The US automotive industry is one of the largest spenders on digital advertising, spending over $7 billion in 2015 and projected to grow significantly in coming years. The goal, of course, is to grow their digital exposure footprint and their sales numbers, and the Swoop Digital Brand Exposure Index (DBEI) is designed to create an objective ranking of automotive models and brands with the most exposure within the online auto world. Swoop has the largest network of automotive sites in the world, and the Swoop Search Engine extracts brand and model data from every page, giving us an unfiltered look at what automotive models are being talked about and read about the most in the United States.
So, who is winning the battle of the digital footprint?
Most Visible Auto Makers
Every quarter, Swoop looks at the car, truck and van models with the most digital exposure across our large and diverse network of premium automotive publishers. In Q2, 2016, Ford edged Chevrolet with the most vehicle model exposure in the United States:
The two American mainstay brands kept well ahead of the competition, with Japan’s Honda taking third, nearly five percentage points behind second-place Chevy.
Most Visible Models
The top 10 most talked-about and read-about automotive models give an insight into what drives the top brands’ overall success:
You can see two different methods of driving visibility between the top two brands: while Chevrolet’s most-talked-about vehicle is the Corvette, not a huge seller but an aspirational vehicle, Ford’s is the F150, which is the highest-selling pickup truck in the country.
It is interesting to note that sports cars and pickup trucks have a fairly strong hold on the top 10 most-visible vehicles.
Share of Voice by Segment
We’ve chosen seven segments of automobile type to break down Share of Voice: Compact Cars, Mid-Sized Cars, Sports Cars, Pickup Trucks, SUV/Crossovers, Alternative-Fuel Vehicles and Luxury Cars. Here you can see how much a particular model dominates its segment, which segments have the most competition, and which manufacturers have taken over a particular segment:
Honda dominates the compact car share of voice with both of the most-visible vehicles. Ford places two vehicles in the top 8 – the Focus and Fiesta. Please note that for the purposes of this index, compact cars and subcompact cars are combined.
Surprisingly, the “All Others” segment for compact cars is comparatively low – this is a somewhat top-heavy segment, with established vehicles holding sway.
As they did with the compact cars segment, Honda takes over a quarter of the mid-sized segment’s online visibility with the venerable Accord. The rest of the top 10 is filled out with only Chevrolet placing multiple models – the Impala and Malibu.
The Corvette is the most talked-about sports car, which shouldn’t be surprising, considering that it’s also the most talked-about vehicle overall. With two of the top 3 overall vehicles – the Corvette and the Mustang – sports cars are an incredibly topheavy and incredibly American-manufacturer-dominated segment.
It is interesting to note that sports cars are often the public face of a brand, working as a marketing tool to help generate brand recognition and to help sell other, more utilitarian models from a brand’s line.
Ford, Dodge and General Motors – the Holy Trinity, if you will, of American truck manufacturers, and holders of a stranglehold on digital discussion of pickup trucks. The “All Others” segment is comparatively tiny in the pickup trucks segment, mostly because there simply aren’t that many pickups outside of the dominant few sold in the United States.
Unsurprisingly, there is a ton of competition in the SUVs/Crossovers segment. The trendy, high-value segment has been a staple of American driving for decades, and it appears to be the most competitive as well. Jeep places two vehicles – the Wrangler and the Cherokee – at the top of the most-discussed SUVs/crossovers, with a preponderance of smaller SUVs rather than the behemoths of the ‘90’s drawing the bulk of the online conversation.
Alternative Fuel Vehicles
Please note that we limited the definition of “Alternative-Fuel Vehicle” to exclusively hybrid or electric vehicles for the purposes of this index, meaning that hybrid or plug-in variants of normally gas-powered vehicles were not included in this category. Nissan manages to take not only the top spot, but the top spot by a wide margin, with the Leaf plug-in electric vehicle.
Germany holds serve in the online discussion of luxury vehicles, with the first non-German model coming in at the 8th spot – the Jaguar XJ. Luxury is another extremely competitive segment, with 43% of the online discussion coming from non-top-10 models.
The Top 100 Automotive Models for Q2 2016
|54||BMW 5 Series||0.42%|
|69||Land Rover Range Rover||0.32%|
|71||Ford Super Duty||0.31%|
|76||Tesla Model 3||0.29%|
|78||Hyundai Santa Fe||0.28%|