5 Reasons Luxury Car Makers Like Mercedes-Benz Should Be Using Social Network Mapping Technology

The auto industry spends big bucks when it comes to campaign creation, media buying, and influencer activation. Competition is tight, and new transportation trends loom. This industry needs to stay agile and ready to lean into innovative opportunities in marketing strategy.

This post breaks down the difference between network mapping and social listening and then lays out five ways the auto industry can leverage consumer insights powered through social network mapping.

Time to level up: Network Mapping vs. Social Listening

Auto brands have invested in developing a digital brand identity and growing social audiences. The value of this investment is realized only through smart analysis and activation of social data. Social listening is a great starting point, but unfortunately that’s all it is – a starting point. Only 10%-20% of any given audience is active on social. The vast majority of social users are lurkers. Lurkers consume far more content than they create. They use social media as an information resource, connecting them to what they have deemed to be relevant and interesting.

Because of this trend, social network mapping is crucial. Rather than focusing in on mentions and conversation, this type of analysis zeros in on social interconnectivity and following behaviour. Social network mapping captures 100% of a social audience and reveals how an audience organically segments into interest-based communities.

Interest-based communities are groups or ‘clusters’ of social users who are psychographically connected. They share a distinct set of interests, passions, and beliefs. An advanced marketing department takes into account such psychographic divisions within any broader group of consumers, and develops marketing strategy that is attuned to these advanced insights.

Mercedes-Benz USA Audience

Below is a screenshot from the Affinio platform. Here, we used Affinio to map all of the connection in @MBUSA’s network. Our technology revealed that this audience is 85.04% composed of silent lurkers, and organically segments into 10 distinct interest-based segments.

Here is a glimpse into some of the data behind these segments…

Top relevant interests to the Business Professionals and Techies segment (15% of the entire audience)

Top relevant interests to the Luxury Car Enthusiasts segment (14% of the entire audience)

Top relevant interests to the Luxury Ladies segment (7% of the entire audience)

Here are five prominent ways to leverage these network insights in the auto industry:

1/ Inform smart ad spending

The US auto brands spend big when it comes to media buying. By the year 2020, the American auto industry is expected to drop $14.14 billion on digital ads alone. As for traditional ad spending, auto brands continue to pay top dollar for prime media slots.

Psychographic segmentation and keen attention to interest behaviour offers remarkable insights informing targeted media buying. Affinio can directly measure the relationship between an audience segment and a particular media property. Here are the Mercedes-Benz audience segments measured against prime media opportunities.

Affinio Benchmark Feature:

If the Mercedes-Benz marketing team is striving to connect with the Luxury Ladies segment within their audience, they would have a higher likelihood of reaching this segment on NBC then any of the other outlets considered in this specific study. As shown in the above heat map, the NBC pairing with the Luxury Ladies segment has an affinity score of 27.5. This score indicates there is a strong affinity between the two.

This same heat map can easily be configured to show which digital media platforms Mercedes-Benz should be advertising on, or which celebrities they should be partnering with.

Interpreting the Benchmark Feature:

The Affinity Score (multiplier) is how many times more likely this audience is to follow a given account compared to all of Twitter.

The Relevance Score measures, from 0-100, those interests that are most likely to be relevant to your audience based on affinity, audience size, and the number of cluster members who already follow the particular account.

2/ Influencer identification

Finding the optimal influencer is a dream with Affinio. Our analysis can quickly and accurately identify people of relevance and interest to any segment, group of segments, or an even broader target audience. Whether looking to partner with macro celebrity influencers, or make an appeal with micro niche influencers, Affinio can take the guess work out of understanding the interest relationship between influencers and consumers.

3/ Competitive intelligence

Understanding your brands audience is only one piece of the puzzle. Social network mapping can also work in your favour when it comes to monitoring and benchmarking competition.

Below are results from a report run on the collective audience of four luxury car brands: Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus, and Audi. Combined, they share an audience that organically slices into eight distinct interest-based segments. Studying the interest behavior prevalent in each segment reveals which car brand is dominating in influence in each segment.

The Affinio Competitive Comparisons Feature:

The Female Pop Culture crowd are smitten with Lexus

Whereas the Luxury Car Enthusiasts gravitate the most towards Audi and BMW

Knowing how your audience stacks up against your competitors audience is key. Where do you share audience segments? What audience segment have they managed to attract that you haven’t? Network mapping can provide a complete 360 degree view of any audience. Take advantage of this technology to grow your own!

4/ Get to know true auto-intenders on Reddit

Back in the day, brands held the power of information. If a consumer wanted to know more about a product, they had to physically go to the store and talk with a sales rep. Today, things aren’t so simple. We are living in the age of the consumer, where product information is highly accessible and purchase advice is shared rampantly online.

Often referred to as “The Frontpage of the Internet,” Reddit is an online community used to discuss, share, rate, and create content in real-time. Reddit operates much like a bulletin board system where content entries are submitted by the over 36 million registered users and are voted on to increase or decrease the visibility of a post.

You better believe consumers use this forum to discuss their next car purchase! Good news is Affinio analyzes this network as well. You can use Reddit network insights to understand the types of conversations consumers are having, and what’s of high influence to them.

5/ Stay on top of relevant trends and topics

There’s major innovation hitting the auto industry. You can use networking mapping to understand the dynamics of consumers engaging with key topics. Is your target audience talking about popular ride share apps? What about self-driving cars? What segment of your audience is likely to discuss sustainability and fuel efficiency as opposed to Italian leather seats? Which segment of your audience is likely to drool over an auto-park feature?

You can leverage audience insights to shed light on these tricky topics and better tailor your communications, strategies, and market offerings moving forward.

Now what?

When it comes to gathering consumer insights, there is no greater compliment to your research mix than network mapping and psychographic segmentation.

Affinio analyzes massive amounts of data in a matter of hours. The results are easily interpretable, relevant, and actionable. There is a world of insights in the auto-industry waiting to be unearthed. Such consumer insights inform calculated marketing decisions and ultimately lead to more meaningful connection to consumers.

Interested in seeing more? Get in touch! We'd be happy to give you a complete demo of Affinio's Marketing Intelligence Platform.