82% of consumers can’t recall any car advert they have seen in the last 12 months. Matthew Robinson, Marketing Communications Manager at Acxiom, examines the effect of advertising in the automotive industry, and follows research from Acxiom which identified that 82% of respondents couldn’t recall any car advert that they have seen in the last 12 months.
For automotive marketers, this statement is concerning. Traditional channels used in isolation for marketing purposes are dying. But a new breed of marketing has entered the equation – personalised and highly targeted advertising at an individual level.
As a result, automotive brands are responding to this downward trend in traditional TV advertising, increasingly looking beyond TV spots to explore alternative channels and tactics to stand out customer’s minds. Investment opportunities are increasing through social and mobile apps, video content and interactive games, all in a bid to build brand awareness and drive prospects into the showroom. Today, to create genuinely memorable customer engagement strategies, automotive marketers must be able to access and make the most of these marketing tools.
According to a 2013 study by Dealer.com and GfK Automotive Research, “38% of consumers say they will consult social media in making their next car purchase” – so it makes sense that automotive brands should increase social as a means for consumer engagement. Social channels provide excellent opportunities for marketers to engage prospects and showcase marketing activities cost-effectively: rather than reach the masses via TV ads, social content targets users already interested in the brand. Social also allows smarter targeting, providing the platform for two-way conversations, something that TV advertising currently cannot replicate.
A prime example of how an automotive brand has gone beyond TV advertising into creating a social campaign is Mini USA’s ‘The best test drive ever’ campaign where consumers were encouraged to describe a Mini Coupe fantasy test drive in six words. The winner’s fantasy was made into a film that premiered online on Mini’s Facebook and YouTube, as well as in cinemas nationally. This campaign not only resulted in a significant uplift in Twitter followers but led to 6,000 consumers visiting Mini USA dealerships – 2,100 of which purchased a car.
Effective social use helps to increase brand and consumer interactions while managing online reputations. Marketers can amplify positive reviews and customer experiences whilst managing and responding in real-time to negative ones.
Consumer’s Digital Passport
A recent study by ComScore revealed that Facebook ads lifted visits to an automotive website by 37%. The ads gave a 38% increase in page views, with clickthrough from Facebook increasing from 16% to 39% between October 2012 and April 2013. This is because having Facebook adverts allows automotive brands to focus on key segments such as those currently in-market and ready to make a purchase. The study concluded that automotive brands who ran Facebook ads could increase their online brand searches by 11%.
Facebook isn’t the only social channel available however. For real-time insight and interaction, Automotive brands should look to Twitter as again, they can reap the rewards of effective social campaigns. Equally, having a consumer’s email address provides a digital passport: connecting activity and preferences across online channels to form a valuable digital footprint. When combined with social insight, email is an integral channel for refined, unique communication.
Data at the heart
In order for automotive brands to fully realise and utilise social media marketing they must first look to their own data to ensure that they have the information and insight required to maximise their social ROI.
Data is crucial, as brands must ensure their adverts are being shown to the right audiences on the right channels at the right time. Using the right technologies, brands can create targeted advertising based on offline information. Technologies such as direct matching can be used to target display ads on partner publisher sites. For success, automotive brands must identify, capture and integrate their data sources to accurately measure the impact of, say, a display campaign in affecting offline sales.
Using data to understand customer profiles at different stages of the purchase cycle allows automotive marketers to understand consumers, utilise technologies for best segmentation, gauge propensities to purchase, and intelligently reach valuable prospects with highly relevant adverts.
A generation of digitally savvy customers has risen and with them, the opportunity to stand out through social. Marketing execs in this industry should embrace new digital channels, note how to increase customer loyalty and drive new prospects across social media platforms.
By Matthew Robinson
Marketing Communications Manager
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*Statistics gathered from Acxiom’s online survey questions based on 3,357 respondents