Automakers that increased TV ad spending in the fourth quarter of 2017 saw a statistically significant boost in digital key performance indicators (KPIs), including unique visitors and search.
According to a new report from the Video Advertising Bureau that examined 25 domestic and foreign automotive brands, 19 brands had a positive or negative correlation between TV ad spend and website traffic, with only six brands not having a clear correlation.
Of the 19 brands that had a correlation, 11 increased their TV ad spend year over year by an average of 15%, and saw website unique visitors rise by 48% on average. The other eight advertisers reduced their TV ad spend by an average of 15%, and saw their website unique visitors decline by an average of 28%.
That correlation continued when TV ad spend was compared to search queries. The VAB report found that the more automakers increased their TV ad spend, the more consumers searched online for more information about them.
As an example, Toyota increased TV ad spend by 10%, and saw its search queries increase by 31%. Land Rover meanwhile raised its TV ad spend by 45%, and saw its search queries rise by 170% year over year.
The report found similar results among automakers that reduced their TV ad spend, with search queries falling accordingly.
The correlation between TV ad spend and KPIs continued when the VAB examined “social chatter” around automotive brands, with auto brands that increased TV spending seeing social engagements rise.
The VAB report is meant to underscore how TV and digital advertising complement one another just as much as they compete with one another. While many marketers are shifting ad dollars to digital, the VAB’s data suggests that those digital dollars could be made more effective when paired with a TV campaign.