Why Auto Dealers are Turning to Streaming TV Advertising for Measurable Impact

Author: Peter Jones, Head of Local Sales, PREMION


The pandemic has transformed the car buying experience as auto brands and dealers have accelerated their investment in digital capabilities to offer virtual car-buying tools and contactless home delivery options in response to new consumer behaviors. Car buyers can now browse, purchase and complete the entire transaction digitally and have their car delivered without ever visiting a dealership. According to Wards Intelligence, automotive dealers believe digital will account for more than half their sales in three years.


With more consumers embracing car ownership as the safe mode of transportation amid health and safety concerns, the automotive industry is expected to see a significant rebound this year. In fact, Truecar projects that there will be 16 million new U.S. vehicle sales for 2021 and Cars.com research found that 85% of shoppers plan to purchase a car in the next six months, with 51% planning to buy in the next month. To leverage the growing car ownership trend, dealers are further bolstering their omnichannel strategies to offer a seamless car buying experience, whether consumers opt to shop online, in store or both.


In parallel, automotive marketers have been among early adopters of streaming TV advertising, which has quickly evolved as a priority customer acquisition and performance marketing channel. With skyrocketing growth in CTV viewing during the pandemic, it’s now the ubiquitous form of TV viewing. According to IAS, almost nine in 10 consumers have access to a CTV device and eMarketer projects U.S. CTV advertising will soar to $11.36 billion in 2021 and $14.11 billion in 2022.


More importantly, auto intenders—consumers who plan to buy or lease a new car—are the lifeblood of the car industry and they now make up a large swath of OTT viewers. According to a recent MRI-Simmons study, 94% of OTT viewers own or lease a vehicle and 89% of people planning to purchase a car in the next six months are OTT viewers. The ability to target audiences by location and interests, such as auto intenders, combined with new attribution capabilities, makes streaming TV advertising invaluable for auto advertisers.


For instance, with CTV attribution, an auto dealer can measure how many viewers visited a dealership, a dealer website or even purchased a car after viewing an ad, which is incredibly powerful for proving the efficacy of campaign spending. Today, website attribution measurement can be done through placing a tag on a client’s website to track how many viewers that were served an ad subsequently went to their website. For footfall attribution, there are third-party vendors that measure when customers walk into a store. This data is then connected to ad exposure to measure conversion rates of OTT viewers to in-store visits.


In our recent attribution study of over 100 automotive campaigns across 17 markets, we saw flights with an average of 1 million impressions drove over 17K website visits and nearly 900 dealership visits. We estimate that these dealers saw an average 6:1 ROI for cars sold.


Automotive marketers need a trusted CTV/OTT advertising partner to reach auto intenders at the household-level, track conversion, and reduce wasted impressions. Premion is a proven partner in driving measurable outcomes for many automotive brands. We run a multitude of campaigns for local, regional, and national dealers. Interested in diving deeper? Let’s have a conversation.

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