Tuesday, February 5, 2008

How Social Networks Compete with Search...Mitsubishi Case Study

Based on the premise that search marketing is so popular because users are highly qualified due to their specified searches and the results they are exposed to, it occurs to me that access to the social graph expands this notion effectively with the added benefit of brand exposure.

Last night at Facebook Camp, there was a compelling Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution case study delivered by Andrew Cherwenka, Vice President of Business Development at Toronto based Trapeze Media.

Campaign Objectives
  • Generate brand exposure beyond that of Mitsubishi’s initial attempt through a stand alone micro-site.
  • Sell cars
Target Intelligence
  • 28 year old Canadian males
  • High demographic composition currently on Flickr, YouTube and Facebook
  • Campaign headline on the Home Page of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution microsite “Watch it on YouTube, Befriend it on Facebook, See it on Flickr" with direct links to YouTube, Facebook and Flickr
  • Creation of a fan page within Facebook (among other initiatives involving Flickr & YouTube)
Results (Facebook Portion)
  • Within 3 weeks, the page generated:
  • 1,199 fans
  • 152 wall posts
  • 12,473 video views to the Mitsubishi Lancer microsite
  • 17,384 page views to the Mitsubishi Lancer microsite
  • CPC $0.23
Based on the results (to date) of this campaign, one could argue that the effectiveness of the social graph far surpasses that of a traditional SEM campaign. In one of the most competitive categories (automotive), a $0.23 CPC at this volume and speed is hard to come by on the search engines.

The added layer of value is the engagement this type of execution is able to afford the advertiser.

Someone in the audience asked if the strategy was criticized for creating a “fan” page, which would imply that the campaign is not directed at acquisitions but rather, an existing base of loyal consumers. The response of course was that through accessing the social graph, Mitsubishi was able to pick up some influencers. It only takes one car enthusiast who belongs to several car talk groups to infect the masses he is associated with in that particular niche. So, not only is there reach, but also there is targeted reach, which in turn, creates highly desirable chatter content.

Search delivers targeted audiences, of this we as strategists are certain, but as witnessed in the Mitsubishi case study, the social graph delivers invaluable brand exposure opportunities. Andrew pointed out that the biggest value is in the tremendous amount of impressions delivered on profiles and newsfeeds across Mitsubishi's target market's social graph.

Local search from a decentralized (franchisee or dealer networks) come into play when the franchises and dealers leverage corporate initiatives such as these.

Ok, one last pot shot at search from this perspective.... Through the thick transparency, I can't seem to find any click fraud issues?


Bogdan A said...

Hi Sonia. My name is Bogdan Arsenie, and I was the one that posed the question to Andrew last night.
Andrew answered this question last night and it's the key to the campaign: "Mitsubishi's goal is to drive sales" that is exactly what their marketing campaign is not doing.
Your insights and Andrew's answer circle around how this is an effective marketing campaign to reach an audience. I don't disagree, it's getting decent reach for the $1300 they spent.
I posed the question because I am the target market for Mitsubishi, I am a person that is considering buying the new Evo. I currently own a Subaru WRX.
So not only can I see this as a marketer, but I can see it as a consumer as well.
What their marketing campaign needs to sell in Canada, is how the Evo X is an amazing rally car, and how it can beat the WRX STI. The WRX STI has a great market in Canada, and they need to beat it to meet their sales targets.
Their campaign is picking up Mitsu enthusiasts who knew it was coming 3 years ago.(I did and I am not even one)
It's doing nothing to hit their target market and picking up sales for them.
Show me a youtube video of an Evo beating an STI in the quarter mile. Show me a video of the Evo beating the STI around Nuremberg. Show me picture comparisons of what extra features the EVO has over the STI. That will get me in the dealer tomorrow to buy it.

It's a classic advertising challenge. You have to hire a firm that not only understands "new media" but they firstly must understand the market first, and what drives it.
The person that is in the market to buy an EVO (28 year old male) knows that it exists, he probably reads a few car mags and knew about this car 3 years ago, they're not going to find out about it for the first time on facebook, and chooses to buy it over the competition on looks & performance. You have to sell just that.

Sonia Carreno said...

Hi Bogdan,

Thanks for your feedback! I guess the idea here is that the people who knew about the car three years ago have a lot of friends within their social network that may not know about the car. The ones in the know act as influencers and draw attention to the vehicle as a whole. I'm certainly not an automotive expert but the notion of drawing 17,000 viewers to content about my product or service in three weeks for $1,300 is not a bad deal.

Bogdan A said...

I'm pretty sure that the 17 000 pageviews weren't uniques ;)

andrew said...

Hey Bogdan, I'll chime in here with a few things but note I'm not speaking for Mits here at all. Just talking as the biz dev guy at the shop that did the microsite and facebook page.

1. How can you say the fan page is doing nothing to hit their target market? Don't Mitsu enthusiasts have Subaru-enthusiast friends in their social graph? Sonia summed it up best in her response. This page (it's not a campaign) is obviously drawing attention to people outside of that core group that knew about the Evo 3 yrs ago.

2. A big portion of Evo fans are aspirational. They'll drop down to a cheaper model. Brand building isn't just about selling one model.

3. This Facebook page won't drive sales directly. It isn't showroom floor advertising and there's no eCommerce "buy now" option. But it's definitely building the consideration set and the top part of the buying funnel. Of the 1384 fans (185 added in the past 24 hrs) I'd be really curious to see how many had never heard of the Evo before and didn't know how great Mitsu cars were. I'm one of them. Odds are I won't be converted into a buyer but some of the 1383 "fans" that are new to the Mitsu story just might. And who knows how many of my 444 friends visited the Mitsu page after seeing it on my profile? (Which brings us back to point #1).

4. Evo vs STI: When those videos are available I can't see why they wouldn't be posted, but that's up to Mitsu.