BMW is the most beloved automotive brand on YouTube, with 4.8 billion all-time views worldwide. But the vast majority of these viewers didn't watch videos created by BMW for its own YouTube brand channels. Rather, BMW has garnered billions of views primarily from videos posted by influencers and fans.

At Octoly, we've just published what we feel is a comprehensive study of automotive brands on YouTube. We took a deep look into the automotive industry and ranked 50 international car brands based off both earned and owned videos and views across YouTube channels worldwide. This results indicated how crucial YouTube creators are in the perception of automotive brands in the online video world.

Automotive Manufacturers/Brands & YouTube = Power of Fans

YouTube is a social network - built around video. But, where is the conversation happening?  Overall we identified 1,049 YouTube channels that are managed directly by automotive brands (most brands have multiple channels that aim to offer localized versions for different countries).  So, while these brands can clearly get conversations started on their own channels, it's important to note that actually >90% of the views for the automotive industry are generated by earned media, AKA fan-created video content. In other words, less than 10% of all views about automotive brands were on the automakers' own YouTube channels. This means that there's a huge unseen brand footprint on YouTube that car manufacturers themselves may not even know about.

BMW + YouTube = 4.8 Billion Global Views with >96% Earned

BMW had 4.8 billion worldwide views all-time on YouTube across both brand and fan channels. BMW's 36 branded channels worldwide accounted for 174 million views, or 3.6% of the brand's overall YouTube footprint, while fan-created videos accounted for 96.4%, or roughly 4.6 billion views. Ford had the second most views overall with 3.6 billion, 95.6% from fans. Chevrolet was third with 3.3 billion views all-time, with 97.5% of views coming from channels not owned by the brand.

ALSO ►  YouTube: Mobile Watch Time, Programmatic Ad Revenue on Increase


Apart from the top 50 automotive brands, we also created an additional ranking for nine ultra-luxury and exotic sports cars, with Lamborghini outpacing competition with 1.8 billion worldwide all-time views across brand and fan channels. Bugatti and Aston Martin had 550 million and 220 million views, respectively.

RESULTS: YouTube, Automotive, & The Power of Earned Media

Overall, our research showed that across-the-board, views of automotive videos created by fans outweighed those created by brands by 90.1% to 9.9%. We also created the following infographic to give you an overview of the study.

Octoly YouTube Automotive Study - Infographic

YouTube is much more like social media than it is like television. Brands have long tracked what the community is saying about them on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. It's now clear that, for automotive brands in particular, YouTube may be just as important to monitor and may also present HUGE, new opportunities to engage with creators and influencers, and target their ad spend more effectively.  Feel free to request a copy of the full research study and findings on our site.

What do you think?  Let us know in the comments below and thanks for reading!