Navigating the UAW Strike: Considerations for Contextual Audience Targeting

October 3, 2023

Navigating the UAW Strike: Considerations for Contextual Audience Targeting

Navigating the UAW Strike: Considerations for Contextual Audience Targeting

The automotive industry has been a cornerstone of the American economy for decades, and its health is closely monitored by businesses across various sectors. With the current United Auto Workers (UAW) strike, it's crucial to understand the potential implications for the industry and how such developments influence contextual audience targeting strategies.

Understanding the UAW Strike

The UAW, a formidable labor union representing automotive industry workers, has significant influence in shaping labor conditions, wages, and benefits within the industry. When a UAW strike unfolds, it typically involves thousands of workers across major automakers, including General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler). Because developments of this magnitude so greatly influence discussion around an entire industry, as well as societal issues like workers’ rights in general, it’s imperative for brands and agencies to factor them into their digital media planning.

A UAW strike could disrupt production and potentially result in shortages of popular car models. This shift in consumer behavior—away from purchasing specific models or brands affected by the strike—can have a ripple effect on how marketers reach their audiences and with what messaging. In response, marketers must adapt their strategies to account for evolving buying patterns.

During labor disputes, public sentiment often leans toward supporting the striking workers. Marketers need to be acutely aware of this prevailing sentiment and adjust their messaging accordingly. This may involve reframing advertising content and how placement is targeted to acknowledge audiences who sympathize with the workers' cause.

The Vital Role of Contextual Targeting

As digital advertising continues to evolve, legacy behavioral targeting methods are losing their appeal. The industry has shifted its focus to delivering superior user experiences while adhering to stringent privacy regulations. Now more than ever, the importance of using contextual targeting to enhance audience engagement cannot be overstated. Aligning advertisements with the content people are already consuming allows for the seamless integration of promotional content into their browsing experience, significantly increasing the chances of meaningful engagement.

In a privacy-first digital world, contextual targeting represents a cornerstone of advertising strategy, not just a tactic. Thus, even when sensitive topics like striking workers dominate the news, automotive brands can’t afford to pause their investments. Quite the opposite, in fact. These are the times when thoughtful messaging and targeting matter most. With contextual targeting, auto advertisers have an opportunity to realign their strategies and messaging around topics to be even more impactful.

Contextual Considerations for Auto Brands During a Strike

As auto brands look to adapt their advertising strategies around the ongoing strike, here are a few contextual targeting considerations and opportunities to keep in mind:

  • Audience Targeting: While many legacy means of audience targeting are becoming less relevant in the face of mounting privacy measures and the deprecation of third-party cookies, automotive marketers still have the opportunity to place precise ads based on specific car makes and models, behavioral insights drawn from car search and research history, and geographic targeting that promotes local dealerships. These efforts need to be carefully considered and refined when ongoing strike efforts are expected to impact availability of certain models and options.
  • Contextual Targeting: Contextual targeting can provide significant 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. These types of contextual placements become all the more important during a strike, given that general interest news around car brands during the strike might be content that auto brands avoid with their contextual placements. The beauty of modern contextual targeting is that placements can be refined based on page-level content and sentiment. With the right pivots, auto brands can continue to reach in-market consumers with relevant messaging, while continuing branding efforts around content that’s less sensitive in nature.
  • Contextual Audience Extension: Combining the power of audience and contextual targeting will be more important than ever for auto brands during the strike. Contextual Audience Extension allows auto brands to make the most of their first-party data by taking what they know about existing customers and using that information 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—one that acknowledges the impact of the strike on audience sentiment—and then apply that definition across campaigns and tactics to find new customers who share attributes with their high-value customers.

The United Auto Workers strike highlights the critical need for adaptability in contextual audience targeting. As consumer behavior, demographics, and sentiment undergo shifts during such events, businesses must remain vigilant and make necessary adjustments to their advertising strategies.

Ready to navigate the UAW strike's impact on your auto marketing strategy? By striking the right balance between direct context and peripheral content, you can amplify your marketing impact and extend your reach.

Secure your marketing strategy through challenging times. Contact Fyllo for a resilient contextual targeting solution that can withstand any market disruptions.

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