ResearchMay 10th, 2022

Connected Television Represents A Great Disruptive Opportunity for Dealers


It is estimated that 39% of adults are watching video on a CTV device on a daily basis. This is up from 31% back in 2019 according to data from Leichtman Research Group (LRG)1. This represents a large audience with spending power and the desire to shop for a vehicle.

As a result, dealerships are taking a closer look at the connected television medium because of who is viewing CTV, as well as how often, not just the overall households. 

The increase in CTV also represents a disruptive leveling of the playing field for advertisers who historically have purchased traditional TV, and those who could not previously afford it due to budget constraints or efficiency concerns. 

The programmatic targeting capabilities of CTV allows for large advertisers to buy more efficiently through diversification of their media mix and better data fidelity in their audience reach. It also allows smaller or more niche advertisers an opportunity to advertise in front of larger audiences on television without the high cost and ad waste associated with traditional media buys.

Creating greater efficiencies

The decision for auto retailers and their advertising agency partners to consider CTV is less about re-allocating digital media budgets to video, which most dealers already execute through programmatic and social video campaigns. 

Furthermore, dealers should not entirely abandon their traditional media buys and budgets, either. However, in many cases those dealers that begin to explore a reallocation of portions of their traditional media investments over to CTV see significant improvement in the performance of their overall media mix and experience a positive impact on their cost per unit sold and serviced. 

Increases in target markets

The first CTV benefit is scale, where dealers can leverage large programming opportunities and access across major recognizable logos that has strong coverage across networks and devices. Secondly, dealers and their partners in CTV are continuously working to understand the market penetration they are gaining or losing, and have access to unique data technology to ensure campaigns are on par with the reach of top cable providers.

These partners also offer dealers access to digital media purchase technology that leverages a Demand Side Platform (DSP), which is software that allows media buyers to buy each impression based on whether the viewer meets their audience parameters. They can also help ensure ad content is not played along side or in tandem with violence or other sensitive subjects that would be detrimental to a dealer’s overall brand values.

Driving greater bottom-line results

While all of this sounds promising, results are what matters. One mid-size regional dealer in Florida recently tested an Amazon DSP against other traditional media platforms and ran a two-week CTV campaign, directed to in-market shoppers on FireTV, within their store’s PMA. Their campaign measured correlative metrics holistically against all digital media channels including search, fixed ops, social, sales, and ROs.

The dealer saw significant gains in performance across every measured metric when looking both at period-over-period and month-over-month. Furthermore, to test the fidelity of the data, they also measured key metrics when the campaign was terminated and saw almost a 15% decline in impressions and clicks in search, coupled with a distinct drop in shopper engagement on the website.

This included a +57% increase in sales, +17% increase in closed ROs, and a +16% month-over-month increase in dealership revenue, according to data from PureCars.

Dealers are naturally hesitant to jump into the CTV pool all at once. However, with the results from this dealer’s trial along with the ongoing growth of the CTV category, this disruptive platform will continue to grow as a viable alternative providing a competitive edge to those dealers that explore their options early on.



    John Sternal is a Partner and Director of PR & Social Media at Merit Mile, where he oversees strategic client programs for PR, social media, and communications research. He has been writing about the automotive industry since 2005 and has more than 25 years of experience in building brands and creating brand awareness through PR, communications, and media strategy.

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