Automakers Win Super Bowl At Dealer Web Sites

While it is tough to find the right biometric for auto brand marketing, digital traffic to down-funnel locations is a good one. Those numbers are especially critical when the spend is a Hail Mary pass on the Super Bowl. Several third-party sites have numbers, and they show some strong results year-over-year.

Cox Automotive’s finds that across its network, Web site visits per dealer on Super Bowl Sunday 2016 for the entire day was  4.1 times higher than any other Sunday of the year in 2015. Last year’s game drove a 3.9 multiplier for traffic on the network.

The brands that saw the greatest lift in Super Bowl Sunday dealer site traffic versus the average traffic of all Sundays last year were  Hyundai, up 68%; VW, up 68%; GMC, up 63%; Nissan, up 58%; and Toyota, which saw a 57% increase versus 2015. The five brands that reported an increase in dealer site impact during this year’s game versus last years’ were Volvo and Ford, which reported a 5% increase; Audi with a 4% increase; Honda with a 3% increase and Infiniti with a 3% lift.


advertisement said dealer sites saw a 4.8-times increase in dealer Web site vehicle destination page (VDP) views during the Super Bowl versus to an average Sunday evening last year. James Grace, director of analytics, tells Marketing Daily that to be clear, is not looking at the OEM site, but the dealer network that powers. “It’s sort of well known that the OEM sites get a lot of traffic during Super Bowl, so it is interesting that so much filters down to individual dealer."

He also points out that on an average Sunday evening, 42% of access to dealer Web sites is via mobile device, including phones and tablets. “During Super Bowl 50, it was 57%, certainly a significant percentage.” Thirty-nine percent of that lift was between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern.

It is also interesting to see which vehicles filter down. In most cases, it was not the vehicle that automakers advertised during the game, and in most cases it isn’t even the brand that saw the most lift. Grace says the top five cars were, in descending order, Honda Accord (Honda advertised its new Ridgeline pickup during the game); Toyota Corolla (Toyota advertised Prius); Chrysler 200 (didn’t advertise; sibling Jeep did); Chevy Malibu (no ads); and Toyota Sienna.   

Grace points out that a vehicle like the Honda Ridgeline may drive consumers to Honda’s consumer site for a closer look, but they may end up shopping a Civic, or, in this case, the Accord. “These are VDPs, so if someone goes to an OEM site to look at the Bolt, when they shop they may decide they may want Malibu.” And that is probably what the automaker wants, too.

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