Like many high-touch retail experiences, car shopping took a major hit in 2020 when the COVID lockdown closed many showrooms across the country. But the quarantine only increased people's wanderlust. Luckily for automakers, with airlines and public transportation out of the picture for many due to pandemic concerns, the possibilities of the open road—and the desire for a new set of wheels—beckoned.
After a period of significant slowdown, the auto industry is coming back to life as consumers look at personal mobility in a new light, exploring the latest vehicles to hit the market. For auto brands, this has opened up new avenues for building hype around launches and reveals—and conversations around cars are trending up. How do we know? Auto conversation on Twitter has been steadily growing since midyear—up 114% since the end of March.
Abundantly clear a ton of New Yorkers, with no business behind the wheel, bought covid cars this summer.— Meg Walton (@megmwalton) August 27, 2020
Despite the auto industry’s rising momentum, one roadblock has remained for brands: the inability to host in-person vehicle reveals. These product launches and reveals—often held at auto shows—have always been at the heart of the industry, serving as the place where brands roll out their latest models amid much anticipation. Fortunately, there’s a new way to capture that same excitement with the simple click of a button.
What we’ve seen in the past few months is an innovative three-point turn where brands are filming their reveals at offsite locations and broadcasting them live on social media. Because the success of these live reveal events depends on the conversations they generate, Twitter has become a natural go-to hosting platform. In fact, more than 80% of auto brands on Twitter have either hosted a virtual vehicle launch or plan to do so in 2021.
Real time. Real hype
So why are auto brands coming to Twitter to host their live reveals? One reason is the conversations on Twitter happen in real time. Live moments bring a whole new wave of energy to auto brands’ launches and remind people what they love about auto shows. And when paid media is in the mix, Twitter is capable of driving a 105% average incremental lift in brand conversation in the U.S.
Placed my reservation! Cannot wait to get this thing on the road! We actually are gonna buy two! Well done @Ford! Truly magical!!!— Marty (@Krawko) November 18, 2019
The 2021 auto release calendar is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting ever, and while we don't know whether we'll all be able to gather in convention centers to watch the reveals in person, we do know Twitter will be among leading platforms driving the conversation.
The article “Virtual auto launches take the driver's seat” first appeared on Marketing.Twitter.com
- Brandwatch, U.S. only, January-August 2020.
- Twitter internal data.
- Twitter engagement data, January-July 2019, Twitter campaigns; U.S. (n=133).