Many factors influence shoppers’ auto purchase decisions. One of those factors is media. The platform, as well as who it targets and on what device, can greatly impact a shoppers’ actions.
Vehicle Shoppers Come in Two Major Categories
According to data recently shared by Nielsen, 18 percent of adults in the United States plan to lease or purchase a vehicle in the next 12 months. This is one of the most significant purchases people make, and involves several decisions.
Nielsen has identified two major categories on the spectrum of people planning to buy vehicles: “Decideds” and “Undecideds.” In a recent Southern California study of both segments, Nielsen found significant differences between Decideds and Undecideds, even when they’re as geographically close as Los Angeles and San Diego. Those differences include things like time spent in the market and how media impacts the process.
For example, decided buyers in L.A. are between 37 and 51, while the city’s undecided buyers are generally between 20 and 36. Decided buyers are split fairly evenly between males and females, but undecided buyers are more likely to be female. They’re also more likely to be Hispanic. Decided buyers have higher incomes and larger families than undecided buyers.
In San Diego, however, decided buyers tend to be Millennials or members of Generation Z, live in larger households and are relatively ethnically diverse. Undecided buyers in San Diego resemble decided L.A. buyers with an even male-female split, by earning incomes nearing $100,000 and by being older and married.
Then again, in both cities, decided buyers make their purchase decisions more quickly, often within a week. They are also confident about the vehicles they choose. Undecided buyers often take between one and three months to make their decision, and visit multiple dealerships in the process.
Media Impacts the Decision-Making Process of a Vehicle Purchase
Advertisements for vehicles, no matter what medium they’re on, do drive action when it comes to car shopping, according to Nielsen’s study of Los Angeles auto shoppers. Visiting a local dealership was the most common action taken after seeing a television ad, billboard, piece of direct mail or newspaper ad. Radio ads tend to drive visits to the manufacturer’s website instead.
Looking back at “decideds” and “undecideds” in L.A., we see that undecided vehicle shoppers use media differently than decided vehicle shoppers. Undecideds are more likely to consume traditional media like television, billboards, radio, newspapers and direct mail when making their decisions. Decideds are more likely to use digital media to look at local dealership and auto manufacturer websites.
Thinking locally is a large part of successful auto advertising. Shoppers’ habits differ from region to region, and advertisers need to understand how they move through the process of selecting and buying a vehicle in order to create effective strategies. When cities as close as San Diego and L.A. can show such different car shopping habits of its residents, we get a sense of how varied and diverse the market is on a national level.
Further, advertisers need to approach undecided and decided shoppers differently in any location. They do not look the same demographically, and don’t use the same platforms when considering a vehicle purchase, which should significantly alter any ad campaign.
Reaching Your Ideal Auto Shoppers
Where to begin when you’re trying to connect with local vehicle shoppers? We’ve gathered some ideas and tips for advertisers who are ready to enhance their strategies.
Facebook offers specific ad programs for auto sellers, helping them guide shoppers through the process and to a purchase. The goal is to accelerate the various aspects of the journey, from brand favorability to service bay visits. Because shoppers are their real selves on Facebook, advertisers can target with confidence.
Ad Agency Graham Oleson has a list of advertising ideas that could increase car sales, including:
- Ads on Facebook and other social platforms
- Giveaways of cash, auto services or discounts
- Events that draw people to the lot and encourage relationships
- Interactions with non-competing local business or charities
- Customer testimonials to improve your Google ranking
- Slogans that are well-developed for brand building
- Mobile ads to reach those shopping on their phones
We’ve delved into the topic of vehicle advertising before. In May, we explored driving auto ROI with digital advertising, and using tools like YouTube and the Store Visits feature.Then in July, we looked at a comScore report for digital advertisers. We discussed how the internet has changed how people shop for cars and capturing your mobile audience.
Finally, in August, we focused on advertising for small vehicle marketers, and how to think creatively to compete with SUV advertisers.
No two vehicle shoppers are just the same, especially if they’re in different cities. Approach your local potential buyers with a mind to whether they’ve decided on a car or not, and make the most of their preferred platforms.