WRC: Social media interactions, Ogier wins more than the Monte Carlo


So we have a new look and as part of that new look we will also have some new features.  One of them will be to look into social media fan engagement through the WRC season.

For Rallye Monte Carlo we captured and analysed 20,000 tweets from the #RallyeMonteCarlo hashtag. We looked at the tweets from the Wednesday before the event to the Tuesday after the event.  We looked at the #1 drivers from the factory teams and the factory teams themselves.

This is what we found.

Overall statistics

The Rallye Monte Carlo was perhaps the rally we looked forward to the most. The anticipation was huge. There were new cars, Seb Ogier to MSport. There was something to really look forward to and for the first time in many years, we didn’t really have an idea what was going to happen.

That anticipation, the change was very evident in the overall tweets.  As we see, the Ogier/MSport duo were the most talked about driver and team combination.  Where a team or driver was mentioned, Ogier featured in 1/3 of those tweets, MSport – 1/5.

The Champion at home, his home town, even – he comes from Gap.  He and MSport won. So one would expect them to be at the top.


As the weekend went by

As we can see there was a lot of expectation for Ogier.  At the start of the weekend there was a lot of chatter about him, near 900 tweets in the first 2000. No on else made 200.

Each segment below represents 2000 tweets in chronological order.  What is surprising about the how the weekend went, is that Ogier would not match his pre-rally hype, even as he went onto to win MSport’s first rally since 2012.

It is immediately evident that the drivers carry more fan interest than the teams. It could be a fact that people refer to the drivers when talking about the stages and the results but rarely to they talk about the teams.   What you can also determine is that the interest in Ogier and MSport continued throughout the entire rally.  Even when Thierry Neuville was leading, Hyundai didn’t get the attention that MSport did. The exception was Toyota at the end of the rally when Latvala was on for a podium. Interestingly though, Toyota spiked but mentions of Latvala remained flat.
In the end only Neuville and MSport were able to out rank Ogier at any point during the rally.

Of course that should be Meeke – damn you autocorrect


The drivers

The graph also shows how the fans respond online to the way the rally goes. There was very little interest in Thierry Neuville until the rally started.  After 6000 tweets, he started to gain traction – as it was evident that he had true rally winning pace and he needed attention to be paid to him. In fact it was only when it was evident that he could win did he outrank Ogier.  But as the rally proceeded and hit the bridge, his mentions decreased.

Where Ogier dipped. Perhaps as the rally got going and he wasn’t initially at the front, people’s attention shifted. But towards the end when it was evident he was going to win, his mentions spiked.

What is an oddity though is that Latvala never really got going despite a solid performance and an unexpected podium.  Too Meeke, never really factored in but he had a disastrous rally and never truly featured.

Of course that should be Meeke – damn you autocorrect


The teams

Like the driver’s graph, the team’s graph was a good reflection of the rally. Hyundai spiked when Neuville was going well (and a small spike for Paddon’s sad incident). But once Nevuille was out of contention, they were no where in people’s minds.

Citroen was the same – save for a car crash for Meeke, a little interest in Stephane Lefebvre’s stage win and Craig Breen’s fight. But unlike the driver’s table, Toyota saw a big spike at the end as they were fighting for a podium. There seemed to be people seriously impressed with their grit and determination.


The Ogier factor

But what of Ogier. Obviously the fan favouite – or the one with the most attention surrounding him. As discussed earlier, there was a lot of pre rally hype about him which disappeared once the rally commenced. It would never truly return but he did get more interest as he was approaching the finish line.

What is perhaps most evident by the Ogier factor is that the other teams and drivers have a lot of work to do to catch the might of Ogier. More profiling is necessary. More work. Or is it just the fact of he is the dominant driver and somewhat divisive in the rally community?

Whatever the result, the boost in profile he will give to MSport is important.

But as the WRC season continues, it will be interesting to see how this evolves. Will we see more from Meeke and Neuville if they can put together Championship performances? And what of the teams? What will it take to be in the front of people’s minds?

The RacerViews info

By Sam Tickell, January 2017

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