Data is still the missing piece to the automotive marketing puzzle

Data is still the missing piece to the automotive marketing puzzle

In today’s fast evolving automotive industry, reaching consumers in a meaningful way is more challenging than ever before. Not only has the car itself changed dramatically over the last few years, but so too has the way consumers search for and buy one.

Auto Trader’s Car Buyers Report revealed that for many consumers, the car buying journey has become frustrating and disjointed, with as many as 60% giving up their search for their ideal car because of an abundance of confusing information. So, at a time of so much change in the market, how can brands reach car buyers in an engaging and impactful way?

Well, we believe the key to success is data-led creativity. Data allows you to have a clear view of the problem you’re trying to solve. At Auto Trader our scale gives us access to an unparalleled amount of data, giving us the most accurate view of today’s car buyers – the makes and models they actively search for, the cars they are ‘cross shopping’, how much they’re willing to pay, and whether they even have a car to part exchange.

This information allows us to build a picture in real time of how consumers are engaging with a particular automotive brand. That data makes it possible to support manufacturers on how they can grow market share and where they are currently losing out to competitors. Only once you’ve analysed the data can you truly have a view of the business challenge for a particular brand and what they need to do to overcome a specific problem.

Coupled with this rich insight, creativity is the next step. Successful partnerships are based on more than just visually stunning creatives. It needs to talk to the intended audience and help dispel the blockers that stop the consumer from buying the product.

Creativity is best when it feels personal to the end user. In a world drowning with a vast amount of user information, we shouldn’t be building creatives that assume everyone is the same, a fact that was highlighted in our Car Buyers Report. Many manufacturing brands have limited their advertising to a predefined competitor set, assuming that a car buyer will concentrate on a similar brand, model or type. But, with 49% of buyers changing their mind about the make they were considering at least once, 48% the model, and 40% the type, consumers simply don’t buy like that anymore.

This illustrates the lack of loyalty amongst today’s car buyers, their openness to influence, and the need for a creative that puts their requirements at the heart of the narrative. Only by adopting personalised advertising will we be able to move the dial on relevance, engagement, and response.

A successful sales person goes to great lengths to understand the person they’re pitching to – their name, their interests, their likes/dislikes, their needs and wants. That information enables them to explain how their product can fill a gap in their life. In the same way, advertising needs to understand the user before they start the pitch or they could end up wasting a disproportionate amount of resource on the wrong user - or worse still - the right user but the wrong approach.

This thinking shapes all of our partnerships at Auto Trader, with all of our creatives now powered by audience data. The models that users are searching for on our site informs the creatives and message they are shown on the day our creatives go online. By using this approach, we’ve been able to increase considerations and conversions of key models.

We’ve taken it a step further by starting to build video creatives that are informed by user interests. For Fiat 500X (due to launch shortly) we are running dynamic Instagram Stories creatives tailored to the individual user based on their Facebook interests and likes. The campaign, which is entitled 'Go Anywhere' illustrates the versatility of the product by displaying the car in twenty different scenarios based on interest profiling of the target audience. Importantly, it demonstrates how the right data can drive tailored creatives, helping brands reach today’s car buyers in an engaging and impactful way.

To read the Car Buyers Report in full, click here.

Dickson Abegunde, Head of Branded Content & Partnerships, Auto Trader.

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