CommentaryNov 19th, 2013

Targeting In-Market Shoppers with Big Data


In the “Good old days," automotive advertising was as simple as defining a specific demographic to target and buying a TV, radio, or print media plan to connect with that audience. You knew that enough people interacted with these forms of media that you were bound to find some people who were in the market to buy a new car or truck.

Today, the media landscape is tremendously fractured. As a percentage of share, TV now gets less than half of the eyeballs it did just ten years ago, and new media has completely decimated the newspaper industry. Now that consumers use completely different forms of media, it’s no longer cost-effective to try and connect with an entire demographic. Rather than clinging to the old ways of automotive advertising, successful marketers are using new techniques to connect with very specific audiences: people who are actually in-market for a car.

You’ve heard the stats about proliferating online car shopping. Surveys show that more than 80% of new car buyers research their car online, and more than half of car buyers say the internet is their single most important research tool. At first glance it might seem like the internet is making it more difficult for car dealers to connect with in-market shoppers. There’s a distinct benefit, however, that dealers should be keen to take advantage of: all of the research performed by auto intenders creates mountains of data that, if mined correctly, can help dealers connect with in-market car shoppers through highly targeted internet advertising campaigns.

This trail of digital intelligence is referred to as “big data.” It is time for dealers to learn how to target and market to the big-data pool of active in-market car shoppers. Getting started with targeted data begins with understanding where this data is housed. I’ve put together a list of several companies that aggregate and sell automotive data for your digital ad spend.

Datalogix has a rich set of data for targeting automotive intent. They have data on nearly every US household and over one trillion dollars of consumer transactions. Most important for dealers, they house Polk data, which dealers have been using for years to connect with car shoppers in the offline space.

Bluekai is a Seattle company that aggregates data from Forbes, AdAdvisor, and Acxiom. Additionally, they’ve created their own “Bluekai Intent” data source, and 93% of that data comes from comScore’s Top 10 Automotive Sites including sites like AutoTrader, Yahoo Autos, KBB, and Edmunds.

Exelate has collected automotive intent data on 44 million consumers. They break their segments down by new and used, make and model, and price range.

Modern automotive marketers should understand these different data sources and know how to effectively mix this data with a digital media spend. Most importantly, they should have experience with the various data sets and understand how they best relate to a dealer’s business. Dealers that are able to target online ads effectively to reach targeted audiences will win bigger market share, gain an advantage over their competitors, and sell more cars.

Dave Pavlu is the founder and CEO of A full-service digital marketing agency based in Seattle, WA that specializes in online marketing strategies that drive and capture first-party leads for car dealerships.

Authored by

Dave Pavlu

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