- Libby Murad-Patel and Joe Kyriakoza
Ford took its digital media prowess to another level when it unveiled the 2011 Explorer exclusively on Facebook, a first for a vehicle reveal, which traditionally occurs at auto shows or major industry events. Not only did Ford demonstrate confidence in social media to get its message across, but the move proved highly successful in encouraging a high volume of in-market shoppers to consider Explorer.
Daily users researching the Ford Explorer more than doubled on Jumpstart Automotive Group properties on July 26, the day of the Facebook unveiling, compared to the average daily usage for the month of July. The tactic proved successful in driving 104% more people to Explorer pages on that last Monday in July, and the aftereffects were compelling as well, as Explorer rounded out the week with successive daily improvements in usage (vs. the monthly average) of 66%, 25%, 13% and 8% by Friday.
Explorer’s growth in shopping and engagement during the Facebook reveal also led to Explorer capturing greater share of SUV shoppers by as much as 52% during the event, and 31% the day after. After trailing Jeep Grand Cherokee — which also recently launched a new design for 2011 — for most of July, Explorer soared ahead of it, and the rest of the competition, for the remainder of the month as shown in the chart below.
The type of growth in share Explorer enjoyed from its Facebook reveal bested improvements in share of shopping that manufacturers experienced the day after running one or more 30-second Super Bowl spots. When Jumpstart analyzed the post-game results of automotive advertisers in the 2010 Super Bowl, the average share of shopping growth was only 14%, less than a third of Explorer’s growth from its Facebook reveal.
While the cost associated with the Explorer reveal program on Facebook is unknown, it was likely nowhere near the cost of even one $2.5 million Super Bowl spot. This development demonstrates that while traditional media can be highly effective in driving consideration, a well-executed and deeply influential online program can shift intent with more immediacy.
It’s a cliché to say that times are changing, but it’s evident that this is a rapidly evolving industry when an auto manufacturer chooses a social media website to unveil a new design over the conventional outlets.
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