Organic and Paid Social Media Teardown of Canadian Automakers

Advertising
Facebook
Content & Messaging
Instagram
Twitter
YouTube
January 1, 2021
Automotive

Key Takeaways

Organic Social — Platform Focus: Most of the car brand audience is concentrated on Facebook, followed by YouTube. While Hyundai, Ford and Honda maintain Canada-specific stand-alone Facebook pages, both Chevrolet and Nissan have Global Facebook pages. All car brands have a sizable YouTube following that on average grew by 6% over the last year. Instagram proves to be the fastest-growing platform for car brands in terms of audience increase. Car brand's Instagram accounts on average grew by 36%, where Ford alone managed to increase its following by 50%. 


Organic Social — Content Focus: Car brands choose to post most often on YouTube, Nissan adds as many as 24 new videos per month. While Hyundai only posted 30 videos in the last 90 days it received the highest number of views, which was driven by several sponsored videos that promoted its Palisade and Santa Fe models. Nissan uploaded the highest number of YouTube videos (71) in the last 90 days. Almost half of them were car overview videos published in both English and French.


Paid Social — Budget Allocation: Honda and Nissan spent about $3M each on paid social advertising during the first two months of 2021, which is ~90% of their total digital spend. Nissan invested 88% of its advertising dollars in YouTube videos, while Honda equality split them between YouTube and Facebook. Nissan’s ads promoted different car models, while Honda put $290K behind the video inviting users to book a virtual showroom appointment, and launched several more videos communicating the “Canadian Built” message.

Ford has accumulated the largest social following (703K) across its Canadian social media channels.

Canada Car Brands - Social Media Following
Note: Facebook is excluded from Nissan and Chevrolet total following size, as they run global Facebook pages.

More than half of Hyundai's, Ford's and Honda's social media audience is concentrated on Facebook.

Canada Car Brands - Facebook Following
Note: Facebook is excluded from Nissan and Chevrolet total following size, as they run global Facebook pages.

YouTube is the second-largest social platform for the car manufacturers — 65% of Chevrolet’s Canadian following is on YouTube.

Canada Car Brands - YouTube Following
Note: Facebook is excluded from Nissan and Chevrolet total following size, as they run global Facebook pages.

Instagram has been an area of the fastest audience growth for car brands. On average their following grew by 32%, where Ford alone increased its Instagram community by 50% YoY.

None of the brands have TikTok accounts which presents white space opportunities to tap into the young gen-Z audience.

Canada Car Brands - Instagram vs YouTube Followers

Nissan is the most active brand on social media, the brand adds ~70 new posts to its channels every month.

Car brands choose to post most frequently on YouTube, posting car ads and walkthrough videos. Nissan adds as many as ~24 new videos per month.

Canada Car Brands - Number of YouTube posts per month

While Hyundai only posted 30 videos over the last 90 days (Dec ‘20 – Feb ‘21), the brand received the highest number of video views (13.5M).

Canada Car Brands - YT Videos Posted and Video Views Over the Last 90 Days (Dec–Feb ‘21)

In December Hyundai ran videos ads for Palisade and Santa Fe models which contributed to a high volume of video views.

Hyundai - Video Ads for Palisade and Santa Fe Models
Palisade | SantaFe

Over the last 90 days Nissan uploaded 71 car overview videos — each one got around 19K views.

Hyundai - Video Ads for Palisade and Santa Fe Models
Video #1 | Video #2 | Video #3 | Video #4

Ford has the highest engagement rate at 0.9%, and has a fairly high post cadence of 26 posts per month.

Canada Car Brands - Number of Facebook Posts Last 90 Days
Facebook ER is not available for Chevrolet and Nissan.

Chevrolet publishes the same post twice — in English and French, which explains their high posting cadence over the last 90 days.

Chevrolet - Facebook Posts in English and French

Ford has the highest engagement rate among the competitive set (0.9%). The brand leverages humour and contests to engage its followers in addition to showing off new car models.

Ford - Top Facebook Content Buckets

On Instagram, all car brands enjoy higher engagement (avg. 0.9%) compared to Facebook. Both Hyundai and Ford get the same audience engagement (ER: 1.22%) and publish about once per week.

Canada Car Brands - Instagram Posts Last 90 Days

Both Ford and Hyundai keep their content very car-focused. While Ford defaults to professional car photography, Hyundai frequently posts lifestyle-like photos of its cars.

Ford & Hyundai - Instagram Posts - Car-Focused

Twitter is usually a mirror of Facebook content for most of the car brands and they don’t invest efforts in creating unique platform-specific posts.

Canada Car Brands - Twitter and Facebook Posts are Mirrored

Honda and Nissan invested the most advertising dollars on paid social media during the first two months of 2021 ($3M and $2.6M respectively), which was ~90% of their total up-to-date digital ad budget.

Canada Car Brands - Paid Social Spend
% indicates a share of a spend on paid social out of total digital ad budget.

Nissan invested 88% of its paid social budget in YouTube, while Honda equally spread its budget between the two platforms.

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting

Nissan spent $903K to advertise Nissan Versa and allocated $328K and $241K respectively to promote Sentra and Rogue models.

Nissan Versa- Sentra and Rogue Ad Spend
Ad #1 | Ad #2 | Ad #3 | Ad #4

Honda put the most advertising dollars ($290K) behind the video promoting its virtual showrooms and continued to promote its “Canadian-built” message.

Honda Canada - Video Ads
Ad #1 | Ad #2 | Ad #3 | Ad #4

Nissan effectively converts its social ads investment into web traffic — 4.4% of website visits come from social channels.

Canada Car Brands - Paid Social Spend


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