BMW-related viewership on YouTube -- at more than 4 billion views -- is larger than that of any other auto brand, a report by marketing and data firm ZEFR found.
But here’s the twist: Just 5 percent of those views are on the German automaker’s official YouTube channel. The rest are from “fan videos” -- those classified by ZEFR as uploaded by drivers and others and showcasing a BMW car in a variety of roles, from road trips to do-it-yourself repair videos.
It’s a trend that’s mirrored by other brands, including Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Lamborghini and Chevrolet. For each of those four, 2 percent or less of the billions of views they receive on YouTube come from their official channels.
The new media landscape allows automakers to target specific customers for advertising and feedback in ways they never could before, ZEFR marketing head Dave Rosner said.
“YouTube has become a treasure trove for connecting with the right people for automakers,” Rosner said.
For instance, Chevy, Ford and other brands associated with classic muscle cars would do well to connect with the large classic car community on YouTube, Rosner said. ZEFR data show 305,000 videos dedicated to classic cars on YouTube, with 1.6 billion views. Automakers could connect, Rosner said, not only by placing advertisements ahead of targeted videos or channels but also directly engaging with the video’s makers and viewers.
“The ability to see real insights from consumers is unprecedented,” Rosner said.
Rosner said YouTube also provides automakers a “window” into millennials’ relationships with their cars.
In all, ZEFR found racing videos were the most popular among automotive clips. About 895,000 videos of races have been posted to YouTube, garnering more than 8 billion views. Videos of road trips (95,000) and car repair (35,000) are also popular.
The ZEFR data found sedans are by far the most regular subjects of videos on YouTube, with total views north of 9 billion. SUVs and sports cars follow with total views just shy of 3 billion.