Cable TV’s Evolved Data Capabilities Create A Powerful Automotive Marketing Channel

By James Rothwell, Lee Singletary

Ahead of the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) conference in San Francisco, Comcast Spotlight hosted a panel discussion with automotive marketing industry leaders, to share their perspectives on the state of marketing in the industry. Among the varying topics of discussion, the under-utilized power of data —and specifically viewership data—and its use alongside TV advertising was most prevalent.

There’s a disconnect it seems, between what Tier 2 and 3 automotive marketers deem as traditional media spend with TV specifically, and what the modern TV’s data capabilities actually are; and what they can do to make the dealership door swing.

“In general, dealers are starting to wake up to data as an important asset to their marketing strategy,” said Brian Pasch, Founder of PCG Companies. He added, “The concept of audiences and audience strategy is starting to crop up.” 

TV’s ability to drive results through the funnel is become clearer to those who are embracing the new world of television plus data. Auto marketers who utilize viewership data that informs audience strategy and the corresponding technology will undoubtedly gain a competitive advantage.

Max Steckler, Chief Product Officer at AutoChoice noted, “utilizing data to understand how well things are performing is absolutely critical. There are select people within the industry that embrace advanced technologies and use them to their advantage, creating a divide for the haves and have nots.”

So, what’s stopping the have nots from re-assessing their media mix to make the most of TV? For some it’s a lack of awareness of what TV’s viewership data can do for their business. For others it’s a skepticism towards attribution—did TV’s well-known awareness capability drive website traffic, lease renewals or auto sales… or was it another marketing channel?

More and more, marketers are realizing the positive effects of television on their overall strategy and its ability to fuel and complement digital channels, given the advent of data insights available to maximize a dealership’s budget and reach.

According to NADA, new vehicle sales are projected to drop this year with higher interest rates and soaring prices, forcing the automotive marketer to counterbalance the effects by getting savvier with their media dollars and finding profitability through advertising.

For Neil Gandhi, Director, Digital Marketing for The Faulkner Organization, “our biggest focus is how to shift advertising to an impression-based model to see incremental gains leading to efficiencies.”

At Comcast Spotlight, providing insight into website traffic is fundamental, and is included in a solution offered to its automotive clients. A recent study of two Tier 2 dealerships showed the dramatic increase in awareness and consideration metrics including greater reach and immediate website visitor lift.1 With nearly the same budget, but two different viewership data-informed buying strategies (increased networks, broader dayparts), the two dealerships in the same market experienced drastically different results.

And it doesn’t stop there: based on the results from 21 Tier 3 automotive campaigns late last year, those that spanned more than 20 networks saw three times the lift in website visitation (on a weekly basis) versus campaign that only spanned 10 networks. Schedules with more diversified dayparts (60-80% non-Prime) also yielded much higher immediate visitor lift than schedules that ran the vast majority of spots in Primetime (80-100%).2

With an audience-based approach, new strides are being made to put viewership data to work for marketers wanting to be more efficient and effective with their TV advertising strategy. Now automotive markets can hone in on audience targeting using first-party data with a full funnel solution with measurable results.

TV is now in a place where data not only fuels efficiency, but also proves its effectiveness.

Sources:
1. Comcast Internal Viewership Data and Instant IMPACT powered by TVSquared
2. Instant IMPACT powered by TVSquared, Q4 2018

James Rothwell (@jacrothwell) leads global agency & industry relations and Lee Singletary (@LeeSingletary) manages brand, advocacy & industry relations, both at Comcast Advertising.

About the Comcast Spotlight Automotive Advisory Council:
Founded in 2018, the mission of the Automotive Advisory Council is to represent automotive marketers’ interests in relation to Comcast Spotlight's advanced advertising products and tools as well as broader industry trends and insights. The AAC is an advocacy group, comprised of tier 2-3 auto leaders from agencies, dealers and manufacturers. The AAC operates as an educational and organizing resource to assist marketers in reaching desired audiences in premium video environments, conducting research documenting the benefits of cable advertising, and championing the interests of member automotive marketers and the industry.

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