Why Authentic Visuals are the Vehicle for Automotive Success

By Dan Wetton - August 2, 2018
3 mins read time
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Test driving a car is an immersive experience that leaves a visceral impression on people.

But since 86 percent of car shoppers do research online before ever visiting a dealership, automotive brands must find ways to create impactful experiences across all the possible touchpoints consumers may have with them before stepping foot in their showrooms.

No matter which digital channel consumers are on or where they may be in the buyer’s journey, if you want to get their attention visuals are key. But not just any visuals.

People now ignore 95 percent (not a typo) of the branded content they encounter and nothing is more eye roll-inducing than a perfectly staged stock photo.

People now ignore 95% (not a typo) of the branded content they encounterClick To Tweet

No, the types of visuals people seek out, trust and want to share are the real photos and videos their friends, family and peers are creating on social media. This user-generated content (UGC) is authentic, relatable and more influential than the photos brands waste tons of time and money creating.

If 68 percent of consumers have purchased a car they found on social media, why not put that authentic social content to work for your brand across every channel?

Driving Inspiration

Inspiration is a key part of every consumer purchase cycle and engaging visuals are the most effective way to spark it.

To help inspire new potential customers, Subaru uses their Instagram channel to shine a spotlight on their existing Subaru owners.

With a passionate group of loyal and engaged customers, Subaru has perfected the art of engaging and exciting their fans while simultaneously leveraging those authentic, visual endorsements to help new audiences discover their first Subie.

Bring the Power of Social Proof to Product Pages

Cars are one of the most expensive purchases most people make in their lives. Beyond just inspiration, they need validation that a particular car is the car for them.

UGC is the perfect way to showcase real customers enjoying your vehicles in real world scenarios.

Since people are 6x more likely to make a purchase if the product page features images from social media, Mazda has started featuring user-generated images along with online reviews on their individual product pages — helping to balance technical car features with more personal and trusted stories.

Power Engagement & Advocacy

In an effort to engage their customers and build excitement around the release of their 2017 Triton truck, Mitsubishi launched their #MitsubishiLife competition. Fans were encouraged to share photos of their open road adventures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a chance to be featured on Mitsubishi’s social media channels.

With the help of Stackla, Mitsubishi was able to turn that social content into website engagement by enabling them to easily feature all their customers’ #MitsubishiLife pictures on their brand site — delighting fans and improving their online experience.

Stackla helped us create a great, engaging web experience for our #MitsubishiLife competition–inspiring our fans to submit over 1,000 entries. We’re thrilled with the success of the contest and how easy it was to launch.Emily Bennett, Digital Content Manager at Mitsubishi Motors Australia

Step Up Your Sponsorships

Event sponsorships are a significant investment auto brands make every year to get in front of new audiences and associate themselves with the sports, organisations and causes that are aligned with their brand identity.

For the past 13 years, BMW has sponsored the PGA championship tournament, which is one of the most distinguished and well-known events in professional golf. As title sponsors, BMW provides entertainment and activities for people at the star-studded Pro-Am event.

Encouraging attendees to share all the fun experiences they were having at the tournament, BMW curated and displayed all that compelling social content on their event webpage and digital screens throughout the event.

To ensure they had legal permission to display event goers content in various places, BMW requested and obtained approval to use people’s photos by asking them to respond to their posts with #YesBMW.

By requesting rights directly from the content creators in the audience, BMW got the added benefit of having 1:1 social conversations with people — deepening their connection to BMW while magnifying the reach of their content.

BMW’s live social wall and online visual gallery helped to make event goers a part of the BMW experience, driving crowd engagement and amplifying their brand exposure in an authentic way.

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