Car Brands in India Report: Study of How Top Car Brands are Using Facebook in India
As middle class India mobilises on a scale not seen since 1960’s America, having a car is no longer a luxury of the few but an essential part of everyday life. The car market in India has come a long way since the Premier and the Ambassador, with today’s discerning buyer being able to choose from a Rs. 1.5 lakh Tata Nano up to a Rs. 1.5 crore Audi R8. As car showrooms pop up in towns and cities across India, a new marketing frontier is opening up on Facebook to win the hearts, minds and also the loyalties of young, upwardly mobile citizens.
Unmetric, a specialist social media benchmarking company, has released the most in-depth and comprehensive report on how 16 car manufacturers in India are using Facebook to leverage their marketing efforts. The report examines every aspect of the brands’ Q3 social media strategy (July 1st and September 30th).
Key to rating the performance of the various car brands is the Unmetric Score, a unique measurement designed to give ‘sector aware’ context to social media activity. The Car Brands in India Report highlights successes in specific metrics, while the combined Unmetric Score represents those brands with the best social media performance on Facebook. The score is a scientific blend of various qualitative and quantitative social media metrics, weighted and balanced to produce a single benchmarkable number.
Despite being a new entrant in the market compared to the other manufacturers, Audi tops the performance table with an Unmetric Score of 53. At number two is India’s own Tata Motors with an Unmetric Score of 52 while another German brand, BMW, drives home in third place with an Unmetric Score of 40.
In terms of raw numbers, the Indian car manufacturers come out on top. Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki and Tata have 91 lakh fans – more fans than every other car brand combined. Not surprising, perhaps, considering that these brands control over 52% of the market. It was the aspirational German brands which dominated the foreign car makers. BMW, Audi, Mercedes and VW have 39 lakh fans between them despite commanding less than 0.8% of the market share.
A demographic analysis of all the brands’ pages yielded results that might be surprising to some yet unsurprising to others within the social media industry. The average fan of a car Facebook page in India is a young, single male, under the age of 21. While we know that not too many 19 year olds are driving around BMW’s or even XUV’s, it should come as no surprise to see these figures since over 80% of Facebook users in India are young, single and male.
As any social media agency will tell you though, fans numbers only give a small fraction of the whole social media story. How well a brand engages with an audience is far more important than fan numbers alone. Unmetric calculates engagement on a Facebook page by weighing the number of Likes, Comments, Shares and Estimated Impressions for each post.
Once again it was the premium German marques that got the most people talking. Audi was ahead with an average engagement score of 490. There was a surprising showing from Mitsubishi, which achieved an average engagement score of 265. This was followed up by BMW and Mercedes, who managed an average engagement score of 222 and 144 respectively.
To find out how different types of content affect engagement on Facebook, Unmetric uses ‘human computing’ along with advanced algorithms to uncover and dissect the content strategy of brands on Facebook. In this analysis of car manufacturers in India, it was found that most brands were talking about themselves while, in fact, talking about the car sector in general scored better engagement among the fans.
Taking the content analysis one step further, Unmetric also sub-categorised the “talking about the brand” posts. This analysis found that most brands posted news about the brand but what fans really responded to were new model announcements and events such as the Delhi Auto Expo.
For example, on August 14th, 2012, BMW posted the most engaging piece of content for the time period analysed. It was about a new concept car and asked if people would want to go and see it. The post got an engagement score of 2,264 thanks to 66,759 Likes, 3,415 Comments and 15,811 Shares. No other post came close to this level of engagement although all brands saw higher engagement for new model announcements.
One of the ways brands can encourage a Facebook community to grow and engage better is to be responsive to their fans. In this respect, Unmetric looked at how well the car manufacturers in India were responding to fan posts. Most pages responded to less than 10% of fan posts, with Tata Motors replying to the highest percentage of fan posts.
Tata Motors cemented their position as the number one caring brand by responding to fan posts in just over 3 hours on average. Hyundai was the second most responsive brand, replying to fan posts in around 7 hours on average. Chevrolet came in third with an average response time of 11 hours. Honda sat at the bottom of the table of brands that engaged with fans, taking over 3 days on average to reply to fans.
Here is a breakdown of the study which shows the top 5 brands for each metric analysed:
– Top Unmetric Scores on Facebook
1. Audi – 53
2. Tata Motors – 52
3. BMW – 40
4. Hyundai – 37
5. Mahindra – 32
– Most Fans on Facebook
1. Mahindra Motors – 4,137,641
2. Tata Motors – 2,848,144
3. Maruti Suzuki – 2,163,328
4. Audi – 1,255,698
5. BMW – 1,176,361
– Most Engaging Brands on Facebook Based on Average Engagement Score
1. Audi – 490
2. Mitsubishi – 265
3. BMW – 222
4. Mercedes – 144
5. Renault – 100
– Fastest Average Reply Time on Facebook
1. Tata Motors – 3 hrs 24 mins
2. Hyundai – 7 hrs 18 mins
3. Chevrolet – 10 hrs 50 mins
4. Mercedes – 11 hrs 3 mins
5. Skoda – 13 hrs 57 mins
– Most Engaging Content (average engagement score combined from all Facebook pages)
1. New Vehicle Launch – 79
2. Events – 41
3. Brand News – 35
4. Questions to Fans – 26
5. Contests – 20
“Young India has always had a penchant for the aspirational so I am not surprised to see the German auto manufacturers leading the way when it comes to social media performance in India,” said Unmetric CEO, Lakshmanan Narayan. “With sales of just over 7,000 units in the last 12 months, we can probably count on one hand the number of 19 year olds that are able to buy their own Mercedes, so why does the brand page have nearly 6 lakh young fans? I think what we are seeing is the younger generation defining their own personal brand by aligning themselves with brands associated with money, wealth, success and power. It’s interesting to see when compared to Facebook pages of car brands in North America because it is the everyday brands like Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler that lead the way there on social media performance.”
Unmetric compiled its report by sourcing data from its social media benchmark platform. Where brands like Mahindra Motors, Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki had multiple pages, weighted averages were taken to combine all the data. All statistics were gathered from July 1st, 2012 to September 30th, 2012.