LOS ANGELES — A new study by specialty analytics firm MarketShare indicates that the use of Twitter as a marketing tool drove $716 million in auto sales during 2013 among the 20 luxury compact and volume midsize cars modeled in the research.
MarketShare notes that, since auto brands have only recently adopted Twitter for marketing, data on individual brands is limited. So for the study the firm created "category-level" models using those 20 cars, which represented 34 percent of annual U.S. vehicle sales in 2013. The model also took into account a broader media mix, as well as non-marketing factors that influence purchases, such as vehicle price and the economy.
According to the study, Twitter accounted for $716 million in sales for the included models during the 2013 calendar year. Among the luxury compact vehicles, every $1 invested in Twitter resulted in $17.80 in revenue, while the volume midsize cars returned $7.90 for each $1 invested.
Twitter activity incorporated in the study included auto companies' own Tweets, positive organic mentions on Twitter and posts that aligned with television advertising. When used to amplify TV ads, the study found, the return on investment was 19 percent higher than when running TV ads alone.
Abe Mezrich, head of marketing communications for MarketShare told Edmunds: "In addition to its merits as a stand-alone platform, Twitter is very powerful as an amplification tool for TV and other media."
As an example, Mezrich pointed to a campaign for the 2015 Audi A3, which promoted the launch of the all-new model on the ABC Family show Pretty Little Liars, "the most tweeted scripted series ever," according to an Audi statement.
In addition to running ads during the show, Audi sent Tweeters to its Snapchat mobile account, where it had posted exclusive content about the episode, intended to capture the attention of viewers and support the brand. The result was 876,000 direct engagements and, with reposting, 487 million impressions on various social media sites, including Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter.
The MarketShare study echoes the results of earlier Twitter research, in which households with Twitter users were found to be twice as likely to purchase a new car as the average U.S. household. Moreover, that study found, those who engaged with Tweets posted by auto advertisers were 32 percent more likely to purchase a new vehicle than the average Twitter user, and those who actively followed posts from an auto brand were three times as likely to make a purchase.
Edmunds says: This study clearly demonstrates the marketing power of a mere 140 characters.