Car companies and Youtube effectiveness

Social Car News had a good article today, where they took a look over the various Youtube channels of some European car manufacturers.

They took a broader look at each one than what I have here, but I thought it would be good to drill down into some of the numbers and see if they tell us anything about each company, the way it’s using Youtube to engage customers and the relative success of each company in doing so.

Here are the numbers. You can sort the table by clicking on the arrows at each header. The default sorting is alphabetical by company name.

[table id=1 /]


Why “Saab” and “Saab II”?

16 of the 54 videos on Saab’s Youtube channel relate to footage of the dinner held on the Saturday night of the Saab Festival. I know from doing videos like this myself that they are valued by the people that watch them, but that those numbers are small.

In fact, the dinner videos have an average of just 347 views each, so the inclusion of these videos is definitely of statistical significance. Their inclusion has a significant influence on both the total number of videos uploaded as well as the average number of views per video.

Given that these videos are quite recent, its doubtful their addition to Saab’s Youtube channel would have added to the number of subscribers to the channel, so I’ve left this figure the same.


I thought I’d just run some simple numbers, which are shown in the last two columns.

The first of these is VpVideo, or Views per Video. It’s an average number of views per video for each manufacturer. I guess you could say that this can be used as a guide to how much interest there has been in the channel.

Saab does pretty well in this regard, rated fifth and following on from some pretty popular companies.

The number of average views per video can be influenced by a several factors not limited to the size of the company. These include how often the videos are embedded into websites, blogs, forums, etc. When you consider the amount of coverage the big German companies get in all the fanzines, etc, Saab really are doing pretty well.

The second number is SpVideo, or Subscribers per Video. My take on this is that it shows the ‘stickiness’ of the Youtube channel. It’s an indicator of how many people view a video and then decide that they want to see more from that company. This can be governed not only by the level of interest, but also by the nature of the videos produced and uploaded by the company.

From this figure, you can see that everyone wants a Porsche and no-one cares a whiff about Smart companies with what’s perceived as an attractive product, as well as engaging video, seem to do pretty well here.

Sometimes it’s the sheer attractiveness of the product, which can be an enduring thing over a long period of time (Aston Martin, Porsche) and sometimes it’s the constancy and variation of updates as well as exciting product videos (BMW and Audi).

Whatever the magic cocktail is, Saab are lagging behind a little in the number of subscribers per video, which would suggest that whilst there’s been a good level of interest in the videos they publish online, they’re not cementing that connection by getting people to subscribe and watch more of them.

Perhaps it’s the nature of the videos? Many of the videos on Saab’s channel are more about information and less to do with racy product shots. That’s the nature of Saab’s situation over the last 18 months, of course, and is not a criticism. But it could be a pointer as to what might work better in the future.

The internet is becoming a bigger part of people’s automotive research regimen with every week that passes by so whilst online video is just another piece of the puzzle, it’s still one that should be optimised.


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