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CARS IN CONTEXTTargeting Automotive Content on YouTube1

insightsIntroductionAuto Video TrendsNew Car Suprises4Classic Cars8Car Tours5Racing9What’s in My Car?6Road Trips10DIY / Car Repairs7Data SpotlightsTop Car Types11Top Car Brands12Fan vs. Official13InterviewsAutomaker: BMW13Influencer: That Dude in Blue222

IntroductionFrom a last-minute pack of peppermint gum thrown into your cartFor consumers looking to buy a new car, sometimes the purchasewhile waiting in line at the grocery store, to all of the stress anditself is the least complex step in the process. Before the buying is thepaperwork of buying a new house, we all make purchases in varioussearching; after the purchase is the upkeep and maintenance. As ZEFRstates of mind. These mindsets can run from that absentmindedInsights has previously explored, YouTube can be especially helpfulimpulse as we wait at the register and grab that pack of gum, to thein countless ways, not only if you are in the mindset simply to buyhyper-focused and often stressful longterm search for that perfectsomething, but even if you are preparing for drastic change in to invest your life savings and call home. Within that broad(See, for example, our recent ZEFR Report, Parenting on YouTube: Thespectrum of consumer mindsets is the one that accompanies buying aTop Child-Rearing Video Trends).new or used car.Whether you’re simply looking for a new minivan for your family,In this, our latest report, Cars in Context: Targeting Automotive Contentor a classic car enthusiast trying to find that essential part to finishon YouTube, ZEFR has again used its proprietary technology to siftrestoring your dream machine, ZEFR has found the best channels,through the millions of hours on YouTube to find the most useful,influencers, and content to suit your specific needs. If you are an autointeresting, and unique content devoted to cars and automobile culturebrand, a parts manufacturer, PepBoys, or Jiffy Lube, this Report is youron the to find the best video categories on YouTube to align with andtarget your message to the right consumer at the right time and inthe right mindset.So sit down, buckle up, and enjoy the ride as we help navigate theworld of automotive content on YouTube.3

PART I: AUTO VIDEO TRENDSTo fully understand YouTube is to understand how video trendsemerge, grow, and take off on the platform. As categories and stylesof content become popular, more and more creators continue to iterate their own versions, until a trend is born. From “car tours” to “newcar suprises” to “racing” and “reviews”, the automtovie verticle onYouTube contains countless subcatergories. In this chapter, we explorea selection of this unique content.4

Video ExamplesVideo TrendNEW CAR SURPRISESAs one of the most heartwarming trends we’ve ever come across onYouTube, “new car surprise” videos capture people giving loved onesnew cars. They range from parents gifting their teenager’s first car, tograndparents receiving remodeled classics they used to own years ago,to sons and daughters surprising their parents with the dream car theyalways wanted.There is no quantifiable way to capture the authenticity of a proud fatherand mother proclaiming, “No power locks, no power windows, but it’syours!” Family, pride, love, and life as it is actually lived—it’s a narrative adexecutives have been trying to recreate in television spots for decades.Why not join forces with the real thing on YouTube?NEW CAR SURPRISES DATA31K 240M{videos}{views}2M{engagements}5

Video ExamplesVideo TrendCAR TOURSMuch like room tours, a car tour is about showcasing a space. In thiscase, people film parts of their car, highlighting aspects of which theylike, or dislike. Everyone has been in a situation where they’ve gone to adealership and had a salesman guide them through what a car has to offer.Why not skip the sales pitch entirely and seek out genuine opinions fromthe car owners themselves, right from the comfort of your own home?CAR TOURS DATA1.6K 14M{videos}{views}230K{engagements}6

Video ExamplesVideo TrendWHAT’S IN MY CAR?Similar to “What’s in My Bag?” videos that garner millions of views forbeauty vloggers, “What’s in My Car?” videos involve someone goingthrough the things they keep in all of the available places to storethings in automobiles. (Hint: Glove compartments aren’t just for glovesanymore.) They can look a lot like a car tour, but instead of a critique ofthe car itself, these videos are more about the drivers and their particularhabits and preferences. These videos can give a potential customer aclose up and personalized guided tour through all of the compartmentson offer on a particular model. For an automaker, this content is freeconsumer feedback, showing exactly how the custom is using, (or notusing!) the car’s features.WHAT’S IN MY CAR? DATA280{videos}7M{views}163K{engagements}7

