- Facebook is the top social media platform for automotive advertising, with Volkswagen and Nissan putting 100% of their ads on the social network, per a study by analytics firm BrandTotal. The research also showed that Tesla, the electric car pioneer, didn't have any social media ads during the study period of March 26 to April 26 this year.
- Toyota, which vies with Volkswagen to be the world's biggest carmaker, put 62% of its social ads on Facebook, followed by Ford (55%), Infiniti (52%), BMW (46%), Honda (38%) and Cadillac (34%), among others.
- Facebook-owned Instagram was the second-most popular social platform for carmakers, BrandTotal found. Infiniti dedicated 40% of its ad placements to the image-sharing app, followed by Porsche (39%), BMW (32%), Honda (27%) and Cadillac (18%), among others.
BrandTotal's data demonstrate that carmakers favor Facebook and Instagram, with most brands allocating the biggest shares of their social media placements to the platforms. YouTube was third-most popular, while Twitter ranked last among the four social platforms in BrandTotal's survey. Audi placed 54% of its ads on YouTube, followed by Porsche (37%), Cadillac (40%), Ford (39%) and Honda (33%), among others. BMW put 20% of its social media ads on Twitter, followed by Cadillac (8%), while other brands placed 2% or less of their ads on the platform.
Meanwhile, Tesla relied more on organic posts to Instagram and Twitter instead of placing ads on social media. The carmaker's Instagram account has 5.8 million followers and its Twitter account has 3.6 million, giving Tesla a bigger audience than many rivals — although brands like Toyota have separate accounts for different markets. Tesla traditionally has relied on the publicity that founder and CEO Elon Musk, who has 26.3 million followers on Twitter, generates with stunts like sending a car into space.
In addition to placing ads on social media, carmakers also use the platforms for marketing campaigns that emphasize original or user-generated content. Mercedes-Benz this week released an augmented reality filter on Instagram and a five-minute clip on YouTube targeting millennials. Acura ran a March Madness campaign earlier this spring that urged Instagram users to share videos of their "super handling" basketball skills on the court or in everyday situations. BMW in February collaborated on a six-episode podcast called "The Special" aimed at foodies while promoting its X7 Sports Activity Vehicle.