5 things social media listening can teach car brands

October 7th, 2019

As content marketers, we are always looking to get deeper insight into the activities and behaviour of our target audiences to ensure we’re providing them with the types of content they find valuable.

And of course, using digital tools and in particular social media listening tools have become part of our daily activities. Check out our previous blog on social media listening tools benefits for content creation.

What makes digital marketing so fascinating is the insight into the human and what really drives us as consumers.

In 2018, we at Archant Dialogue released our first Automotive Marketing Report which looked at what kind of marketing actually resonated with consumers when they were looking to buy a car and access some key automotive marketing tips.

The stone cold reality is that for the majority of consumers cars are not of major interest and they tune out car messages because they’re unengaging or irrelevant to them – even if they’re in the market for a car. As a result, 45% of those we polled say they’ve not seen any car marketing in the past 12 months.

And in particular, the report also revealed that messages around autonomous driving, electric cars and driving aids aren’t getting through either – especially because a range of content is particularly needed in this space to help audiences understand the benefits and facets of these evolving automotive developments.

Our report highlighted a range of issues for car brands; choosing the right channels, the right audience, the right message, but ultimately, underlines the fact that car brands need to be memorable.

Using social media tools to understand what consumers are really talking about when it comes to cars helps us pinpoint the kind of messages that should really resonate. Therefore in our updated Automotive Marketing Report 2019 version of the report, we collaborated with data insight partners Pulsar to evaluate just that. Pulsar is an advanced social listening and insights platform, used by brands and agencies to understand their audiences.

Says Jamie Watson, COO at Pulsar, ‘We use online signals, like social data, audience data and search data to get indicators of what people are talking about, who these people are and try to turn those into strategies for marketing personalisation.’

‘From our experience, a lot of the car brands we work with are still heavily focused on marketing effectiveness; volume, sentiment, key topics. “We conducted this campaign; we want to understand how much bang we got for our buck; was it successful?’ It’s very much retrospective analysis.’

So what are people talking about? And what are they interested in when it comes to cars. The results were fascinating…

Here are a few highlights…

Price, safety and tech are still important

Yes, people still need to hear those ‘evergreen’ messages about price, safety and the technical abilities of a car but they’re also joined by other important factors like are the cars fun and are they environmentally friendly?

So far, so what!? But often the conversations were happening just outside of what we may think is typical. For example, even in the luxury sector, price was of issue. Not so much the cost of the car but the cost of its upkeep.

Cost of cars vs upkeep of cars

But conversations about price also covered a range of issues which could be of interest to car brands when it comes to attracting consumers; everything from car insurance costs, the costs of air pollution and the current cost (too high) of fully electric cars to be completely mainstream and offer a cheaper alternative.

New types of community

There is now a new ‘passion’-driven sub community around cars, who identify as electric car lovers – and therefore need to be treated in a different way to petrolheads.

Undiscovered ambassadors

The cycling community appeared in all of the five major topics around cars. Yes, they’re concerned about the environment and their impact on it, which makes them perfect ambassadors for electric vehicles. They talk about air pollution (mostly due to car parks) and fight the use of fossil fuels, which contribute to global warming. But it’s the tech angle that’s of most interest as they believe electric vehicles should be a priority for car companies to develop and also think self-driving cars are a big positive.

Digital meets automotive

When it comes to discussions around car technology, again there was an alternative subcommunity outside of automotive interested and taking part, this being digital tech fans. There were two clear conversations happening here: the testing of self-driving cars by Tesla and Uber, and the fact that Tesla cars are the only one in recent history to provide significant technological advancement in the consumer’s eyes.

What was revealing was the variety of conversations happening and how rich these were in providing insights and key talking points for the automotive world. Admittedly, car brands can be hampered by their heritage and production cycle but the opportunity for innovation – in content at least – is rife.

If you would like to access Archant Dialogue’s Automotive Report 2019, download it via archantdialogue.co.uk

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