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Auto Advertising Goes WAY Digital – Digital Gabe
Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

Auto Advertising Goes WAY Digital

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The SCBA (Southern Cal Broadcasters Association) recently published a white paper which tries to make the argument that auto manufacturers and dealers should shift some of their media mix back to traditional outlets like TV and (of course) radio.  While I could poke holes in some of the SCBA’s rationale, they’re making an admirable attempt to draw more attention to their industry and recover revenue share.  However, that’s not what interested me about this article.

The thing that really caught my eye was a chart the SCBA published from Borrell Associates, showing new car ad spending across each media channel by every link of the auto supply chain.  Broadcast radio is only getting 3.2% of the spending – no shocker there.  The real jaw-dropper is that 64% of all auto-related ad spending is going to digital.  In fact, digital’s total is over 4x the combined spending on broadcast TV and cable.

Right now you may be asking yourself how this stat could be true – especially given that you can’t watch 10 minutes of TV without seeing an auto ad.  The real secret to auto’s ad spending on digital is a shift to lower-funnel media by utilizing search and behavioral retargeting.  Over the past decade the OEMs and dealers have become addicted to reaching auto intenders who are looking at cars online.  Just Google the word “Jeep” once and you’re bound to get 100 retargeted ads.  This has created a massive shift away from traditional media and into digital, which is perfectly illustrated in Borrell’s numbers.


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