Carmakers know how to seize the big opportunity in the Super Bowl and make the most of social sharing of those ads. Case in point: Volkswagen’s “The Force” ad was the most shared ad of all time, with more than 6 million shares and more than 62 million views, said social video ad platform Unruly in a just-released research paper.
But when Super Bowl ads are removed from the equation, the auto industry trails other ad sectors by five times in terms of social sharing of videos, Unruly said. Plus, four automakers — Volkswagen, Kia, Chevrolet and Nissan — account for three-quarters of all social video shares for this industry, suggesting that most car makers aren’t fully capitalizing on the opportunity. As an example, Ford is one of the best known brands worldwide, but accounts for less than 1% of all social video shares in the sector.
Still, a number of carmakers have found success with a range of social video strategies, and other brands could borrow from their playbooks. Bear in mind that Unruly has its own agenda since it’s in the business of delivering social video ads. Nevertheless, its findings may be useful for carmakers and other marketers, too.
—Deliver Social Video Ads Year-Round: Volkswagen used the Super Bowl to launch the now famous “The Force” ad, but then followed up with related spots throughout the year to maximize impact and keep the brand front and center. The campaign has been credited with doubling traffic to the web site and with more than 20,000 units sold, Unruly said. Kia became well known for its soul hamster ad released during the VMAs, which is also a tent pole event. Interestingly, the brand didn’t fare as well with a spot launched at Super Bowl, Unruly said. “Don't rely on the Super Bowl, where competition is fiercest. Kia showed how you can make a big impact using other events. After all, people buy cars all year around. Other verticals do not rely on the Super Bowl to drive shares," said Art Zeidman, president of Unruly.
—Go for Emotions: From a creative standpoint, social videos should focus on amplifying the emotions elicited in the ad, whether humor, exhilaration or astonishment, because ads with emotional triggers are more likely to be shared, Unruly said.
—Vary the Length: Carmakers should also experiment with length. On the web, brands aren’t restricted to thirty seconds. Often, the best and most shared ads have been longer, Unruly says.
—Think Global and Local: Both auto sales and the Internet are global so don’t be afraid to cater to a worldwide audience. P&G did to great success with its popular “Best Job” ad this summer. In the auto category, Nissan found a hit in a Portuguese-language video that included My Little Pony-esque toys that make the ad entertaining even if you don’t know the language. Do remember that social video can also be paired with localized videos to boost test drives, brochure and information requests.
—Don’t hide the brand: Let it take center stage in the spot so consumers remember it.