Usually, new vehicles are unveiled at big marquee auto shows in places like Detroit and L.A. But Ford seems to have done well to launch its Explorer crossover virtually, on social media.
The reveal's physical occurrence was in the middle of New York City, on a faux hillside right in front of Macy's. But Jumpstart Media, a Hachette Filipacchi-owned network of auto-centric Web sites, says the real jaw-dropper may have happened online.
The firm says the reveal of the 2011 Ford Explorer on Facebook caused a 104% increase in the number of people going to Ford Explorer pages in Jumpstart's network of Web sites on July 26, the day of the unveiling.
Ford took the unusual tack of unveiling the vehicle on Facebook, and subsequently doubled the daily users researching Ford Explorer across Jumpstart's online automotive shopping and enthusiast properties, compared to the average daily usage for the month of July, per the firm.
Jumpstart says the boom continued with successive daily improvements in usage versus the average, of 66%, 25%, 13% and 8% by July 30.
The firm says that because of engagement during the Facebook reveal, Ford got a greater share of SUV shoppers across Jumpstart's 13 automotive shopping and enthusiast Web sites, including Vehix, Consumer Guide Automotive, JD Power Autos, Shopping.com Autos, Car and Driver, Road & Track, and U.S.News.com. The network says Ford's share of SUV shoppers grew by 52% on the day of the unveiling to become the most-researched SUV.
Joe Kyriakoza, VP of marketing communications at Jumpstart, said in a release that the Facebook effort managed to encourage a high volume of in-market shoppers to consider Explorer. Kyriakoza says that after trailing Grand Cherokee -- which also recently launched a new design for 2011 -- for most of July, Explorer soared ahead of it and the rest of the competition for the remainder of the month.
Jumpstart also said the Explorer Facebook reveal did better than Super Bowl ads for other automakers. Ford outdistanced other automakers' share-of-shopping increases the day after they had run 30-second Super Bowl commercials this year. The firm says Super Bowl auto advertisers saw average share of shopping lift by 14%. But that was less than a third of Explorer's growth from the Facebook unveiling.
"While it's unclear what Ford paid for the Facebook reveal, I'm confident it was nowhere near the cost of even one $2.5 million Super Bowl commercial," said Kyriakoza. "Ford's campaign clearly demonstrates that while traditional media can be highly effective in driving consideration, a well-executed and deeply influential online program can shift car shopping intent with immediacy and efficacy."