Indian automobile journalism on YouTube was matured and thriving by 2017. The popularity of channels such as PowerDrift and Autocar meant that audiences were quickly deserting the traditional written reviews in magazines for seeing their dream cars in action on screen. It was with this backdrop that Carwale approached us to help reboot their YouTube channel. This case study is the journey of how the LMB process boosted audience engagement for Carwale, taking their average views of 1000 per non-promoted video to 40,000 in a few months. LMB also created the channel’s most-watched video to date with 2.7 million views, establishing them as a force to reckon with in the Indian auto journalism sphere.
While Carwale was always considered a major player in this space, their brand was built in the arena of the now vanishing print format. Their previous foray into the video space had ended with big money being spent but with no tangible brand visibility nor a dedicated audience to justify it. After a few discussions, our goal was clear, we had to enable Carwale to compete with their rivals in the video space. We agreed upon a 6-month contract to achieve the following goals
- Bring in an original and distinguishing style to their YouTube content
- Achieve consistency in video quality to help attract and cultivate a dedicated audience
As with all our projects, we first took the time to understand Carwale and pinpoint what they could bring to the viewer that would set them apart from their competition without alienating them from the audience. We set about researching successful automobile content available on YouTube, both in India and across the globe.
Our research showed that while India had a couple of successful channels employing modern experimental visual styles for car and bike reviews, audiences seemed to gravitate towards a 90’s format, that focused on putting out clear and concise information.
Simultaneously, we had discussions with Carwale for clarity on the type of audience they want to build. They explained that while they would like auto enthusiasts to subscribe to the channel, they also wanted to cater to a wider base. A demographic that is actually serious about buying a car and has the disposable income to match their desires.
We now knew that providing viewers with clear, concise and actionable information was a non-negotiable in videos. But we also decided to create the best of both worlds.
We zeroed in on a style that would showcase each of the individual features of the automobile. As for exteriors and beauty shots, we took inspiration from the less experimental but more visually appealing parts of the ultra-stylistic videos around.
To enhance the visual journey, we shortlisted shooting locations that would complement the beauty of a vehicle’s design as well as its driving capabilities in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
Together, the overall goal of this visual treatment was to allow the viewer to feel like they were in the car with the host during the reviews. The idea being that we take the viewers along for the ride while giving them all the information they need to make a more informed choice.
Once we crafted a visual language for the brand, we started the actual production. Our first hurdle was that our hosts, though expert auto journalists, hadn’t presented their expertise in front of a camera before. But this was an easy fix thanks to LMB’s vast experience in interviewing camera-shy subjects, we were able to quickly ease them into the format and not worry about the cameras.
This was critical to allow our hosts to comfortably do what they do best— talk about cars.
As we made more videos, the style got further refined – allowing us to pitch other video ideas to Carwale that would further cement the brand as a force in video auto journalism. Some of our most popular ideas included the following:
- Integrating their studio facilities into the videos, allowing for finer control to show off a vehicle’s features
- Creating formats with multiple hosts to leverage their rising popularity
- Comparison videos across segments like SUVs, hatchbacks etc. to help the viewer compare different models to make the right choice when buying a car
All of the work we put in would not count for anything if we didn’t have the numbers to back it up. From having 1000 views on their non promoted content, the new reviews clocked around 40,000 views on average. There was a substantial increase in audience engagement as the videos became consistent in quality and number. From 17 comments on the first video, we topped out at 1288 comments 6 months later. The likes went from 296 to 12k in our most viewed video as well.
Even today, the highest view count for a non-promoted video on the Carwale channel was made by LMB with a whopping 2.7 million views.
All this led to an organic subscriber increase for the Carwale channel. It also had the additional benefit of raising the social media profile of the hosts, leading to more interactions on other platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
With the videos being praised by the audiences and the quality placing Carwale as a strong competitor, we knew that we had achieved our goals.
After setting a concrete foundation and putting a process in place, we marked the end of our six-month contract with Carwale. We’re happy to say that they’ve used it to slowly but steadily grow in their reach.
Added bonus-We have access to a Rolodex of experts whenever we need Auto advice!