How The Automotive Industry Is Getting Results From Social Media



At SMWLA, Danielle Shamos (Adaptly) and Stacey Fairbanks (Mazda) discussed the shifting attention of consumers and its impact on purchase behavior.


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For many brands, the customer journey has changed. This is especially true for the automotive industry, where people in the market for a new car can move through most of the purchase funnel without ever setting foot in a dealership.

At Social Media Week Los Angeles Danielle Shamos, VP of Revenue West Coast, Adaptly, and Stacey Fairbanks, Manager Media and Analytics, Mazda, discuss the shifting attention of consumers and its impact on purchase behavior.

The shifts are happening:

  • from offline to online
  • from desktop to mobile
  • from image to video
  • from feed to stories.

Shamos shared how first Facebook saw mobile transactions outweigh desktop transactions for the first time in 2016 and Cisco’s prediction that by 2020, 75% of all mobile traffic will be video.

Social media and the purchase process

According to Shamos, 90% of new vehicle buyers who used social media in their decision process feel that it influenced their decision.

  • 87% of car buyers use a discovery platform during auto research
  • 31% of social media users consider Facebook to be the primary platform that influences them to make purchase decisions
  • 1 in 4 of new vehicle buyers use Twitter as an input to their vehicle purchase decision
  • Snapchat users are 2.4x more likely to be interested in a new vehicle launch than non-Snapchat users

When buying a vehicle, an average of 14.5 hours are spent:

  • Talking with others (0.4 hours)
  • Researching/shopping with print (0.3 hours)
  • With the dealership/seller where purchased (3 hours)
  • Visiting other dealers/sellers (1.8 hours)
  • Research and shopping online (8.8 hours)

The path to purchase

Although the customer journey has changed, there is no singular path to decision-making and the familiar marketing mantra of right place, right time, right message is clearly in place for Mazda.

The key success factor is to align content for the right audience and the right time… throughout the initial consideration set, active evaluation stage, the moment of purchase plus the post-purchase experience. Mazda is investing more resources at the customer, who is engaging more with social media and more with video, evolves.

“Amazon has set the bar for all of us”, commented Fairbanks when stressing the importance of leveraging personalization in the customer journey. “We need to serve the right message to move them down the funnel.”

The importance of video

Knowing that customers are researching more online makes video a key component for social:

  • 4x as many consumers prefer watching videos about a product to reading about it
  • 65% of automotive shoppers report narrowing down their car choices after watching a video.

Measuring impact is key to knowing that social media is generating results. As consumer attention continues to shift, we’re always testing and learning, said Fairbanks.

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