As thousands of consumers pour into Detroit’s North American International Auto Show this week to kick the tires of new models and concept cars, many will go back to their hometowns and ponder their next big purchase. They’ll likely continue their research online — rather than commit to long hours browsing in car lots. Given the shift to digital, it should come as no surprise, then, that local car dealers are steering their marketing efforts there as well. In fact, an Interactive Advertising Bureau report noted that car buyers were 71% more likely to be influenced by digital ads compared to other consumers.
Japanese companies are driving gains in this healthy market, while domestic manufacturers pull back. Also hot: financial, telecom and healthcare.
Spot TV buyers across the country agree that auto spending is up sharply from this time last year. That reflects steady gains in the category dating back to January, when spending by the Japanese automakers and dealerships finally began to increase following months of slashed budgets.
There is indeed a correlation between increased spot spending on TV stations by auto manufacterers and increased sales. And why wouldn’t there be? Where is the actual consumer connection to their new car purchase? At the local dealership. So anything that helps spread that message has got to help the manufacturers’ bottom line.
North Carolina dealership owner Mike Johnson and his partner are big believers in local TV advertising. They spend 80% of their advertising budgets with TV stations and expect to increase spending 10% next year. He explains his TV-focused strategy and, drawing on his experience as the former chairman of the North Carolina Dealers Association, he offers the prediction that advertising expenditures in the auto sector will increase every year over the next five years.