You can’t turn on the television or open a newspaper without running into a car ad.
The auto industry and traditional advertising have always gone hand in hand, and that’s not likely to change. However, according to the new J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report, more and more new car owners are starting their content journeys via digital channels.
This comes as no surprise since nearly 65-90 percent of the buying journey (research, comparison shopping, consumer reports) is complete once a sales person is contacted and people in general are consuming content in a multitude of ways on various devices. However, the study could serve as an official stamp of approval for the auto industry to expand their digital marketing initiatives.
This was the first time in the 27-year history of the J.D. Power Report that digital media consumption habits, from search engine usage to social media activity, were even included (Hello Auto Industry! Meet Internet!) While their late-to-the-party efforts didn’t produce any Earth-shattering stats (93 percent of new-vehicle drivers still use a computer for Internet access, but 57 percent use mobile phones and 45 percent use tablets), to auto companies, it affirms the need to look beyond traditional medium to reach their prospective consumers.
One possible reason that it took so long to consider digital as part of the report is that car companies haven’t always aggressively targeted a younger demographic, assuming that older people are the ones making purchasing decisions. Thus, traditional marketing channels were the focus. Of course older people are using digital media just as much as the younger generation these days – 20 percent of those who said they used social media in the survey were 65 years or older.
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So what do these findings mean for car brands? Shifting gears to digital marketing is becoming more the norm. It’s happening already, according to eMarketer: “Automakers and dealers will spend $6.15 billion on US digital advertising in 2014, up 18.8 percent from the previous year. All told, substantial annual digital ad spending increases by the US automotive industry will continue for the foreseeable future.”
Hyundai’s “Walking Dead” Chop Shop
Social media campaigns, interactive website tools, hashtags, and viral video production are dominating marketing meeting agendas across the country across all industries, and cars are no different. As such, there has been some really innovative digital content including Hyundai’s “Walking Dead” Chop Shop, a zombie apocalypse car-building site, and the Jean Claude Van Damme “Epic Split” video from Volvo.
Auto industry marketers haven’t exactly been waiting around for validation from J.D. Power, but now that they have it, digital marketing efforts should continue to accelerate.
This article originally appeared on The NewsCred Blog and has been republished with permission.
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