Since our last report on Auto Brand Performance on Social in 2017, several new features have cropped up on various platforms, and we wondered how strategies for auto brands on Facebook and Instagram might have changed as a result.

We’re tracking thousands of accounts across various social platforms and as a result, are able to see trends in social strategies spreading across the web. One trend we’ve been monitoring in the past couple of years is how auto brands engage their followers on Facebook and Instagram. The auto industry’s audience is dialed in, and we consistently see high engagement to earned and owned media. But how do the brands stack up?

In the past year, articles about Tesla have been engaged with the most, with 21 million engagements to earned media. Though Elon Musk drives a lot of conversations in the space, mainstream publishers love to cover the brand and the many, many, many musings from the CEO, driving the total amount of articles featuring Tesla to almost 200k. Ford came in second with coverage focused heavily on the brand losing $1 billion to Trump’s tariffs and the mass layoffs that ensued. While they had about 16 million engagements to 66k articles, the disparity in coverage highlights Tesla’s massive share of voice. The rest of the top 10 brands are as follows:

When we took a deeper look into their owned media on the social platforms, the top 10 changed drastically. Mercedes Benz came out as the number one most engaged auto brand on Facebook.

The above chart shows engagements to posts of all types that the brands published to Facebook in the last year. But what types of content get this kind of engagement on a platform where other industries struggle to engage their audiences? The key for Mercedes is video. They do a great job of posting consistently, and maintaining a reputation for high quality content with stunning visuals. More so than other industries, auto has to showcase the product in motion, or how it will fit into your life, which is extremely conducive to video.

Mercedes made up 41% of the video content posted to Facebook for the top 10, and their posts are consistently highly engaged. In an age where most brands and publishers are questioning their overall Facebook strategy, Mercedes and Toyota are doing extremely well on the platform, getting high engagements per post and really succeeding in their ability to connect with an audience there. Everyone else in the top 10 seems to have pivoted to Instagram to meet those desired higher numbers. The chart below shows the top performing post for each brand on Facebook and Instagram.

Porsche is consistently garnering high engagement on Instagram, getting over 500k likes and comments isn’t out of the ordinary for them, but when it comes to Facebook, no one is really engaging with them there. The last time we took a look at auto brands on both Facebook and Instagram, Instagram was far outperforming Facebook on every single brand page. With changes to algorithms and new features on Instagram, it’s been interesting to watch brand strategies change. 

Mercedes has high engagement on both platforms, and some of their most engaged posts on Facebook are actually round-ups of what did well for them on Instagram in the past week:

This strategy works well for Mercedes, while Toyota has figured out that being active in responding to comments on their Facebook posts has earned them a loyal audience on the platform:

Auto brands are rethinking ways to engage their followers and while video is playing a key role, other brands are pushing the boundaries of typical interactions. Though it didn’t make the list for the top 10 most engaged brands, Infiniti made headlines last week with their immersive Instagram experience, taking users behind the wheel of a Q60 coupe. As auto brands continue to refine their social strategies when platforms innovate, new experiences outside typical posts and interactions that seem to do well in this industry will inspire a myriad of ways to connect with your dream car, wherever you are. 

If you’re interesting in tracking social media strategy across competitors in your industry, check out NewsWhip Analytics.

Katherine Ellis

Katherine is a Content Strategist working at the confluence of journalism + marketing. She's most interested in bridging the gap between business and editorial and exploring ways publishers can use data to inform their storytelling.

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