New Unmetric Report Reveals Tesla's Social Media Strategy, Along With Other Insights About Auto Brands Competing on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube

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Auto Social Speedway Report unveils big winners of US auto sector and how they drive consumers to social platforms.

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Today Unmetric, the social media competitive intelligence company, released its Auto Social Speedway Report. The report is the first to showcase how brands like Tesla use unorthodox strategies such as engaging fans without using photographs to outrace deeper-pocketed competitors on social media, revealing the challenges of translating traditional automotive advertising in the digital world.

Unmetric sourced the wealth of data from its social media intelligence platform to reveal which leading auto brands come out on top in terms of engagement, fan growth and content strategy across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest during May 2013.

Results Overview

More specifically, the report shows that on Facebook, Chevrolet is pulling off a surprising victory over traditionally dominant luxury brands like Porsche and Audi by focusing on its iconic Camaro model. In keeping with its unique standing in the automobile industry, Tesla bucks established car company social media and photo strategies to dominate on Twitter. Volkswagen is winning on YouTube with its charming, funny Super Bowl advertisements, and on Pinterest by appealing to fan nostalgia. Details about each race and its winner are below.


On Facebook, non-luxury car brands care more about spurring fan interaction than building huge fan bases. Pages for entire car brands tend to have the largest fan bases – Audi, the most popular brand, had 6,864,846 fans in May. However, the pages with most engaged fans are all dedicated to individual car models from non-luxury car brands.

At Unmetric, we observe and balance the total number of Likes, Shares and Comments social media posts receive to produce a single, benchmarkable number that measures overall fan engagement. Nine of the top ten Facebook pages with the highest engagement scores are model-specific. The most successful is Volkswagen’s Eos page, with a score of 454 – almost twice as high as luxury-brand Porsche, whose 230 score is the highest of any luxury brand or brand-centric page.

Volkswagen models nab six of the top ten Facebook pages. On these pages, Volkswagen rakes in engagement with simple, model-specific fan questions: a post on the VW Eos page asking fans about their car’s color earned 501 likes and 272 enthusiastic comments. Yet Volkswagen did not place first.

Using the same single-model tactic, Chevrolet’s Camaro page emerges as the overall winner with a huge engagement score of 403 and a 3,233,563-strong fan base. That fan base is the fourth largest in the entire sector, and ten times as large as all of Volkswagen’s model pages combined. No other car brand can match Chevrolet Camaro’s combination of high engagement and wide reach.

Chevrolet engages with model-specific content. Its series of photo posts comparing new and old Camaro models is particularly popular – tapping into the nostalgia the brand evokes. One such post earned 100,051 likes, 12,000 shares and a massive overall engagement score of 1404.

Tesla, whose electric-first mission makes it an outsider in the car industry, takes an interesting approach. Its highest engaging posts are about brands news and its most successful post about the company earning the highest-ever safety rating, earned a 722 engagement score. This may be because Tesla cars get their appeal from the technology powering them, not their design. News posts are better than photos at targeting that unique interest.

Facebook winner: Chevrolet Camaro


One of the auto sector’s most popular hashtags, Ford’s #fiestamovement refers to the launch of the Ford Fiesta and was used 2685 times after the campaign launched. As social media has played a large role in the rollout of the Fiesta models over the past couple of years, Ford has become an expert at using hashtags for relevancy.

However, Tesla is lapping its competitors in terms of overall Twitter engagement, scoring three of the ten highest-engaging tweets in May. The most engaging tweet overall is about the company paying back a major government loan, and earned a massive 1000 engagement score.

Tesla’s winning Twitter strategy does not fit patterns present in the rest of the auto industry. Unlike non-luxury brands, it refrains from asking for fan re-tweets or replies like Chevrolet often does. Its photo tweets show Tesla models in dealerships, garages and parking lots, as opposed to the glamorous beauty shots luxury car brands like BMW use. Tesla also avoids constant tweets about promotions or ad campaigns – a strategy most
brands implement regardless of their luxury status.

