Automotive Market: How Influential is Your Brand?

The 2013 figures and rankings in the automobile market are out. There is a staggering number of cars being produced and some of the groups at the top made close or more than 10 million vehicles.

I wanted to know how it translates in social media and whether there was a strong correlation between sales or market share on one hand and buzz or influence on the other hand.

Automotive Groups Buzz in Social Media

Note: The figures below come from eCairn’s db of 500k influencers across 850 tribes and 17 countries.

Starting from the top, if we look at the buzz generated by the top brands, the ranking is very different from the sales ranking:
– Ford is #1 (vs 6 in sales)
– BMW is #6 (vs out of the top 10 in sales)
– Toyota is #6 (vs #1 in sales); one piece of explanation is that we don’t cover the Japanese market today and that’s where Toyota is #1.
– GM is #5 (vs #2 in sales)
– Hyundai is #10 (vs 5 in sales)

Auto WW Pie

There are major differences between the WW figures and country figures; as a sample, if we look at the United States, Germany, France and Brazil, the rankings in social media are very different (the 4 share of voice graphs for the 4 countries in the order they appear below):

– Renault-Nissan is #1 in France’s ranking; Renault-Nissan is a French corporation.
– Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes are moving up in Germany’s ranking; The 3 of them are German corporations.
– Fiat Chrysler tops the ranking in Brazil which is the largest car producing country without a group or brand from within.

Auto US PieAuto Germany Pie

Auto Brazil PieAuto France Pie

Automotive Brands Influence Ranking in Social Media

For the influence analysis, and to keep this post relatively short, we will focus on the French market as an example.

2012 Market Rankings (volume of cars sold)
Note that we are now looking at brands and not groups. Some brands are part of the same group such as Renault and Nissan or Volkswagen and Audi

  1. Renault
  2. Peugeot
  3. Citroen
  4. Volkswagen
  5. Ford
  6. Dacia
  7. Opel
  8. Nissan
  9. Toyota
  10. Audi

Share of Voice
The chart below shows the relative share of voice of the top brands in term of buzz.
Note that some of the top brands in terms of buzz aren’t in the top 10 in terms of sales. Obviously, those are high-end brands that get more media attention than low-cost ones like Dacia.

Auto brand France

Influence ranking
(based on Twitter influence analysis between the brands above, bearing they have a dedicated French Twitter account, and the roughly 2000 top French influencers in the automobile and lifestyle/geek segments)
Noteworthy are:
– BMW in the top 10 though they’re not in the top 10 in term of sales
– Peugeot is #7 vs #2 in term of sales
So Renault is #1 in share of voice ranking but Volkswagen is #1 in influence. Being first in influence means that there’s a good level of integration between the brand social property, in this case Volkswagen Twitter activity, and the influencers from the automobile and lifestyle communities.

Auto Influence Ranking France

Interconnections with French Influencers

The graph below shows how the influencers considered in this study interconnect with each other and with the target brands (through their blogs or/and twitter account). A rectangle is an influencer and a line is a connection between 2 influencers.
– in blue: the automotive brands’ Twitter accounts
– in grey: the influencers

Auto Network France

Zooming in on the area where the blue nodes are, we see that the brands mostly interconnect with automotive influencers and therefore miss the opportunity to engage with other types of influencers who happen to talk about them often.
BMW and Volkswagen are the 2 brands that are ‘closer’ to the rest of the influencers and, as such, top the list in terms of influence ranking.

Auto Network Brand France

The picture below illustrates that there are a lot more influencers talking about BMW on Twitter (blue nodes everywhere) for example than those who engage with BMW’s Twitter account.
Auto Talking about BMW

Conclusion:

  • Brands have invested in social networks. 80% of the brands in this study have a country specific Twitter account.
  • Engagement is happening only with the influencers in the industry though those brands are talked about by influencers from many different niches.
  • Brands have an opportunity to broaden and improve how they build relationships with the people who care about them.

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