While “connected car” advertising and commerce opportunities aren’t yet a mainstream reality, they promise to be a key piece of the show floor at CES this year. In 2020, brands should be preparing to future-proof themselves as connected technology becomes available in more vehicles.
Searches on mobile devices have surpassed desktop searches for several years now. Mobile device searchers are on-the-go, and marketers have realized the importance of maximizing their discoverability through location-based advertising and local SEO. Brands who have perfected their local marketing efforts for mobile will be poised well for integration into location-based advertising in car “infotainment” systems.
Brands with physical locations, in particular, stand to greatly benefit from connected car visibility given its promise to increase foot traffic to their locations. Here are three key considerations for these brands as we soon enter the era of connected car advertising opportunities:
Look to Local Data Distribution
While it remains to be seen which directories different connected car systems may use, it’s best practice for desktop, mobile and cars to ensure that your local data (address, hours, offerings, phone, reviews) are visible for all local data aggregators, directory sites and GPS data providers. This data must be continually audited for accuracy so that drivers can easily find or call store locations from their connected cars. Be sure to have a strategy in place to continually update and distribute your local data feeds to all relevant directories.
Optimize Your Organic Assets
Once local data has been updated, brands should look to optimize their assets and leverage SEO, conversion optimization and a streamlined process for ensuring that all location information (like store offers, images and hours) is up-to-date. Optimization will also aid in achieving top visibility in voice search in cars, which is critical, as the first voice search listing is often the only one consumers will hear. While many brands, especially in CPG and retail, are now optimizing for mobile and voice assistants like Alexa, brands must now think of “voice” well beyond these devices; more consumers will soon be talking to their cars, appliances, TVs, etc.
And, as consumer reviews weigh heavily on the local ecosystem, brands should have a sentiment analysis and reputation management strategy in place. This includes encouraging customers to write product reviews, flagging negative reviews and reaching out to customers who have issues.
Seek Out Paid Media Opportunities
First, there were location-based ads through navigation technologies like Waze. Now other technology providers have, on their product roadmaps, in-car advertising platforms that integrate location-based advertising directly into vehicles, in a driver-safe fashion. These voice-enabled ads can be based on driver proximity-to-store, featuring local promotions or reviews. Data from connected cars, of course with respect to drivers’ privacy, can provide a rich targeting opportunity for advertisers. While in-car advertising platforms make safety a top concern, autonomous vehicles many featured at CES will also become more common over the years, only accelerating this type of advertising.
The connected car opportunity will soon be ripe for brands to drive more consumers into their stores. While many people in the industry are focused on new, shiny tech and the changing driver experience, it’s important to get the fundamentals – location data and assets -- in order first, to build the foundation for a truly seamless future consumer experience, from car to store.