Man and woman having fun in convertible with roof down
By Erin Peralta Mar 20 2015

SHIFTING GEARS: NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN AN OLD INDUSTRY

Do you remember the #YouDrive Mercedes advertisements that sparked social media hysteria back in 2013? If not, here’s a quick recap. The campaign featured a sequence of three ads to promote a new A-Class vehicle to younger consumers. Focusing on a musician and a professional driver and their run-in with the law, viewers were asked to choose what the characters should do next by using the hashtag #YOUDRIVE on Twitter. The end result? The Mercedes team reported a whopping 3.8 million views of their YouTube channel in the three weeks following the campaign. Just think of the brand exposure!

It’s this type of digital advertising that automotive brands should be doing more of. Yes, traditional TV advertising is still successful, but imagine the potential of tapping an even broader audience through digital. According to eMarketer, automotive digital spend is up +19.6% YOY and is expected to reach $7.3 billion in 2015. Smart marketers are developing strategic digital plans in order to take full advantage of this golden opportunity. And what an opportunity it is! Consumers are tapping into digital technology more than ever before to research and purchase new vehicles. In fact, Polk.com revealed that 75% of car buyers said that the internet was the most beneficial platform when researching dealers. To top it off, consumers are using eight or more digital sources before actually getting to the dealership.

In addition to the shifting behaviors of the auto consumer to digital, the target consumer himself is also evolving. Take Millennials for instance. This generation has developed tremendously over the past few years and can now be considered a growing target audience for auto marketers. Although this group currently only makes up about 12 percent of the U.S. new car sales, Millennials will account for 40 percent of new car purchases by 2020 according to AutoTrader. And considering how digitally savvy this audience is, the best approach to fully captivating this this soon-to-be-spending group is digital advertising.

Based on those stats alone, now is the time to put the shift to digital marketing into overdrive and take advantage of it at every stage of the consumer funnel. Need some guidance? Here are a few tips for automotive marketers looking to jumpstart their digital advertising engines:

Digital plays a stronger role   

  • Consumers are using digital at many points along the path to purchase. Ensure your brand is readily available to consumers as they move from pre-market to in-market, and then post market.

Mobile is a must

  • Mobile remains a constant touch point as consumers seek inspiration, shop around, and ultimately show-off the car they purchase. Use location based targeting to activate conquest, branding and promotion opportunities.

Invest in high performance

  • Review viewability performance as part of building a strategic media plan. Opportunities can be found with units that have low investment, but high performance such as: 728 x 90, 160 x 600 and 300 x 600

Build consumer intimacy

  • With consumers showing less brand loyalty, crafting personalized and relevant digital moments is vital to staying top of mind. Data driven insights will dictate the how, where, and what.

To learn even more about the automotive consumer, check out this quarterly review presentation and handy e-Book from our strategic insights team.

Read the e-Book here

Check out the presentation