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Digital Ads Sway Auto Buyers

(Posted on Jan 16, 2014 at 10:28AM )
The 34m Americans planning to buy a vehicle in the next six months are twice as likely to be swayed by auto-focused digital marketing as the population at large according to new research.

A study from the from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Prosper Insights –Digital Influence on Auto Intenders, based on intelligence from the Media Behaviors & Influence Study which polls some 19,000 respondents once a year – found that 21% of automotive shoppers were influenced by relevant digital ads compared to 12% of the general population. 

Nor did the effect stop at that category as 71% of this group were also more likely to be influenced by digital advertising across multiple retail categories as the average consumer.

Sherrill Mane, Senior Vice President, Research, Analytics and Measurement, IAB, noted that automotive had consistently been a top sector when it came to interactive advertising spending in the US.

"In particular, there seems to be tremendous mobile and digital video opportunity that auto marketers should be optimising along with other digital and legacy media," she added, pointing in particular to the need to leverage the always-on nature of digital media. 

The study also showed that a majority of vehicle buyers regularly embarked upon online searches for automobiles (86%) and they are twice as likely as the average person to be influenced by sponsored search ads (20% vs. 10%).

In addition to digital, all forms of media influenced the automotive path to purchase, said the IAB, so emphasising the importance of a solid media mix in order to effectively reach prospective vehicle buyers.

"These findings underscore the fact that automotive brands, as well as marketers in related areas like car insurance and vehicle maintenance, would be remiss in not including digital in their media strategy," said Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director, Prosper Insights.

Several digital lifestyle differences were apparent between auto buyers and the typical adult. For example, automotive intenders were more likely to own a smartphone (75% vs. 54%) or a tablet (42% vs. 33%). 

They were also heavier digital video streamers, both online (69% vs. 56%) and on mobile devices (52% vs. 35%). Consequently they were more likely to regularly watch digital video commercials before streaming video programming (66% vs. 53%).

And in general, auto-intenders were more likely to regularly research all kinds of products online before buying (58% vs. 42%). 

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff