Targeted Display Advertising: Marketing Messages That Work

Your customers are exposed to digital advertisements on a daily basis. But customers often ignore messages, unaware they’ve even seen one.

After all, digital advertisements have become the standard for reaching consumers. According to eMarketer, digital ad spending in the U.S. will total $58.61 billion by the end of 2015. And the trend continues—Comscore predicts digital advertising will be the top media category in 2016.

You could be wasting a lot of your marketing spend and valuable time with ads your customers are not seeing.

The majority of digital advertising strategies are powered by inference, following logic along the lines of “if they looked at shoes on another website, then they must be interested in buying shoes right now and in the future, so place more shoe ads!” This is the “spray and pray” method, based on best guesses that use semi-targeted strategies to track Web-browsing behavior using cookies, sessions, or IPs in an attempt to ping the right customers with the right messages.

This method is broken: Over half of digital ads go unseen, wasting billions of dollars in digital ad spend. To save on this costly guesswork, you must do what seems impossible: create targeted ads your customers will want to see, tailored for their individual vehicle needs, in the digital spaces they actually go.

How? Combine your valuable customer data with precise online display ad targeting. This process is called Targeted Display Advertising (TDA). With this strategy, you get the dish on who your digital-driven customers are, what they need, and what they’re looking at online.

TDA works in tandem with customer retention programs, dividing customers into segments by their place in the vehicle ownership life cycle. Using this, dealers target individual customers with a tailored, relevant communication that digitally “follows” customers wherever they’re browsing, through digital channels. This increases the customer’s overall exposure to the dealers’ reminders and drives customer engagement.

Recognizing customers’ digital footprints enables dealers to identify the digital spaces where they are most likely to be found, and subsequently create the advertisements best suited to their vehicle service needs. If a customer has recently purchased a vehicle and needs an oil change soon, dealers can capitalize on all the information they already have.

The ad is then tailored to include information like the vehicle’s make and model, the service needed, and more. These types of ads capture customers’ attention with relevant information in the digital spaces where they’ll actually see them. And digital channels afford dealers the ability to remind customers in a subtle, almost subliminal way, just like a billboard does on the daily commute to work.

TDA increases communication efficiency because it cuts down on the number of ads a dealership creates that get no response, nor ROI. This optimization of resources increases service business and helps nurture the dealer-to-profitable customer relationship.

Not only does this save dealers’ marketing dollars, but retention of profitable customers’ business over their purchase lifetimes results in less waste for the dealership overall. And we all know it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one.

TDA is already making digital waves. Through implementation of digital ad channels into proven-retention multi-channel marketing programs within two major automotive brands for 90 days, TDA saw increases in incremental, profitable service sales of up to 30% ($209,177 total).

Research also shows up to 40% match rates in identifying the customer. This dramatically expands the number of marketing impressions created, and maximizes reach and ROI. Additionally, TDA enables dealers to garner actionable intelligence regarding their most lucrative customers.

Through these targeted display ads, dealers have a tremendous advantage. While dealers imagine and embrace a more personal ad that increases relevance and customer engagement, they add another vital weapon to the fight against ad waste and customer defection.

Mike Martinez, chief marketing officer, leads the global marketing, product management, and strategy and analytics efforts for AutoPoint, a Solera Holdings company. For more information, please contact

Mike Martinez


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