The COVID-19 pandemic has forced industries of all kinds to adjust and evolve in many different ways.
With strict limits on events, travel and in-person interactions, a strong profile in the digital world has become more essential than ever. This is certainly true in the Canadian auto sector where the last 12 months has seen a real shift in how Canadians are thinking about their transportation needs and how top auto brands are responding in kind.
Many of these conversations start on Twitter and provide a pulse on what’s now and what’s next in the industry.
Let’s take a look at how Canadians are talking about transportation on Twitter in recent months, top trends for 2021 and examples of how Canada’s auto sector is joining these conversations like never before.
New Canadian Auto Insights and Trends on Twitter
Life was put on hold for many of us in 2020. While this may have affected the number of vehicles Canadians were buying this past year, the pandemic didn’t affect the fact that Twitter was home to a wide range of Canadian conversations about top auto brands.
Overall, Canadian conversations about autos are on the rise. Daily Canadian Tweet volumes about vehicles grew by 14% in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared to Q3 levels.
For January 2021, daily Tweet volumes rose even further. Canadians sent 20% more Tweets about autos in the first month of 2021 vs. daily Q4 levels in 2020. This is a sign that more and more Canadians are coming to Twitter to talk about all things auto.
Many of these conversations are rooted in pre-purchase research, even if buying a new car or SUV is unlikely in the short-term. Research from GlobalWebIndex (GWI) shows that 76% of Canadians on Twitter have delayed purchases because of COVID-19. However, the same study also shows that vehicles are one of the top items that they intend to buy when ready. Vehicles rank just below travel but ahead of other categories such as electronics and home furnishings in these areas.
Canadian auto brands have also become increasingly conscious of how they are seen and perceived from a cultural point of view. According to our research, brands are 41% more likely to be seen as culturally relevant when they’re active on Twitter versus brands not on the service.
Cultural relevance can include sharing a point of view on large societal issues such as the environment. Conversations around the environment are evergreen on Twitter, reflecting the concerns of Canadians about the future of our planet and how we all can live in a more sustainable manner. These concerns can have a significant relevance for brands as well. Research from GlobalWebIndex (GWI) shows that 60% of Canadians on Twitter would pay more for sustainable eco-friendly products.
Volkswagen Canada (@VWcanada) is an example of a brand that has been extra present in these Twitter conversations in 2021 via their #BeTheChange campaign. The hashtag itself focuses on highlighting Volkswagen's investments in Canadian electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, its global investments in e-mobility and more.
Most recently, @VWcanada shared its #BeTheChange message and content with millions of Canadians on Super Bowl weekend, one of the biggest events annually on Twitter. Tweets and Twitter video content were shared by @VWCanada that weekend via innovative ad products such as First View. This helped VW reach a leaned-in Canadaian audience with a strong disposition to eco-friendly products like EVs.
Overall, people on Twitter are 28% more passionate about what's happening in culture compared to people not on Twitter. Thus, expect to see more of this trend from Canadian auto brands in 2021: pairing informative, culturally-relevant content with engaged audiences on the service.
Top Canadian Auto Events, Activities and Launches on Twitter
For Canadian auto enthusiasts, buyers and industry professionals alike, a new year always comes with a fresh batch of industry events. Each February, Toronto’s Canadian International AutoShow and Montreal International Auto Show set the pace with a first Canadian look at new models and showcases of the latest trends and technology.
With these and other events postponed until at least 2022, many manufacturers have pivoted to virtual events instead. Twitter has been home to many of these events with launches and reveals proving especially popular.
When asked, 85% of Canadians on Twitter said they want brands to inform and share launches of new products while 60% of these audiences feel more connected to other people when they watch a live stream event.
Accordingly, these and other auto brands used Twitter to live stream events for Canadian audiences in recent months
Top brands like Audi Canada (@AudiCanada) and Cadillac Canada (@CadillacCanada) are also using Twitter features such as Like to Remind to ensure that Canadians are seeing the latest announcements and launches in real-time as they happen.
These tools can help brands truly own the Twitter conversation on a day of launch. Case in point: When Audi debuted its e-tron GT on February 9th of this year, 70% of the Canadian auto conversation was focused on Audi.
Twitter’s audience is fueling the road to recovery for Canadian auto brands in 2021. As such, look for virtual events and Twitter features to continue playing a big part in reshaping Canadian auto conversations online.