Audi, Lexus, Mercedes and Volkswagen Zoom Ahead in the Race for Social Media Engagement, According to Unmetric

New report on automakers reveals luxury automobile brands command powerful presence on Facebook and Twitter


WEBWIRE – Thursday, February 14, 2013

NEW YORK – With the U.S. auto show season in full swing, automakers are taking advantage of social media to get consumers excited about new and current models, and hopefully through the doors of dealerships. Today Unmetric, the social media benchmarking company, releases its Auto Industry Report to reveal which major automakers are putting the pedal to the metal in the social media race.
 
To determine which automakers had the largest social presence, Unmetric measured the North American social media profiles (combined with the official profiles of associated models) of 18 of the most active automotive brands between October 1 and December 31, 2012.
 
At the heart of the report is the Unmetric Score, a unique measurement designed to give sector-wide context to social media activity. The score is a scientific blend of various qualitative and quantitative social media metrics like content strategy, engagement, growth, timing and frequency of posts, all weighted and balanced to produce a single benchmarkable number between zero and 100 for each social network measured — one for Facebook, one for Twitter, one for YouTube and one for Pinterest.
 
With over nine million connections across all four social networks, Ford takes the gold in sheer number of fans. Audi comes in second place with just over six million.
 
However, with such a large existing following, Ford has seen much smaller growth on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest compared to other auto brands. Infiniti saw the most notable growth on Facebook, increasing its fan base by 82 percent, while BMW grew its Twitter followers by 74.4 percent during the time period measured. Ford wins out on YouTube with 30.7 percent channel subscriber growth, followed by Nissan with 27.2 percent and Chevrolet with 26 percent. Perhaps most notable is Lexus’ and Cadillac’s growth on Pinterest. The two brands have embraced the new social network, resulting in 240 and 229 percent growth, respectively.
 
In an industry where exclusivity reigns, many luxury automakers are seeing greater success on social media by shifting their focus to engagement vs. total number of fans and growth. Unmetric tracks and weighs all the Likes, Comments, Shares, and Estimated Impressions that each Facebook post generated to give brands a better idea of how their content stacks up to other auto names.
 
Interestingly, Mercedes and Audi both generated an engagement score of exactly 244, the highest out of all the brands monitored. Lexus comes in third place with a score of 178, and Toyota in last place with an 18.
 
As far as specific content on Facebook is concerned, direct questions to fans are by far the most popular post type. However, posts that encourage fans to “Like This” content see the highest engagement, garnering a score of 173. Photos and new vehicle launches are also a popular tactics, earning scores of 115 and 105, respectively.
 
When Lincoln Motor Company launched their new 2013 MKZ on December 28, 2012, it became the most engaging post out of all the auto brands, scoring 4,967. Over 75,000 people Liked the post—27 percent of all fans. This photo from Lexus on December 4, which shows a customized LS460 with a racy description, was also highly engaging, scoring 2,050.
 
On Twitter, frequently replying to tweets doesn’t seem to be a great method for car brands to strengthen follower engagement. Ford has replied a staggering 6,059 times on its Twitter accounts, a number that is eight times greater than second-most frequent replier Honda, which has 756 replies. However, it took Ford over eight hours on average to reply to follower tweets. Chrysler responds the fastest in a little over two hours.
 
While luxury automakers made noise on Facebook and Twitter, YouTube was another story entirely, as the five most-viewed automaker channels belonged to Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Toyota, Kia and Honda.
 
Volkswagen’s dominance can be attributed almost entirely to the company’s legendary 2011 commercial “The Force” which, with over 55 million views, had more views than the entire YouTube channels of all but two of the other automakers (Chevy and Toyota). Volkswagen isn’t the only YouTube channel dominated by one or two viral hits, as commercials like Chevrolet’s “2012” and Honda’s “Matthew’s Day Off” were also by far their respective channels’ most engaging videos.
 
Pinterest, the newest social network measured in Unmetric’s Auto Industry Report, was also the newest to be utilized by automakers. Honda leads the pack with 5,829 followers, and has the highest repin to pin ratio (171). Lexus, Cadillac, Kia and Audi doubled or even tripled their total number of followers over the three months measured. What’s more, Cadillac saw 658 percent growth of its repins, proving that consumers are sharing visual content at an astonishing rate.
 
Chrysler, Ford and BMW are yet to adopt Pinterest as part of their social strategy. But with fan bases growing rapidly and automakers still learning how to best utilize Pinterest, this could be a very different story a few months down the road.
 
Which car brands are leading the social race across all four networks measured? According to the combined Unmetric Scores (simply, the sum of each brand’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest score, out of a possible 400), the Volkswagen Group wins the trophy. Audi, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, comes in first with a combined score of 237, and Volkswagen comes a close second with a score of 233. Honda comes in third with a 201, and BMW brings in the rear with a 92.
 
