Prioritizing Programmatic for Auto Advertisers | Adtaxi

Prioritizing Programmatic for Auto Advertisers


Jennifer Flanagan

Nov 29 2021

Programmatic advertising is the automated buying of digital advertising. Through the use of algorithms, targeting preferences, and demographic data, programmatic ads optimize campaign effectiveness by delivering the right ads to the right audience. For auto advertisers, this means increased control over marketing efforts within specific zip codes, age ranges, car make and model preferences, and other key targeting details that can focus ad spend on the most impactful audiences.

Programmatic campaigns also provide insight into the customer buying journey, discover previously untapped customer needs and interests, and cut out the guesswork inherent to traditional advertising over TV and airwaves. In short, it can help you find customers and target them with messages tailored to fit their needs.

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Using Programmatic Across Channels to Find Car Buyers

Programmatic can apply to a wide range of advertising channels in the form of display, Connected TV, digital audio, video, and more. It’s important to understand the strengths of each channel, as certain shoppers will respond better to some more than others depending on their digital habits and where they are in their shopping journey. Here are the major digital ad types dealerships can use to get the most from their marketing ad dollars:

  • Display ads: Digital ads that appear on websites as users are browsing or reading content. Display ads commonly make use of dynamic remarketing by connecting to a dealership’s inventory feed to show a specific vehicle viewed by a customer to remain top-of-mind and keep the customer moving forward through the buying cycle.
  • Social ads: Promoted or sponsored posts,  on widely-used social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Snapchat.
  • Native ads: Sponsored ad content mirroring organic posts, frequently appearing as in-feed or in-article ads, in-app video ads, and promoted posts on major social platforms. Auto advertisers can promote a “10 fun cars to drive” article that includes backlinks to your main site’s inventory or home pages.
  • Pre-roll ads: Promotional videos appearing before a video the user has selected to play, commonly seen as promotional content on Youtube. These can be created and delivered in a series to develop a comprehensive storytelling element for your business’ online presence.
  • Connected TV (CTV): Smart TVs and streaming devices attached to TVs. CTV ads run on the home’s largest screen, and can generally reach the whole household rather than a single user on individual devices or apps.

Programmatic advertising accounted for an estimated 86.5% of all digital ad spend in the US in 2021, with video, social media, and mobile as the heaviest hitters. As auto advertisers seek to expand their reach and effectiveness within their respective markets, programmatic ad solutions are expected to continue playing a valuable role in promoting both brand awareness and conversions.

How Programmatic Keeps You in Touch with Your Audience

Auto advertisers know their customers like to look for cars close by — but the radius for which dealerships can deliver effective advertisements is expanding. With the right inventory, post-pandemic customers seeking a new vehicle are willing to come to you. 

By creating a full-funnel digital strategy with programmatic advertising at its center, your dealership can keep up with the changing needs of the modern car buyer and attract customers from further distances with targeted messaging. Today’s buyers are looking for high-tech cars with the benefit of new services like home test drives and home delivery. If your dealership has responded to the pandemic by offering these services, it’s important to make sure your potential shoppers know you offer them.

Measuring Success with the Right Metrics

Among the many benefits of programmatic advertising is the ability to streamline measurement across advertising channels and quickly gain actionable insights. That means an added layer of transparency between your business and what your audience thinks about the ads you’re running in real time — even those launched near a time-sensitive promotion or event.

Evaluating campaigns based primarily on direct conversions is not always the best practice — particularly for campaigns focused on upper-funnel brand awareness goals. Programmatic aims to provide an overall lift to your marketing efforts, but requires an understanding of each campaign’s central goal to properly measure success. For auto dealers, KPIs across digital campaigns might range from high-funnel metrics like clicks or site visits, to lower-funnel qualifiers like email signups or test drives scheduled.

Attributing success to the right channel means making sure each campaign is doing its job. If the typical time from initial engagement with an ad to scheduling an in-person visit is typically 30 days, attribution windows on high-funnel campaigns should be at least that long and run for that many days before beginning the optimization process.

Auto advertisers face unique challenges in the marketing world, but proper use of programmatic ads cuts through much of the guessing and experimentation involved with traditional ad spend to reach your audience’s changing interests. With a sound programmatic strategy, car buyers from miles around will more easily discover your dealership — and be prepared to take action when it’s time to get behind the wheel.

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