Automotive industry comes up short in driving social media engagement

Engagement Labs’ Top TotalSocial™ Automotive Brands are Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi & BMW

NEW YORK, NY (April 27, 2017)
– In a new, first of its kind analysis of combined offline and online consumer conversations, Engagement Labs released its TotalSocial™ rankings on the top performing automotive brands in the U.S. The rankings are based on Engagement Labs’ proprietary TotalSocial data, which continuously measures the most important drivers of brand performance with respect to social media and word of mouth conversations.

The analysis finds that even in this digital age, car talk still mostly happens offline, whether over the kitchen table, at a youth sports field, or at the water cooler at work. Indeed, most automotive brands are considered “Word of Mouth Mavens” in that they spur more conversations offline than online scores.

The top ten are dominated by two car groups: luxury cars and sports brands. Of the top ten, only two mass market brands, Toyota and Honda, made the list. Domestic brands like Chevrolet, Ford and Jeep, as well as mass market imports like Subaru and Nissan don’t make it into the top ten. A major difference between these brands and the ones that made the top ten are brand sharing scores, meaning the success of the brand’s media and marketing content in generating brand conversations.

“Given the billions of dollars that many auto marketers spend each year, their ability to drive conversation is a key to their turning the investment into business outcomes,” noted Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs. “Offline word of mouth and social media are proven to be predictive of sales. Audi’s recent record sales and their position as number three on the list is reflective of this. While certain brands on the top ten reflect the aspirations of the American consumer, we believe that the rest of the top ten, and the brands knocking on the leaderboard door, are reflective of the momentum we expect to see in the auto sector in 2017.”

Keller continued, “The number one auto brand for offline brand sharing – face to face conversations in which people are talking about a brand’s marketing – is Audi. Audi’s commercial during the Big Game this past February which touted gender equality in pay is an example of how the Company creates content that humanizes its brand in order to resonate with consumers. These results suggest that when it comes to cars, both marketing spend and having an authentic message, is a crucial component in boosting brand perception and conversation.”

One brand that bucks the trend of offline dominance is Corvette, which is ranked 18 overall. While Corvette earns a below-average offline score, it has the highest online score out of all the automotive brands. Other auto brands could glean important lessons from Corvette on how to leverage digital media to boost their overall image.

While TotalSocial scores are based on four key metrics, conversation volume, sentiment, brand sharing, and influence, a particularly impactful metric is sentiment—whether conversations about the brand are positive or negative. Several of the brands that did not make the top ten do, however stand out for generating very positive conversations. Infiniti, for example, ranks well below average overall, but has the fourth highest offline sentiment score and similarly, Buick falls near the bottom of all the automotive brands in its total score, but has the second highest online sentiment score. This indicates consumers are clearly saying positive things about these brands but the challenge for marketers is to amplify those positive conversations to a broader population in order to improve sentiment on the channel where they lag, either offline and online.

To learn more about Engagement Labs or TotalSocial insights and how to increase your brand’s word of mouth in real life and online, reach out at:

To learn more about brands, like BMW, that go against the grain in Engagement Labs’ latest e-book, Lessons from the Leaders of Social Influence here.

About Engagement Labs

Engagement Labs (TSXV:EL) is the world's first TotalSocial™ company, offering intelligent data, analytics and insights for marketers. We are leaders in tracking, measuring and benchmarking the impact of conversations happening around a brand and industry – both online and offline. Consumer conversations are a proven driver of critical business outcomes, including sales. The patent pending TotalSocial data solution provides brands with unique insights and powerful analytics to understand online and offline social impact and drive business results. TotalSocial demonstrates to marketers how their online and offline conversation compare and contrast and helps identify areas of competitive opportunity or significant emerging threats. TotalSocial is an “always-on” proprietary scoring system, based on the most important drivers of brand performance: Volume, Sentiment, Brand Sharing and Influence. TotalSocial was built on the pillars of Engagement Labs’ patented social media measurement tool and the world’s only offline word of mouth tracking system for brands and tracks 500 brands within the U.S. across 17 major industry categories, and 350 brands in the UK.

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