Dean Evans says that compared to where users spend their time, television advertising is dated and inefficient.
Evans is executive vice president of CARS, which operates brands including Cars.com, Dealer Inspire and DealerRater.
“Automotive advertisers relying on linear TV to generate traffic are wasting money by directing 95% of their spend towards those not in the market to buy a car, and therefore not getting the returns they deserve,” Evans said.
That is one of the reasons automotive digital solutions provider Cars.com has launched FUEL In-Market Video, or FUEL IMV, which Evans describes as “the antidote to smarter automotive marketing that could eliminate the massive waste while yielding the same or better results.”
Cars.com describes FUEL IMV as a digital video product focused on what Zenith Media says is the $9.7 billion that the U.S. auto market spends on TV advertising.
Cars.com says that with the new product, dealers, original equipment manufacturers and regional/dealer ad associations can pinpoint serious ready-to-buy shoppers and fight the high costs and inefficiencies of selling in what it describes as a crowded, fragmented media industry.
Also sourcing Zenith Media, Cars.com says more than 50% of U.S. automotive advertising spending goes to traditional, untargeted TV, which is much higher than the global industry average across all categories.
And that spending takes place while consumers spend more time on mobile devices than on traditional TV, according to a Los Angeles Times article. That article says those consumers are accessing content from various social platforms and streaming apps.
Also, Cars.com average internal traffic data from 2019 shows that fewer than 5 percent of households in a local market are serious about buying a new or used vehicle. That means finding them requires more data-driven science to succeed.
CARS chief executive officer Alex Vetter said the opportunity to use data and science to drive sales more efficiently has arrived.
“We are in an era of opportunity where dealers and OEMs can take advantage of the most pure, comprehensive in-market car-shopper data, intelligent solutions and advanced technology platforms to drive some of the most efficient and effective advertising this industry has ever seen,” Vetter said.
He continued, “CARS is committed to delivering connected technology solutions like FUEL IMV to attack inefficiencies for automotive advertisers and fuel sales and dealer profits.”
With FUEL IMV and using Cars.com's 23 million monthly shoppers, 82% who are in-market to buy, OEMs and dealers can harness what Cars.com describes as “the untapped power of digital video.” The company sources Borrell's 2018 Outlook in predicting an increase in digital video at a rate of 19% to $4.8 billion in the automotive space by 2023.
Cars.com mentioned a recent FUEL IMV pilot that showed positive outcomes for an Atlanta-based Hyundai dealership. The dealership during the test experience a 153% increase in new users on its website, a 31% increase in organic traffic and a 180% increase in referral traffic from social media as a result of the new digital video campaign.
Key features of FUEL IMV include:
— In-market audience data that includes access to Cars.com’s audience.
— Interactive channels that provide shoppers the ability to click for more information or connect online with dealerships. Cars.com said traditional TV can’t do that.
— Competitive advantage: Dealers can claim their preferred ZIP codes. That provide them access to data about households currently shopping for vehicles.
— Custom campaign builder: That brings dealers access to a library of creative ad campaigns, with the ability to customize them to a dealer’s branding and special offers.
— Artificial intelligence: That includes built-in AI to respond to viewers, collect customer information and provide personalized offers.
— Integration: That includes the ability to sync across all CARS properties, delivering what the company describes as a connected experience across a dealership’s entire digital portfolio to guide shoppers through the buying process.
— Connected reporting: Metrics flow directly into the new Dealer Inspire reporting platform PRIZM, alowing dealers to see the effectiveness of each advertising dollar spent.
Hear more from Evans on FUEL In-Market Video, the state of automotive advertising today and more in this podcast, recorded at NADA Show 2020