Automotive advertising in 2023 may still have many of the same fundamental goals and objectives compared to years past. But with a bevy of new digital advertising tools, resources and platforms, dealers are now addressing a whole new set of challenges.
Unlike in the days immediately following the pandemic, extremely tight inventory and supply have loosened up in 2023. Dealers have high interest rates and waning consumer demand on their list of things keeping them up at night.
Conventional Advertising Is Shrinking
In years past, most dealers relied upon traditional print, broadcast and even the internet to promote deals and entice car shoppers onto their lots. However, today’s leading dealers are leveraging more resources than ever before. Plus, new legislation and restrictions on the use of third-party data are forcing dealers to completely rewrite their advertising strategies when utilizing digital and social media as a means to get in front of consumers.
Dealers and their advertising partners will become increasingly reliant on first-party data, which means they need to proactively collect more of their customers’ data to create promotions, offers and ads that are more personalized than ever.
But this need for personalization doesn’t end there. Dealers also need to advertise their vehicles by leveraging search engines, social media, online video platforms and streaming audio spaces – platforms that weren’t considered five or 10 years ago.
Take television as an example. Years ago, most dealers placed their ads on traditional and even broadcast channels. However, viewing habits have changed drastically and there are 113 million households accessing streaming services as of September 2022.
Streaming Television Helps Dealers With Pinpoint Targeting
The importance of streaming is growing because more people can be reached through these platforms and because dealers’ ad budgets can be stretched. Many of these digital advertising technologies work to ensure that a dealer’s ad reaches hundreds of streaming television channels with ads that are only shown to in-market shoppers. Traditional television media buys did not have the power to pinpoint placements this way and ads would essentially be shown to all viewers in a given market.
Dealers can also leverage large programming opportunities and access major recognizable logos that have strong coverage across networks and devices. Furthermore, dealers and their partners in streaming television are continuously working to understand the market penetration they are gaining or losing, and they have access to unique data technology to ensure campaigns are on par with the reach of top cable providers.
These partners also offer dealers access to digital media purchase technology that leverages a Demand Side Platform (DSP), which is software that allows media buyers to buy each impression based on whether the viewer meets their audience parameters. They also can help ensure ad content is not played alongside or in tandem with violence or other sensitive subjects that would be detrimental to a dealer’s overall brand values.
Streaming Audio Reaches a Highly Captive Audience
In addition to streaming television, streaming audio allows dealers to communicate to an extremely captive audience. With lifestyles on the go, the power to have audio programming on-demand allows dealers to deliver their advertising message anywhere and at any time, elevating visibility and further establishing mindshare in a highly competitive space.
Many dealers looking to continue migrating to digital have found an easy transition to streaming audio. Those who are already committed to digital can take advantage of reach and frequency. Streaming audio greatly reduces wasted spending, while reaching customers where they spend their time.
In fact, streaming audio options have been found to be highly immersive and engaging compared with traditional media options because of its personalized and interactive nature. Using streaming audio helps dealers reach potential vehicle buyers – even in the consideration stage – since it provides a great opportunity for dealers to have their messages heard for increased sales and service potential.
As more of these unconventional digital advertising strategies become available, dealers will continue to realize better targeting of their advertising, with more targeted and personalized messages aimed at in-market shoppers, leading to better online and showroom traffic and increased conversions.
Lauren Donalson (pictured, above left) is chief operating officer at PureCars.