Here’s a breakdown of notable metrics covered by the report, gathered from Oct.1 to Dec. 31, 2012:
 
Facebook
 
Facebook Unmetric Score
1. Audi USA – 64
2. Mercedes Benz USA – 46
3. Ford – 42
4. Lexus – 39
5. Chevrolet – 38
 
Total Fans
1. Ford – 8,715,176
2. Audi USA – 6,176,876
3. Chevrolet – 6,071,149
4. Honda – 5,438,433
5. Dodge – 2,344,643
 
Growth
1. Infiniti – 82.1%
2. Mercedes Benz USA – 55.1%
3. Subaru – 22.5%
4. Kia – 19%
5. Hyundai – 17.9%
 
Highest Engagement Score (Calculation of Likes, Comments, Shares and Impressions that each FB post receives)
1. Audi USA – 244
2. Mercedes Benz USA – 244
3. Lexus – 178
4. Dodge – 166
5. Volkswagen – 117
 
Replies
1. Nissan – 669
2. Volkswagen – 571
3. Toyota – 442
4. Chevrolet – 437
5. Kia – 373
 
Average Reply Time (HH:MM:SS)
1. Audi –  6:28:00
2. Chrysler – 8:50:00
3. Subaru – 9:54:00
4. Mercedes – 10:04:00
5. BMW – 12:13:00
 
Twitter  
 
Twitter Unmetric Score
1. Audi USA – 74
2. Lexus – 63
3. Chevrolet – 58
4. Kia – 53
5. Ford – 49
 
Total Followers
1. Lexus – 303,672
2. Audi USA – 298,269
3. Ford – 285,045
4. Chevrolet – 185,364
5. Honda – 146,514
 
Growth
1. BMW USA – 74.4%
2. Kia – 25.5%
3. Dodge – 24.2%
4. Acura – 18.4%
5. Chrysler – 17.7%
 
Replies
1. Ford – 6,059
2. Honda – 756
3. Kia – 343
4. Hyundai - 262
5. Volkswagen            – 247
 
Average Reply time (HH:MM:SS)
1. Chrysler – 2:06:00
2. Chevrolet – 3:40:31
3. Subaru – 3:48:56
4. Audi USA – 4:13:00
5. Mercedes Benz USA – 6:19:00
 
YouTube
 
YouTube Unmetric Score
1. Volkswagen USA – 84
2. Chevrolet – 68
3. Honda – 67
4. Kia Motors – 63
5. Hyundai - 58
 
Total Video Views
1. Volkswagen USA – 123,481,682
2. Chevrolet – 65,156,767
3. Toyota USA – 57,729,040
4. Kia Motors – 49,505,307
5. Honda – 45,961,120
 
YouTube Viewership Growth
1. Hyundai USA – 43.7%
2. Cadillac – 34.1%
3. BMW USA – 29.8%
4. Mercedes Benz USA – 15.5%
5. Nissan – 13.8%
 
Total Channel Subscribers
1. Chevrolet – 117,835
2. Ford Motor Company – 102,704
3. Honda – 92,687
4. Cadillac – 59,932
5. Hyundai USA – 53,890
 
Channel Subscriber Growth
1. Ford Motor Company – 30.7%
2. Nissan – 27.2%
3. Chevrolet – 26%
4. Mercedes Benz USA – 25.6%
5. BMW USA – 24.1%
 
Total Uploads
1. Nissan – 2556
2. Toyota USA – 2306
3. Chevrolet – 1301
4. Acura – 501
5. Honda – 469
 
Pinterest
 
Pinterest Unmetric Score
1. Volkswagen – 69
2. Honda – 66
3. Audi USA – 46
4. Cadillac – 33
5. Nissan – 31
 
Followers
1. Honda – 5,829
2. Volkswagen            – 2,653
3. Subaru – 1,251
4. Audi USA – 1,193
4. Toyota – 915
 
Growth
1. Lexus – 240%
2. Cadillac – 229%
3. Kia Motors – 102%
4. Audi USA – 100%
5. Hyundai – 75%
 
Pins
1. Audi USA – 785
2. Acura – 423
3. Subaru - 386
4. Volkswagen – 346
5. Hyundai – 293
 
Pins Growth %
1. Audi USA – 100%
2. Kia Motors – 82%
3. Cadillac – 60%
4. Toyota – 44%
5. Nissan – 39%
 
Repins
1. Volkswagen            – 5,131
2. Audi USA – 4,751
3. Honda – 1,030
4. Subaru – 733
5. Nissan – 711
 
Repins Growth %
1. Cadillac – 658%
2. Kia Motors – 155.0%
3. Subaru – 103%
4. Audi USA – 100.0%
5. Toyota – 87.0%
 
Repins/Pins Ratio
1. Honda – 170.69
2. Volkswagen – 32.14
3. Audi USA – 15.33
4. Nissan – 15.32
5. Toyota – 13.75
 
Combined Unmetric Score (sum of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest scores, out of a possible 400)
1. Audi – 237
2. Volkswagen – 233
3. Honda – 201
4. Chevrolet – 187
5. Kia – 154
 
“Besides being aspirational a new vehicle is such a high involvement purchase that stays with an owner for years. Hence, automotive brands are particularly conducive to having devoted followers,” Unmetric CEO Lux Narayan said. “Thanks to social media, we’re now able to quantify exactly which automakers have the most enthusiastic communities among current and potential owners.”
 
Unmetric is the Social Media Benchmarking Company. The Unmetric SaaS platform delivers a real-time, high availability service for brands that helps them stop flying blind with their social media efforts. Using a combination of machine learning and human intelligence, Unmetric delivers competitive data, benchmarks and insights for all major industry sectors across the major social networks including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. Now, brands are finally able to answer the basic business question of “How do we stack up against the competition?” when it comes to their social media presence.
 
Methodology:
Unmetric compiled its Auto Industry Report by sourcing data from its own social media benchmarking platform. Data and Insights on brands’ activities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest were analysed for the period between Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012.
 
About Unmetric:
Unmetric Inc. is headquartered in New York City and works with clients across the world. The Unmetric platform was established to give Fortune 500 companies and other large global brands and agencies key performance data around which they could benchmark their social media efforts and answer the question “Is that good?”. For more information, visit www.unmetric.com, or check out the Unmetric blog at http://blog.unmetric.com.



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