How Hyundai uses YouTube to sell more electric cars

Buying a car has changed. Where people used to just visit the local dealer and read through bulky brochures, things have changed. 92% of car buyers first obtain (detailed) information online (source: Kantar, 2018) before taking a test drive. And YouTube is increasingly claiming a leading role in this online orientation phase. Car buyers look at masses of vehicle reviews on YouTube to make the best choice. Especially if it’s the first electric model in their lives. However, in 2021, car manufacturers and dealers have not yet adapted well to this changing buying process. Most car brands only use YouTube to distribute and push their TV ads. Until now. Hyundai is proving that things can be different and better. They show that an integrated YouTube strategy that combines SEO, data analytics, longform content production, and smart organic and paid distribution pays off. This approach leads to more sales of the new “flagship” electric car: the IONIQ 5.


Hyundai wanted to introduce their new electric model, the IONIQ 5, in an innovative way. They wanted to respond to the changing buying process, better connect their content to the needs of the target audience, and use all the possibilities of YouTube in a smarter way. Most car brands limit their use of YouTube to advertising their TVCs. Hyundai decided to do it differently and opted for an integrated approach of research, production and distribution.

Hyundai’s goal was to reach, engage and convert the oriented car buyer on YouTube. This approach had to produce results:

  • Increased brand recall
  • Increased brand preference
  • Increased consideration of the IONIQ 5

We translated these goals into clear operational objectives and KPIs:

  • Visibility: top 5 rankings for the videos in YouTube and Google search for relevant keywords
  • Reach: 100,000 views
  • Awareness: 3,000 hours of watch time

The duration of this project was from mid-March to August.


The target audience for this campaign is consumers who are interested in buying an electric car online. Our strategy aimed to positively influence their buying behavior and consisted of five different phases:

  1. Research: what are the characteristics of the target group? What is the target group looking for? What formats are popular? How long should these videos ideally be? How are the videos ideally structured, and what other conditions must successful author reviews fulfill? We answered these questions in this research phase.
  2. Production: The findings from the research phase were translated into six different videos produced by our in-house creative studio. Keyword research from the research phase provided input for SEO-optimized scripts.
  3. Organic distribution: The views generated in the first week after publication and the viewing time are a strong signal for YouTube to recommend videos more frequently. Therefore, we made sure that the videos were distributed not only internally on YouTube after the release, but also through Hyundai Netherlands’ social media channels, newsletter, and other proprietary channels. We also developed an SEO-optimized landing page for each video on and set up a link/embed building campaign for both the videos and the landing pages.
  4. Paid distribution: we launched smart advertising campaigns at the same time as organic distribution. Instead of broad demographic targeting, we opted for a targeting strategy based on intent signals. We used demographic targeting as a starting point and enriched the targeting with the right intent signals to reach the ideal audience. We combined signals from YouTube, Google Search, Google Chrome and Google Play. These include search behavior within Google on specific topics, relevant pages visited, and apps downloaded by the target audience.
  5. Measurement: Finally, we examined the impact of the campaign by measuring the brand effect among viewers of the videos (test group) and members of the target group who did not watch the videos (control group).


At Team5pm, we work in a data-driven way. That means we use insights from data analytics and new data sources to make better decisions.

Organic viewing behavior and search volume on YouTube were the first data sources we used. In addition, this research helped us identify competing channels and videos, as well as the most searched topics related to electric cars on YouTube. This allowed us to determine exactly what type of content our audience really wanted to see. We then selected the best topics and determined the questions Hyundai’s videos should answer. We turned the findings from this research into six videos ranging in length from 6 to 13 minutes.

During the research phase, we also observed a global trend: Point-of-View (POV) car content. One that has not yet been used, or hardly used, by Dutch creators. Therefore, two of the six videos consist of POV test drives, where we give the viewer the feeling of driving the car themselves. These long-form POV test drives were the viewers’ favorites, with an average viewing rate of 75.18%. The topics of the six videos were:

  1. Specifications at a glance
  2. The official full review 2021
  3. Unveiling 2021 & all about the exterior
  4. All about the interior
  5. POV: Test drive
  6. POV: Electric driving and charging

In the distribution phase, we also used a test & learn approach to determine the most effective ad format and the right target audience, among other things. Using AB testing, we measured the performance of different audiences and two different ad formats (Video Discovery Ads vs. TrueView In-Stream Ads). The TrueView in-stream ads came out on top. After testing on a small scale, we expanded the campaigns based on the insights gained.

Hyundai’s goals go beyond reach, views and clicks. That’s why we ended up conducting a study to clarify the impact on knowledge, attitude, and behavior. We also conducted a thorough evaluation of viewing behavior per video. This allowed us to determine what we can do better for the next model launch.


Hyundai’s goal was to reach, engage and persuade electric car buyers on YouTube. And they succeeded. Within 3 months, Hyundai was able to not only reach interested car buyers, but also keep them engaged throughout the video.

Results: (June 1, 2021 – August 31, 2021)

  • Viewability: 83% of all videos ranked in the top 3 on YouTube and Google
  • Reach: 198,418 total views (+98% over target)
  • Awareness: total watch time of 17,222 hours

We achieved even more:

  • CPV (Cost Per View) of €0.02 (30% lower than benchmark)
  • Average viewing rate of 70% (benchmark = 40%)
  • Average view duration of 05:19

Thus, the targeted goals were far exceeded. But YouTube’s impact goes far beyond reach, views and clicks. To examine the impact on target audience knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, we conducted a brand impact measurement (n=505). To prevent the butcher from judging his own meat, we conducted this study in collaboration with Erik Kostelijk, associate professor of marketing at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam and co-author of the book Brand Positioning.

This quantitative study compared the test group (viewers of the videos) with a control group (members of the target group who had not seen the videos). But did this actually have a positive impact on car purchases? This research shows that YouTube has a significant positive impact on Hyundai:

  • Brand awareness: +231%
  • Brand preference: +650%
  • Inclusion of the IONIQ 5 in the list of vehicles under consideration: +256%.

This proves that YouTube can have a real impact on key brand metrics and even play a key role in purchase decisions. Even non-Hyundai drivers who watch Hyundai YouTube videos score significantly higher on brand recall, brand preference and consideration engagement. YouTube is more than just a popular video platform or a place to view handy how-to guides. Hyundai shows how it can also be used to sell more electric cars.

Project owners

  • Less Goes

    Lead Advertising

  • Stef Van Der Burg


  • Sjoerd Van Renselaar

    Video Marketing Consultant

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