eye-tracking and passive metering, to amass a holistic snapshot of digital media consumption.

F1 leveraged these insights to gain a new understanding of their fanbase, and pivot at short notice as 2020’s races were cancelled due to the pandemic. Instead, they launched their own eSports Virtual Grand Prix series with a combination of drivers and social influencers, as well as partner with other content providers to widen reach during this unprecedented time. Partnering with Sergio Aguero, Biffy Clyro and more.

2.7m

Driver Twitch Views

695m

Social Media Impressions

30m+

Views Across All Channels

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Using innovative tech and research to understand in-home customer behaviour

Rather than rely on traditional research approaches using reported behaviours to understand their experience, the insights team at F1 partnered with Walnut Unlimited and Reality Mine on a duel-pronged approach.

Firstly, by asking race fans in the US to download the RealityMine passive metering app on to their various digital devices during two full race weekends, we were able to map exactly what F1-related content was being consumed at what times, from which channels/brands and on what platforms. It was analysis of this complex but highly valuable data that enabled us to work together to establish the key moments during a race weekend for certain types of content and which brands were currently fulfilling these needs best – identifying new opportunities for F1.

At the same time it was in-home ethnography using eye-tracking glasses with a small number of fans in Germany that allowed us to bring to life exactly how secondary screens and information sources are used during a grand prix to support and enhance the experience for the fan, supporting content development strategy for the following season.

“The ability of this research to take us inside the true digital behaviour of our fans during their natural race weekend was eye-opening. Working with the team at Walnut, we were able to uncover nuggets of insight that, when we dug a little deeper, turned out to be rich seams of understanding that can really impact the way we engage with our audience over these channels.”

David Bailey | Senior Research & Analytics Manager