Video ExamplesVideo TrendDIY / CAR REPAIRThe power of video to serve as a tool for learning a new skill is undeniable.Even the most detailed, step-by-step guidebook can only teach anapprentice so much—sometimes you just need to watch a master in actionto fully understand a proper technique. This is why YouTube has becomea must-use resource for anyone trying their hand at a craft for the firsttime. Targeting these “fix it myself” consumers can be a highly valuableopportunity for brands.One of the most active DIY (aka, “do it yourself”) communities on YouTubeis the world of “autos” and “cars.” For the DIY crowd, buying a car is onlythe first step in an ongoing relationship that includes everything fromroutine maintenance to custom installations to tricky repairs.DIY / CAR REPAIR DATA35K 949M{videos}{views}4M{engagements}8

Video ExamplesVideo TrendCLASSIC CARSAs the world’s second-largest search engine, YouTube is a visual archiveof culture. Whatever feelings of nostalgia that arise for a user, a quicksearch of YouTube will bring up relics of the past sure to satisfy the mostdie-hard collector. Classic cars are no exception and one of the biggestauto-related trends on the platform. From full restorations to tours ofcollections and museums, the classic car lover can relive their favoriterides with just a few clicks. For auto parts, brands, this is the perfectcontent for which to algin.CLASSIC CARS DATA305K 1.6B 7.3M{videos}{views}{engagements}9

Video ExamplesVideo TrendRACINGRacing is HUGE on YouTube. It’s by far the biggest trend covered in thisreport in terms of view count. The breadth of content in this trend is sowide that we could easily dedicate an entirely separate report to it. Ifit’s got wheels, then someone is likely racing it on YouTube. From streetracing to dirt tracks to sand, the surfaces where people are willing to putspeed to the test have no bounds. The ultimate winner? Adrenaline.RACING DATA895K 8.2B{videos}{views}40M{engagements}10

Video ExamplesVideo TrendROAD TRIPSIf you really wanna see how a car holds up to the elements, take it ona cross-country road trip. And, when we say “elements,” we don’t justmean the extreme weather one might encounter from state to state.Rather, we’re talking about the daily grind of a group of humans living,eating, and sleeping inside a vehicle for weeks at a time. YouTubecreators document their journeys for the world to see, and the resultsare an excellent resource for anyone considering a road trip of their own.Family vlogs frequently film their trips while trying not to get into toomany fights, while beauty influencers make videos with travel essentials.ROAD TRIPS DATA95K 442M 5.5M{videos}{views}{engagements}11




Data SpotlightFAN VIDEOSFAN VIDEOS LEAD THE WAY ON YOUTUBEOFFICIAL A2%5%MERCEDES BENZLAMBORGHINI2%1%CHEVROLET2%98%95%FAN VIEWS98%99%98%OFFICIAL VIDEOS** “Official” represents videos uploaded to the brand’s official YouTube channel15

TDIBINFLUENCER INTERVIEW:That Dude in BlueIn the introductory video posted to his YouTube channel, That Dudein Blue, aka David Patterson, says, “I film everything, from vlogsabout the hardships of growing up, to tutorials, or even drivingcars that absolutely terrify me.” It’s that latter activity that has seenhis channel grow from its humble beginnings to attract over 300thousand subscribers and over 40 million views across his videocontent. As an automotive “influencer,” Patterson works out of hishometown of Richmond, Virginia and credits “authenticity” as theprimary ingredient to the success he’s had on the platform.16

ZEFR Insights: You refer to yourself as a “full-time YouTuber.” Howdid you achieve this?David Patterson: I achieved this by one simple thing that most otherYouTubers will agree with: Just keep doing it. I’ve made videos sinceI was 15 years old and originally wanted to work in Hollywood. Ieventually found out it wasn’t for me, and I saw others starting tobecome successful on the site and said to myself, “Why not me?” So,I tried a handful of different kinds of channels to do this full time likecomedy, sketch, and even special effects. Nothing worked. I had alwayswatched car videos online and wondered just how difficult it would beto make a car-oriented video. I made my first car review out of sheercuriosity, and it was the first time I had ever gotten over 5,000 viewsfairly quickly. I knew I was onto something. It was something I enjoyeddoing, and did on and off throughout college. The day I graduated Ihad reached 1,000 subscribers and officially decided to pursue thisuntil I made it work.“I had always watched carvideos online and wonderedjust how difficult it wouldbe to make acar-oriented video.”17

