Traditionally the sponsors of each cycling team have used break aways to gain maximum coverage which has also lead to some interesting team decisions. Team Sky (now Ineos) delivered over $550m in advertising revenue. With the rise in content distribution across platforms like Instagram, YouTube (see below), Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, there are now alternative ways to build brand presence.
The day before the tour started I reviewed the digital footprint of each team and b2b Tour (not team) sponsors across these platforms and this post shows you whose digital presence grew the most across YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
If you would like to download the supporting data you can here.
From an initial glance there are some sponsors and teams leading the way:
Interestingly the UCI Professional Continental Teams (lower budgets than the UCI Teams) have the most outstanding YouTube content. If you are looking for personal insights into each stage for the team take a look at Total Direct Energie and Arkea-Samsic! Team Ineos recycle the tour highlights (I recommend Eurosport for these). CCC Team , Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, Michelton SCOTT, have some brilliant, daily and digestible videos of what is actually going on within the team. Whoever runs those, kudos!
When it comes to b2b sponsors, NTT Ltd the technology sponsor (getting you all of that great data!) lead the way from partnerships with Global Cycling Network, ongoing webinars explaining parallels with business from the Tour and daily updates on Twitter/LinkedIn (the b2b platforms of choice). If you drill a little deeper they are also leveraging the network of their people (who their clients buy from!) to provide their authentic insight. The video below is excellent! There is still an opportunity for the wider NTT company to leverage the network of their people and drive more engagement.
Looking back at the teams again, Instagram is used in moderation. Just being roadside at Stage 20 there were plenty of fans recording on the platform. This might be seen as a consumer platform but with the majority of users within the 19-29 age category these are no doubt influencers within b2b organisations worth reaching. Team Sunweb are putting together some live footage through their account, Team EF Education First and Team Katusha–Alpecin have had the most consistent, longest and engaging stories.
So who came in first? It was pleasing to see that 3 of the top 5 in terms of digital presence growth are UCI Professional Continental Teams. This is a reflection on working hard for their sponsors and team. Total Direct Energie (191% increase) came in top place for the cycling teams and NTT (223%) for the B2B tour sponsors.
The top 4 placed teams in terms of digital presence all had daily videos with realtime insights into the team. I think this shows that what the fans want is a connection with the riders and less with the brand. Similarly, NTT did a great job of expert hosted webinars, collaborating with the likes of GCN. In both of these examples it is a demonstration of leveraging your experts (the cyclists, technology experts etc) to marketing and communicate directly to your expert audience (fans, potential buyers etc).
I had expected to see more correlation between the teams who had the most kilometers on the front of the race (see below) and their increase in digital presence however this does not seem the case and would demonstrate that fans are increasingly following their teams online.
To conclude with more time I would have liked to measure the team sponsors and individual riders. With the data available from NTT it could have made for compelling reading (i.e. who is on the front the most, wins mountain points, stages etc). With this data would further influence how sponsors direct the team? Could we actually predict the win (or top 10 finishes) and breakaways based on which team is in need of more coverage? A little more data collection to do in 2020!
Team finishing positions
|Team name||% increase of digital presence||Digital presence increase position||Most kilometers on the front of the race||Overall finish as a team|
|Total Direct Énergie||191.77%||1||6||21|
|EF Education First||104.95%||8||9||4|
|UAE Team Emirates||104.78%||9||12||9|
|AG2R La Mondiale||102.50%||16||5||8|
|Team Dimension Data||101.01%||21||14||16|
B2B sponsor finishing positions
|Sponsor name||% increase of digital presence||Digital presence increase position|
|XPO Logistics Europe||119.45%||4|