As Tesla strives to be the premier news source about its cars, its tweets about positive company news receive high engagement. The tweets take on a tone more reminiscent of a news outlet than a marketing team, and by sharing comprehensive information about issues its followers are passionate about – specifically, the struggle for electric cars to gain acceptance in America – Tesla does not have to posture or beg for engagement.

Twitter winner: Tesla


The auto sector succeeds in garnering engagement on YouTube: the platform’s top ten brands all had over 10 million views per channel in May, with Volkswagen taking first place in that category with a staggering 98,394,782 total views. Toyota came in second with 48,816,407 views, and Hyundai was third with 43,184,039.

Compared to other sectors, auto brands see surprising success on YouTube with advertisements. Volkswagen implements this strategy well, leading with three of May’s ten most-viewed car videos – including the top video overall, which received 1,089,043 views. Interestingly, all three videos are Super Bowl ads. Since Super Bowl ads are known for being funny and reaches one of the world’s largest TV audiences, posting them on YouTube helps brands attract more attention to its other videos.

The auto sector’s original YouTube content is not as popular. Land Rover and Mercedes’ YouTube-specific clips did make it into the top 10, but their respective 173,240 and 152,902 view counts pale in comparison to Volkswagen’s sector-winning ad. Although Land Rover’s video features impressive free-running stunts, free-running is something people enjoy watching on YouTube already. Until car brands figure out how to make similarly engaging videos on a larger scale, they might want to stick to posting successful pre-existing ads.

YouTube Winner: Volkswagen


The auto sector as a whole is struggling to shift into high gear on Pinterest. Honda, the platform’s most popular auto brand, had only 6,836 followers in May. Second-place Volkswagen had only 3,520 followers.

Of the car brands on Pinterest, Volkswagen is the best performer, earning sector-leading averages of 20.1 fan re-pins for every pin it posted in May and 7.7 likes per pin. In both categories, the brand’s fans are twice as active as respective next-closest competitors Audi and Honda.

Volkswagen’s Vintage VW board, which features old pictures of classic VW models, is an example of its success. The models are well known enough to have taken on life beyond Volkswagen’s corporate identity. A picture of a VW Beetle packed for a road trip got 77 re-pins and 17 likes by appealing to fan nostalgia and adventurousness, as do many of the other successful pictures on that board.

Pinterest Winner: Volkswagen

“It’s fascinating to see newer car companies like Tesla break the mold of traditional auto sector advertising,” said Lux Narayan, Unmetric’s CEO. “Car companies have some of the biggest advertising budgets in the world, but winning on social media isn’t just about budget – it’s really about strategy and identifying what it is about your brand that resonates most with your customers.”

Using a combination of advanced algorithms and human computing power, Unmetric delivers data and benchmark insights for various industry sectors that were previously unavailable, such as content strategy, engagement, growth, timing and frequency of posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. Unmetric supplies a distinct, high-demand service that ensures companies will never have to fly blind on social media again. Now brands are finally able to answer the basic business question “how do we stack up against our competition?” when it comes to social media presence.

All statistics were gathered from May 1st-31st, 2013. Unmetric created the Auto Social Speedway Report by sourcing data from its social media benchmarking platform. The data was compiled specifically during the month of May due to a groundbreaking insight that the Auto sector was driving 7 times more engagement any other industry sector with photo posts on Facebook. Unmetric's auto report built off of this discovery and pulled the additional data across the other social networks in order to offer the most comparable insights during that time period.

About Unmetric:
Unmetric is headquartered in New York City and works with category leading brands and innovative agencies across the world. Unmetric provides not-so-obvious competitive intelligence on over 10,000 global brands across 30 industry sectors, helping brands and their agencies to comprehend and calibrate their social media efforts, and compete with intelligence and efficiency. The client list includes iconic brands like Subway, Toyota, Cisco, and Lowe's Home Improvement, and premier agencies like GroupM, MRY, Golin Harris, and the Zocalo Group. For more information, visit

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Rebekah Choi
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