How auto marketers can tap into the power of microtargeting

August 16, 2023

In a highly competitive market, today’s auto marketers can identify and engage audiences that convert with a sophisticated blend of contextual and audience strategies.

How auto marketers can tap into the power of microtargeting

In recent years, the automotive industry has shifted a growing portion of its advertising dollars toward digital channels, and for good reason. Today’s digital channels offer a direct path to highly engaged auto shoppers, and the auto brands that leverage what they know about their audiences to tailor their media buys and messaging are able to achieve significant ROI in these channels.

Digital ad spend by the U.S. automotive sector is expected to grow to about $19 billion in 2023, up from $15 billion in 2021. That said, with increased investment comes increased competition. The solution to breaking through the noise lies in modern contextual and audience targeting capabilities that deliver precision and efficiency that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Overcoming Key Auto Marketing Challenges with Contextual and Audience Targeting

Automotive marketers need to be able to reach their target audiences efficiently and effectively. Let’s take a look at some of the current challenges faced by automotive marketers that contextual and audience targeting solutions can help address:

Fragmented user journeys

Today's car-buying journey is complex and fragmented across a multitude of online and offline platforms. Through contextual targeting, marketers can follow a consumer's journey and advertise the right kind of automotive product or service at the right time and in the right context, thereby increasing their chances of converting potential customers.

Siloed data

Automotive companies are accustomed to working in silos, with marketing, sales, service and financing often focused on their own specialties. However, in the digital world, these silos hinder cross-departmental communication about customers and the sharing of relevant data that could drive sales, such as responses to advertising, website views, dealership visits, service history and previous buyer information. Marketers need to know where buyers are in their shopping journey, and they struggle to obtain this data, even within their own walls. Although some automotive leaders have begun to link their systems, there’s still a chasm between manufacturers and dealers, as well as departments within each. There’s no true end-to-end framework to track marketing campaigns, prioritize likely buyers, personalize messages, or ensure that the sales and service teams have complete customer information. Contextual and audience targeting solutions can help auto marketers bridge these data gaps to still communicate in a relevant way.

Increasing privacy concerns

With evolving privacy laws and existing regulations such as GDPR and CCPA, marketers face challenges in leveraging third-party data for targeted advertising. Contextual targeting, however, does not rely on personal data. It instead employs information about the content a user is currently engaged with, thereby alleviating privacy concerns.

Lack of personalization

A one-size-fits-all marketing approach isn’t terribly effective in the automotive industry. Each potential customer has unique needs based on their lifestyle, budget, location, past auto purchases and preferences. Contextual advertising can accurately target via demographics and other characteristics based on the content they consume. This enables more-personalized advertising, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion.

Brand safety issues

Placing automotive ads next to unrelated or inappropriate content can harm a brand’s image. Contextual targeting ensures that ads appear in relevant and safe environments, thereby preserving and enhancing brand reputation.

Inefficient ad spend

Without effective targeting, automotive marketers can waste significant ad dollars on individuals who are not interested or intending to purchase a vehicle. By using contextual targeting to place ads in relevant environments, marketers can reduce inefficient spend and improve ROI.

By addressing the above challenges with contextual and audience targeting solutions, marketers can increase the efficiency of their advertising efforts in the automotive industry, improve brand image, and better connect with potential customers.

Microtargeting Strategies for Auto Marketers

Today’s auto marketers need advanced targeting capabilities to identify and engage audiences that convert in order to achieve effective ROI in a highly competitive market. These advanced microtargeting strategies include:

  • Contextual targeting strategies
  • Audience targeting strategies
  • Contextual audience extension strategies

Many marketers think of audience targeting and contextual targeting as existing in opposing strategic buckets. But in fact, a savvy blend of both is possible in a wholly privacy-compliant context, and such a blend is precisely what today’s automotive marketers need to find and engage the right consumers in the right way.

In the auto industry, marketers have the opportunity to take advantage of unique capabilities that allow for precise advertising based on specific car makes and models, behavioral insights drawn from car search and research history, and geographic targeting that promotes local dealerships. On top of that, contextual targeting can provide even more reach to highly relevant audiences. By placing relevant ads on car review or comparison sites, for example, marketers can engage potential car buyers who are actively involved in the purchase-making process.

For auto marketers looking to supercharge results further, contextual audience extension allows them to make the most of their first-party data by taking what is known about existing customers and using those insights to find net new customers—all without the use of third-party cookies. By using first-party data and semantic profiles of users and pages, auto marketers can craft a universally applicable semantic definition for their target audience and then apply that definition across campaigns and tactics to find new customers who share attributes with their high-value customers.

An Automotive Microtargeting Success Story

With only 35 percent of Danish consumers targetable on a user level, Audi Denmark was seeing increased competition for users considered to be in the market for a new car. They faced similar competition for premium automotive and business-related content that users were expected to be consuming online.

Audi Denmark turned to Semasio, now a part of Fyllo, to help boost conversions and lower its effective cost per action (eCPA). Leveraging Semasio audience and contextual capabilities, with inclusion and exclusion strategies, the campaign used first-party data to model and target users with similar semantic profiles to actual converters. The campaign then combined audiences with context via Contextual Audience Extension. With equal spend across the study, Audi Denmark demonstrated that strategies using an exclusion of least-likely buyers is effective, driving 70 percent of conversions for audiences plus exclusion. However, Contextual Audience Extension delivered the most value from first-party data with greater cost efficiency, driving an 81 percent lower eCPA.

How Fyllo Can Help

Joint contextual and audience targeting solutions represent an ideal solution for automotive marketers looking to overcome the many challenges facing data-driven marketing today. At Fyllo, we’ve seen these strategies prove to be the most effective advertising method for the auto industry, with ads driven by contextual boasting an impressive average viewability rate of 71 percent.

Our proprietary AI technology analyzes page content to understand meaning and create unique semantic profiles for both people and pages, enabling auto marketers to use semantic topics to find the people and pages that matter. For example, you can build campaigns around:

  • Consumers researching your car (Audi, best car)
  • Consumers researching car financing (car financing, car loan)
  • Consumers researching electric vehicles (electric car, EV)
  • Consumers researching specific models (Audi model, Q4 e-tron)

Fyllo can also help auto marketers identify and engage their ideal consumers with advanced audience targeting solutions with best-in-class modeling built on unique datasets, such as location-based and near-market signals for various types of dealerships, or consumers engaging with automotive-centric social media influencers.

Today’s automotive marketers face a number of challenges that Fyllo can solve through its proprietary advanced microtargeting solutions. Want to learn more? Get in touch today.

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