Although social media influencer marketing is arguably the most straightforward and most effective digital marketing strategy, it is seldom understood.

Most brands either fail at identifying the right influencers or just ignore this marketing technique altogether.

According to a reliable study conducted in 2016, over 90% of brands that used this marketing strategy saw growth in sales and brand awareness.

Seems like good news for marketers – right? Not so fast.

Without an in-depth understanding of how this technique works in attracting and retaining brand loyalty and influence, your marketing campaign is doomed to fail.

To help marketers get started in the right direction, here is a detailed look at an incredibly successful social media influencer marketing campaign.

Instagram influencer Marketing Case Study

How Subaru Leveraged Influencer Marketing to Dominate

For the past 5 years, Subaru has remained in the list of the fastest growing and most profitable companies in the United States.

You are probably asking, how did Subaru achieve growth and profitability in an aggressively competitive industry and a struggling economy?

The secret to Subaru’s success is creative influencer marketing using social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram.

Although this auto company is foreign, it continues to make waves in the United States.

For instance in 2016 sales were up by an incredible 10%; this is a big deal in the auto industry where the competition is cutthroat.

Subaru is an example of a company that has embraced influencer marketing and is reaping the benefits.

This case study explores Subaru’s social media influencer marketing campaign dubbed “Meet an Owner”.

Let dive in!

The Approach

To ensure the success of its “Meet an Owner” marketing campaign, this innovative auto company worked with a total of twenty Instagram influencers, ranging from professional athletes to talented artists and even adventure photographers.

The primary objective of this marketing campaign was to promote Subaru to an otherwise inaccessible audience and also foster positive brand sentiment.

The Results

  • “Meet an Owner” campaign managed to have an engagement rate of 9%. It also generated 9 thousand comments and 1.9 million likes using 58 sponsored posts.
  • On YouTube, this creative marketing initiative had close to 2.5 million views and an incredible 73 thousand likes. The engagement rate was about 5%.
  • According to Subaru marketers the HASHTAG #MeetAnOwner led to increased brand awareness. This initiative also made it quite easy for additional Instagram users to showcase their Subaru cars to the world.


Who were the key influencers in this marketing campaign?

The success of an influencer marketing campaign relies heavily on the influencers a brand chooses to collaborate with.

By looking at who Subaru chose to work with, a marketer will understand how to choose an influencer that is perfect for your brand.

Here is a look at 2 key influencers used by Subaru

1. Zack King

With a following of 18.9 million and an engagement rate of 9% on Instagram, this professional photographer fit what Subaru was looking for.

This influencer performs incredibly intriguing and memorable digital magic tricks. His brilliant tricks enjoy a massive appeal.

Through him, Subaru was able to reach a large and diverse audience.

For this campaign, King created two eye-catching and clever magic tricks that were centered around different Subaru cars.

Subaru entrusted this influencer with creative freedom, and this came in handy in ensuring his audience was entertained and satisfied while simultaneously promoting the Subaru brand.

His effort bore fruit because he received 1.6 million likes, seven thousand comments on the 2 sponsored Instagram videos.

Why Subaru chose Zack King?

Subaru competes with several other automobile brands. Therefore, it is continually trying to reach out to new audiences.

Zack is the perfect person to reach a more demure and artistic-oriented client who is not necessarily the quintessential Subaru client. His marketing efforts achieved precisely what it was set to do.

Subaru gained an audience with an audience interested more in artistic endeavors.

2. Devin Graham

This influencer has 592 thousand followers on Instagram and a YouTube following of 4.6 million.

He also has a high engagement rate of 4.5 on YouTube and 4.2 % on Instagram. Popularly known in social media circles as Devin Super Tramp, this young man is adventurous and fearless You tuber who entertains his massive following with extreme stunt videos.

For the purposes of Subaru’s marketing campaign, Graham created 3 YouTube videos. Subaru also sponsored 13 Instagram posts on Graham’s Instagram.

The first one was primarily him talking about his journey as a stuntman while the two other involved showcasing impressive professional stunts.

The aim of using this influencer was to build strong ties between the Subaru brand and outdoor enthusiasts. The collaboration between Devin Graham and Subaru was incredibly successful.

The 13 Instagram posts generated over 160 thousand likes and over 850 comments. On the other hand, the 3 YouTube videos got 1.2 million views and more than 45 thousand likes.

Why did Subaru choose Devin Graham?

Apart from his high engagement rates, Subaru realized that Graham has a real impact on what his audience chooses to purchase.

After going through the previous campaign he had participated in, they realized that he has incredibly boosted the sales of all the brands he had previously collaborated with.

Additionally this influencer reaches the quintessential Subaru customer who loves a thrill and adventure.

His kind of content appeals to the same audience that would be attracted to buying a Subaru car.

It also doesn’t hurt that he can reach a young demographic.

Keep in mind that Subaru is a brand that has been around for many decades and needs a cool brand ambassador on social media to attract “millennials”.

Key Takeaways

The success of this marketing campaign is evidence that with the right influencer, a clear objective, and collaborative effort a brand can reach an enormous and diverse audience.

Through this initiative, Subaru was able to position its vehicles as suitable for any lifestyle.

With the help of passionate influencers, “Meet an Owner” marketing campaign surpassed expectations.

Subaru has definitely proved that Instagram is a great platform to boost brand awareness.