Cox Automotive, which owns auto research, comparison and sales sites Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, is offering advertisers new capabilities for audience extension via social media, using data gleaned from the sites, the publisher announced on Tuesday.
The new social-media audience extension capabilities are part of a larger push to offer a broader, more sophisticated array of digital marketing services for big auto advertisers, including regional sales associations.
The new program uses anonymous behavioral data gathered from Autotrader and Kelly Blue Book’s KBB.com to help advertisers target likely car buyers on Facebook and Instagram. According to Cox, the system analyzes browsing behavior on the automotive comparison sites in real time to target prospects, going beyond more commonly used but less precise criteria, like past auto purchase decisions.
The service is tailored for OEM advertising clients, as well as regional ad sales associations leveraging social media, offering multiple audience segments, additional targeting by location, demographic and interests. It also provides a range of creative options and campaign objectives supplied by Facebook and Instagram.
Cox Auto claims that around three quarters of all U.S. car shoppers visit Autotrader or KBB.com before making a purchase decision.
A growing number of consumers turn to a combination of auto information sites and social media when researching potential car purchases, according to a study from J.D. Power. Among new car buyers who use the Internet to research potential automotive purchases, the proportion using social media to gather information increased from 16% in 2015 to 22% in 2016, the J.D. Power survey found.
More than nine out of 10 new car buyers visit at least one carmaker’s site during the research process, while 84% visit dealer sites and 79% third-party sites, like Edmunds or KBB. On that note, the average new car shopper visits four manufacturer Web sites, three third-party site, and three dealership sites.
J.D. Power vice president for automotive retail Mike Battaglia explained: “Social-media platforms aren’t as useful as automotive shopping websites for automotive information, but they do serve the needs of consumers for unbiased dealer reviews, affirmations from other vehicle owners, accessing automotive-related videos and exchanging ideas and opinions with friends and family members.”