ZEFR: Do you have certain criteria that need to be met before youagree to working with a brand? What has been your experience so farin dealing with the business side of running a channel?“Staying authentic onYoutube is everything.withbrands, you have to fullybelieve in the product youare working with.Patterson: My experience with brands is very little, actually. Every singlecar I have ever reviewed is not from a press car division or the brand.They are actually all owners’ cars. I’ve been fortunate enough to havecar enthusiasts let me drive their cars and share them with the world. A”car actually owned by somebody has a real story behind it. The videosare more emotionally based in car culture than fact/numbers based,so it works out. However, brands have begun to approach me withoffers and that I think that just comes with hard work. If you are doingsomething right, brand or sponsors will come to you. You shouldn’tbe afraid to ask! I’ve made some great partners in the auto industrybecause of it. I’m open to working with many of them. It is just a part ofZEFR: How do you stay “authentic”? It’s an important ideal for a lotgrowing something as a passion and also as a business.of YouTubers to maintain their authenticity even while working withbrands. Is this something that is important to you and how do youmake sure you are making content with your fans in mind and earningtheir trust?Patterson: Staying authentic on YouTube is everything. It is extremelyimportant to be yourself at all times, because the day you getrecognized (which does happen once you grow) people are going to18

want to meet the person they know through the videos. Thankfully,this has really been an advantage for me because it has brought mytrue self out over these years. With brands, you have to fully believein the product you are working with. For example, my first brand dealI ever did was with a cleaning product that I was already using on mycar. You have to avoid what I call “Wayne’s World syndrome” where it’sobviously forced. I trust my fans as much as they trust me. It’s an onlinerelationship that comes full circle when you meet them in person. It’sincredible.ZEFR: As a YouTube creator, what lessons have you learned aboutfilmmaking for the platform, or about cars, that has helped evolve“your channel into the success it has become?I decided to take it from amore laid-back approach.In other words: Is the carfun, or not?Patterson: Being an automotive YouTuber has taught me many things.One is: Don’t take things too personally. Constructive criticism is great,but it is few and far between in the world of trolls. As for filmmaking, Ihave met many other creators in the niche that helped me learn overtime. Most importantly, how to stick out from the other channels as” ”much as possible. Other car reviews are almost all the same. I decidedto take it from a more laid-back approach. In other words: Is the carfun, or not? You can only say so much in the end about things that19

almost all work in a similar way. YouTube [viewers] also have a prettyZEFR: You work across multiple social media platforms. Could youshort attention span, so I try to keep my videos informative and to thetalk about how each platform helps to push out the Dude in Blue’spoint. I once did a film about a road trip called Rally North Americamessage? In what ways do you approach making content for, say,where I spent a couple all nighters editing to get done resulting inInstagram, differently than for YouTube?“an hour long film- nobody watched it. The three rules of Youtubequality,quantity, and consistency. I have learned so much aboutPatterson: Social media is key to YouTube success. YouTube is a crazydifferent cars and brands over these years I feel incredibly media platform in itself, but the other ones can have a little bitBeing the only car guy in my family, I have opened a door to a world Imore of a personal connection. Instagram is easily my most popularnever had access too before I use it to let viewers know about upcoming events, my videos”being released, and my progress on trips. On Twitter, I probably haveZEFR: As a content-creator and a parent, what advice do you havethe most one-on-one relationships with my subscribers due to the easefor other parents, whose kids are watching YouTube, or will be soon?of the platform and how quick it is. On Facebook, I have a fan pagewhere I use the same techniques as on Instagram. Twitch streamingJM: First off, I think it’s so great that there are so many different waysis also very vital, because gaming with your subscribers is a personalfor kids to get good content. However, as a parent, you need to makeexperience. One of my favorite apps/social media just released calledsure that the content is good. Our family has always tried to see whatPeriscope is awesome for quick video stream updates and I lovethe content is (and what the message is) before the kids get to it. Irevealing channel secrets that nobody else knows about since theythink as a parent you should try as best you can to be the first linetook the time to follow me there. I have others, but those are thebefore the kids can see the content. You know, as parents we’re allones I focus on the most. You make YouTube your “main event” orjust trying to be the best that we can be.the headliner of the concert. The other social media platforms are theopening acts.20

