Ford keeping its eyes on the social media road.
Just two days prior to Facebook’s IPO, peculiar as the timing appeared, General Motors (GM) announced it would be pulling its $10 million advertising from the social networking behemoth (approximately 5% of Facebook adjusted 2012 revenues), with automaker marketers arguing GM wasn’t seeing the ROI reflected in vehicle sales. The third largest US advertiser after Proctor & Gamble and AT&T, with a total annual ad spend of $1.8 billion across all media, GM will maintain its unpaid Facebook presence, leaving only the automaker’s Facebook content creators benefitting from its $30 million creative budget.
While Facebook claims its new socially enhanced ad platform has a 65% reach for paid advertisers, as opposed to 16% for unpaid, more has been revealed since. The ironic twist in GM’s “below the belt” timing tactic—which revealed the value the automaker placed on the 900 million registered user platform—actually was the GM’s 900 pound gorilla response to Facebook, who refused to capitulate to GM’s request for bigger splashier ads.
The kerfuffle surrounding GM’s announcement resulted in a single day spike May 16th in GM social media conversations, according to NetBase analytics: over 5K posts, 8.7 million impressions, -14% net sentiment and 0% passion intensity.
Via its Twitter feed, Ford Motors, considered one of the most innovative and strategic social media marketers, offered this amusing repartee:
Ford gets it. Today’s advanced social intelligence tools offer multiple avenues for market segmentation and strategic engagement. Just to cite a few:
- Detecting top influencers by author, Klout score and those with the most reach
- Measuring Facebook audience response to ads on the site, by geographic location and gender
- Competitive analysis with other Facebook ads
- Dissection of main themes, attributes, emotions and predictive behaviors, as well as conversation analysis by source within a domain—all easily tracked right down to the quarter hour with exportable supporting data.
And that’s only a shortlist for the strategic social media marketer who appreciates the value of authentic, unbiased opinions by people in the creative marketing process.
When Ford recently launched its first unbranded marketing campaign titled Go Further, it kept its eye on the social media wheel. Likely anticipating its break with traditional branded auto advertising protocol would elicit some bewilderment, Ford was ready. When we filtered ads and commercials in NetBase after the marketing launched, an initial soar in buzz on May 11th also showed a dip, albeit a positive one, in net sentiment for the month and, significantly, an instant record of the emotional gamut for the day, which ranged from “initially worried” to “awesome.”
Some 3,450 posts on May 11th resulted in almost 5,700 Ford mentions and 510K impressions. For a deeper analytical dive, data for any point on the social intelligence map can be exported to examine sentiment, emotions or predictive behavior root cause, as well as trending brands or people within the search parameters.
As the charts below show, social media tools offer great opportunity to develop engagement strategies to interact with influential authors and/or those with significant reach.
I don’t profess to know which social media intelligence tools Ford is using. But certainly they are leading the way in socially smart strategic acumen in automotive, as well as marketing overall. With Ford’s plan to “Go Further” globally with the campaign, they could use a tool like NetBase Insight Composer to track the performance of their marketing concurrently for other countries—or against other brands, as the chart below shows. And NetBase supports other languages, including French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.
Today, I’ll put my money on Ford’s social smarts. They know where the rubber hits the road.
Global social media analyst, research strategist and localization expert. Delivers global social media brand audits, analytics, brand innovation, media tracking. NetBase partner, leverages award-winning NLP platform Insight Composer to deliver global brand insights and analytics in 26 languages. Yogini, linguaphile, passionate about brand innovation and competitive positioning using social ...