Blog, Case Studies

How Mazda & StoryStream’s Global Partnership Is Delivering ROI at Scale 

Woman stands by Mazda car

Since the launch of the first “Mazda-go” tricycle truck in 1931, Mazda has been famous for “Celebrating Driving”. And alongside being global leaders in design and engineering, Mazda is also responsible for some of the most memorable automotive marketing campaigns in history (“Zoom Zoom”, anyone?).

With their customer-led digital strategy – one that gives fans, followers and Mazda owners a way to celebrate the brand themselves – the decades-old spirit of Mazda remains as strong as ever. And as the results of their globally-adopted User-generated Content strategy begin to take shape, Mazda can confidently say that they’ve added “Celebrating Drivers” to their brand ethos too.

Having begun working with StoryStream in 2021, Mazda has busily scaled its strategy across several of its local market websites. And now, with the benefit of over half a year of testing and learning, it’s fair to say that Mazda provides a best-in-class example to all brands – regardless of the industry they operate within – of how a dedicated UGC strategy can not just scale globally but can also deliver incredible results across a range of metrics.

With more than 90 storyboards now live across a number of Mazda local sites (including the USA, Australia, Canada*, Columbia, the U.K., and Mexico) Mazda’s UGC strategy has well and truly kicked into gear. Alongside live galleries featured across all areas of Mazda’s sites (homepages, model pages, community and owner pages – featuring a curated blend of brand content, influencer-created content and UGC) the Mazda team are also making use of StoryStream’s Earned Media Module to showcase expert testimonial and reviews on model pages (e.g. the Mazda CX-60 page in Australia).

Mazda Australia Earned Media Module

It doesn’t stop at Mazda’s web properties, though: Mazda’s marketing teams globally are leveraging their banks of User-generated Content to bolster their organic social media strategy too. In some cases (e.g. this example from Mazda Colombia) they’re even using UGC to create social proof carousels spotlighting particular models or features.

Over in North America, Mazda’s US team is using StoryStream to amplify influencer-led lifestyle campaigns: curating galleries that bring together inspirational content produced for their “Ski Resort Tour” campaign. Meanwhile, the team in Canada is using UGC to support social media campaigns (e.g. for Pride Month, National Selfie Day, and a special #MX5Cheer celebration) as well as using StoryStream’s link in bio solution, LinkStream, to funnel traffic generated from their Instagram into individual parts of their website (check out Mazda Canada’s LinkStream here).

What’s clear from across the globe: Mazda’s teams are leveraging StoryStream to get more from every piece of content they collect, curate, or create. Whether owned, earned, or influencer-created, the teams are finding new ways to amplify the power (and multichannel effectiveness) of their content.

The Results

Since starting to surface User-generated Content on their local site pages, Mazda has seen:

  • 178% improvement in average session length on users who have clicked into StoryStream content versus those who have not (2 min 50 seconds vs. 7 min 52 seconds)
  • 41% reduction in exit rate when users have clicked on StoryStream content
  • 86% uplift in Goal Conversion percentage for users who have clicked on StoryStream content
  • 33% performance uplift in average SmartGoal click – i.e. “book a test drive” or “configure a vehicle” – versus StoryStream’s Auto industry benchmarking

Luke Roberts, Marketing Lead for Digital Platforms at Mazda Global says: “While the results are real validation of the approach we’ve taken around customer-led digital strategy, what I’m most encouraged by is the idea that StoryStream is helping our marketing colleagues around the world hit their targets. The Global-to-Local dynamic can often be a difficult one within large marketing organisations, but with StoryStream we’ve found a partner who understands the importance of creating a tailored approach to delivering success – and that means respecting, and reacting to the nuance and needs of each of Mazda’s markets.”

Scaling, Sustainably 

Finding, curating, acquiring rights for, and then distributing User-generated Content across multiple markets may at first glance seem like a daunting task. It’s for that reason that Mazda chose to partner with StoryStream; a platform and team passionate about meeting Mazda’s immediate ambition to be demonstrably customer-led.

And, to achieve the sort of gold-standard results that Mazda has across its markets, each part of that process has to be well-optimised. Creating experiences that compel visitors to take action might be the ultimate objective … but to get there, first you need to be ingesting of an awful lot of content so that you can separate the rest from the best.

To see the practical implications, a short illustration is in order:

Over a one-month period (December 2021 – January 2022), StoryStream collected over one million assets on behalf of Mazda globally. Of those assets, 6718 were deemed by StoryStream’s Aura AI to be either sufficiently high quality or particularly memorable. From that 6718 number, 463 assets were marked as worthy of appearing in Mazda’s marketing – triggering rights requests messages that were sent to those users asking for permission for Mazda to use their content. 362 users (78% of requests) gave Mazda permission to reshare their content across Mazda’s marketing channels.

A huge feat, and yet behind the scenes an even richer story emerges. That’s because by leveraging StoryStream’s Aura AI and automated workflows, the Mazda team were able to save a full 755 days of manual work categorising, sorting, and approving content – at a total value of £187,500 in equivalent resource hours.

Funnel showing resource hours saved by StoryStream

“Improving process through automation is a sentiment well understood in the car manufacturing world – so to see it happening, in real-time, for our brand from a content marketing perspective is totally transformational,” said Luke Roberts. “UGC helps us to humanise our marketing, and celebrate the people who celebrate Mazda. What’s more, it looks more natural and can help consumers visualize themselves within the lifestyle of the Mazda brand. That we can do that at scale and achieve the results we’re achieving is exactly why we chose StoryStream.”

And what’s more, those 362 assets carry an additional value expression: with the modest assumption that each asset would cost £250 to produce independently, Mazda has saved £90,500 in content production costs in one month alone.

The Road to Success 

In what are truly exciting times for the brand, Mazda’s customer-led digital strategy represents a fantastic validation of something the company has known for almost 100 years: while driving itself might be a solo endeavour, the passion for getting out on the road is something that creates community.

“Our work with the Mazda team globally is something that the whole team at StoryStream – and I include Aura in that definition of the team, too – is incredibly proud of. We can’t wait to see how the relationship with Mazda develops over the next months and years,” says Simon Power of StoryStream.

*Read the full Mazda Canada case study here.