ZEFR: You work across multiple social media platforms.Could you talk about how each platform helps to pushout That Dude in Blue’s message? In what ways do youapproach making content for, say, Instagram, differentlythan for YouTube?Patterson: Social media is key to YouTube success. Instagramis easily my most popular one. I use it to let viewers knowabout upcoming events, my videos being released, and my“You make YouTube your‘main event’ or the headlinerof the concert. The othersocial media platforms arethe opening acts.”progress on trips. On Twitter, I probably have the most oneon-one relationships with my subscribers due to the easeof the platform and how quick it is. On Facebook, I have afan page where I use the same techniques as on Instagram.Twitch streaming is also very vital, because gaming withZEFR: Finally, why YouTube?your subscribers is a personal experience. One of my favoriteapps that was just released is called Periscope. It’s awesomePatterson: I get asked this all the time. The easiest answer is: Videofor quick video stream updates and I love revealing channelstreaming is the future of video entertainment. YouTube let’s yousecrets that nobody else knows about since they took themake, quite literally, whatever you want. I have full creative control.time to follow me there. I have others, but those are the onesI’m a one-man band and although it’s stressful, it’s incrediblyI focus on the most. You make YouTube your “main event”satisfying knowing I built this on my own. YouTube is a little over-or the headliner of the concert. The other social mediasaturated with content now to get started, but it is still a great wayplatforms are the opening open the doors to bigger opportunity. Digital is where it’s at.21

BMWAUTOMAKER INTERVIEW:BMWFor Cars in Context, ZEFR ran a search of all the top auto brands onYouTube to measure their total footprint on the platform, includingofficial, brand-owned channels, and unofficial “fan” channels. In theend, BMW came out ahead in terms of total views. What’s more, BMWalso maintains the lead among all official channels with over 211 milliontotal views.To help shed a light on why the automaker is leading the brandrace on YouTube, we spoke with BMW Group’s Head of BrandCommunication Uwe Dreher about social media trends, theimportance of virality, and how to maintain message control amidstthe seemingly unmanageable universe of digital video.22

ZEFR Insights: How much do you pay attention to uploadedcontent about BMW and are you comfortable with the democracy ofYouTube, where users can create content that you might never see,let alone control?“Uwe Dreher: For every brand it is a big challenge to accept the factthat there are conversations about the products and services that canhardly be controlled. Even before the time when “Social Media” wascalled “Web 2.0” or “Emerging Media” those conversations alreadyexisted. Though, the potential impact was much lower. Nowadays,the visibility of those conversations is huge and the professionalmanagement of that off-site content is becoming key.BMW is paying a lot of attention to those conversations and externalcontent assets. No matter if it is criticism or brand love, the objectiveof BMW is to monitor all relevant brand-related contributions. Brandsneed to be aware of the fact, that user-generated content is shapingthe brand’s reputation as well as brand generated content.UWE DREHER23

ZEFR: The upside of all the content about BMW being uploadedZEFR: How do you feel about “trends” in social media? How doesacross social media platforms is that you get to actually seeBMW balance incorporating trends into its social media strategy andconsumers interact with your cars and say things that mightstill maintain its historic integrity that was cemented long beforeotherwise have never reached the “boardroom.” What things havethese platforms were even available?“you learned from listening to actual BMW owners that has helpedinform your overall strategy when trying to expand BMW’s base and,Dreher: As a premium brand, BMW is very selective and rather reservedwell, sell more cars?when it comes to adapting trending topics and viral memes. On the onehand, this could boost your short-term awareness, but the objective isDreher: It’s not that listening to UGC [user generated content] isto reach out to a target group that is sustainably interested in the brandreplacing market research or classical customer

2 Classic Cars Racing Road Trips New Car Suprises Car Tours What’s in My Car? DIY / Car Repairs 4 5 6 7 Introduction 11 12 13 13 22 8 9 10 Top Car Types Top Car Brands

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