3 Mobile Marketing Tips to Get Shoppers Offline and Into the Showroom

Maximize the potential of mobile’s seemingly infinite opportunities

One of the biggest challenges facing auto dealers is how to bridge the gap between potential customers who browse online and those who walk into a dealership for a test drive. But as mobile marketing becomes more sophisticated, this disconnect is growing smaller.



The right tools, strategy, and understanding of resources help dealers get more customers out of the house and into a new vehicle. Here are some tips to help make it happen.

Create app-based audiences

Smartphones allow contextual targeting based on what apps users have downloaded on their specific device. This means marketers can get more granular than ever in creating audience segments.

For example, an audience could be created based on users who have the following three apps: one that tracks fitness, one that tracks canine health, and one that includes children’s games. Based on that data, a campaign could be created and served that advertises a family-sized, top-safety-pick SUV perfect for the whole family (including Fido).

When combining audience segments with geotargeting (detailed later), that messaging can be further targeted to promote your dealership location.

Geotarget for maximum relevance

One of the greatest benefits of mobile marketing in the automotive space is the ability to geotarget with display advertising. The average consumer spends almost five hours on the phone per day, often while on the go.

In building audience segments and creating campaigns, geotargeting makes it possible to serve an immediately relevant message to users within a certain radius of a dealership.

For example, if you’re aware that a user has been eying the latest SUV model, you can serve a customized message touting a test drive of that vehicle when that person is within a five-mile radius of year dealership.

If a user is already on the phone, why not serve an ad with the dealership phone number that can easily be used? The goal of geotargeted mobile display advertising is to make consumers’ next steps so easy and intuitive that the message actually adds convenience to their life.

Use cross-screen messaging

Dealers can use historical data from users’ online behavior to determine everything from if and when they’ve visited a dealership to how close they are to the nearest dealer, and even what kind of vehicle they’re in the market to buy.

This is why cross-screen targeting is a valuable way to maximize advertising efficiency. It makes it possible for dealers to match up users who have visited their website on a desktop, and then further target them on their phone based on the recency and frequency of their website visits.

Cross-screen targeting is a vital part of closing the gap between online browsing and in-dealership buying. Suddenly, the vehicle a user viewed at home pops up in a display ad on a smartphone at work, or when the user is running errands. It has the power to keep a brand—and a potential purchase—top of mind.

It’s important to remember that all strong campaigns begin with highly targeted audience segments. Messaging strategy like geotargeting and cross-screen targeting should flow consistently from the data provided by those audiences.

Mobile marketing will only become more advanced with time, and it’s a platform that already offers seemingly infinite opportunities for dealers.

As president of IgnitionOne, Roger Barnette oversees the company’s aggressive growth and technology strategy. He has extensive experience managing and growing emerging technology businesses, and is a veteran of the online marketing industry.

Roger Barnette

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