Nissan tops L2’s Digital IQ Index: Auto as one of two Genius brands in the study. L2 research identifies several reasons behind its success: frequent and effective marketing emails, a desktop experience that drives visitors to take action (request quotes, estimate trade-in value, and apply for financing online), and owning the Super Bowl XLIX ad most viewed on YouTube.

Auto brands do not send emails often; the average brand sends 0.6 emails per week or two emails per month. So it’s no surprise that Nissan is far ahead of the pack. Nissan sends four emails per week, 6.5x the average. Other brands seem to be realizing the effectiveness of this marketing tool; email frequency has been up 50% since 2014.
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As far as site experiences, the auto category has no shortage of high-tech features. For example, 93% of desktop sites have a car configurator and 76% show 360-degree car exhibits. However, Nissan’s site stands out in its ability to guide consumers to a purchase point alongside these features. For example, it has a payment estimator to help users decide which car to purchase. It also allows them to apply for financing online and request quotes. On mobile, Nissan directs on-the-go users to a nearby dealership with a transparent mobile inventory search engine, which allows consumers to view cars available at nearby dealerships.

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On YouTube, Nissan realized the pay-to-play approach needed to win and leveraged the Super Bowl. (Brands with the highest video views – Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and Nissan – generate roughly 80% of their views on the platform through paid strategies. And all of the top five most-viewed Auto videos were Super Bowl ads). Additionally, Nissan extended ROI on the paid ad with a social campaign with the hashtag #WithDad.

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