How Tesla Makes Its Presence Felt While Barely Spending Money on Ads

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Tesla is a completely unique auto brand.

Instead of spending money on advertising like every other carmaker, Tesla spends money on making its products better.

In the increasingly transparent digital era we live in, this appears to be a winning formula.

Back in 2016, Global Equities research estimated that Tesla spent just $6 per car on advertising. This was unheard of at the time. The second lowest brand in the survey was Toyota at $246 per car, and the highest was Jaguar at more than $3,000 per car.

Tesla spends a fraction of the advertising dollars of its competition, yet has signifcantly higher demand for its vehicles. Name one other automaker that has generated a 500,000-unit backlog for a car nobody could test drive.

In October 2017, I tallied up Tesla’s social media following on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram relative to 11 other mainstream auto brands.

The results were impressive. Despite being by far the newest brand, having the fewest cars on the road, and spending the least on marketing, Tesla had over seven million fans. This ranked the company ninth out of the 12 brands.

Although Tesla’s aggregate following was in the lower tier, its engagement — comments and likes per post — was among the highest of any of the brands in the study. This led me to conclude that Tesla’s social following was generated organically — versus through paid advertising campaigns — and growing rapidly.

Tesla’s aggregate fans rose by 2.4 million in the past five months, the second fastest out of all the brands, after  Mercedes-Benz that added 2.8 million.

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Now about 5 months later, I recalculated the followings, and the results were staggering.

These results speak for themselves. Social media data is telling us that Tesla is gaining relevance and growing brand equity faster than any of its competition.

On a percentage basis, the growth of Tesla’s social media following absolutely dwarfed every other brand

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What’s even more interesting is that if we include Elon Musk’s personal accounts in this study, the company’s CEO actually makes Tesla’s social media growth look paltry. In the same period Elon Musk grew his social following on just Twitter and Instagram by 9.8 million to 26.2 million total, an increase of 60 percent.

The combination of Tesla’s 9.5 million fans and Musk’s 26.2 million, would put Tesla on par with the two most followed brands in the auto world, BMW at 37 million and Mercedes-Benz at 36.7 million.

Tesla’s social media marketing machine is a huge asset.

The trend of Tesla’s social presence organically growing faster than any of its competition is poised to accelerate in the coming years. The upcoming launch of the Roadster 2 could be a another catalyst increasing brand equity.

Having the ability to speak directly to consumers via social media allows Tesla to allocate dramatically fewer resources to marketing than its competition. This is a key differentiator in Tesla’s business model that will directly lead to higher operating margins in the long term.

Article originally published on by guest blogger Galileo Russell. He is a 25-year-old Tesla shareholder based in New York. He has been blogging about Tesla since 2012, and is the founder of HyperChange TV, a new YouTube channel about tech and finance news for millennials. EVANNEX offers aftermarket accessories, parts, and gear for Tesla owners. The Florida-based company also maintains a daily blog on the latest Tesla news.

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