Auto Brands: Holiday Marketing Best Practices

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Stocking stuffers aren’t the only things on consumers’ purchase lists this holiday season—auto marketers should also be gearing up to capitalize on consumers looking for cars, car accessories, or other related products.

Whether you’re looking to increase brand awareness or drive visits to your dealership, you’ll need to be reaching consumers online.

According to the NRF, over half of respondents, 55%, plan to do their holiday shopping at least partially online—but it’s an extremely competitive game this time of year.

This holiday season, we’ve taken a deep dive into the planning and executing on digital marketing campaigns for the auto industry. Check out our data on targeting tactics and creatives.

Download the Ultimate Holiday Marketing Playbook

Building the best auto ads is a matter of showcasing luxury vehicles and including car snacks.

For video campaigns, focus on specific actions, whereas for sponsored content and social media ads, showcasing the cars and including food in your images drive performance in the auto industry.

Video campaigns: keep your subjects moving.

Physical activity drives the best performance from video branding campaigns. For auto marketers, keep your subjects in your videos moving (perhaps racing) for the most engagement.

We analyzed the top 2,000 video campaigns on the open web based on two key metrics—viewability and completion rate. We mapped actions in three categories to see where the highest opportunity for finance marketers is this holiday season: physical activity, vocal activity and general activity.

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Going beyond the creative, here’s how auto videos can stand out this holiday season:

  • Keep your videos between 15 seconds and 1 minute long
  • Include your logo on-screen for better brand recall
  • Include subtitles if needed to optimize for sound-off
  • Include and overlay for better CTR
  • …Or an end card to drive traffic from people who have finished your video
  • Finally, Test three video creatives for the best optimization

Sponsored content: images without people and images with food perform best for the auto industry.

The images that drive the highest click-through-rate (CTR) for auto brands this holiday season include food and don’t include people. Also, make sure you’re using real photos as opposed to illustrations.

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We also analyzed the top keywords to use in your sponsored content headlines and creatives. Keywords like, “value,” “quiz,” and “local” can increase CTR by up to 129%.

Download the Ultimate Holiday Marketing Playbook

Targeting: consumers want auto content on Tuesdays, and other insights.

After you’ve built the most enticing creative possible, you’ll need to focus on meeting consumers at the best time while they’re shopping online.

We took a look at several targeting parameters to pinpoint exactly when and where auto marketers can meet consumers online holiday season.

Opportunity is defined at the intersection of supply and demand. We define supply as the amount marketers are spending to promote content and products, and demand as the CTR on that content.

Here’s what we found:

You’re most likely to reach auto consumers on Tuesdays.

The New Year and Spring should be a big focus for the auto industry.

Some final tips—try testing campaigns specifically for tablet devices, as well as promoting landing pages that host photo galleries. We see high opportunity for these device and landing page types.

Finally, we’ll leave you with a little inspiration.

These brands have found success with their creative advertising campaigns on the open web—this major US auto brand saw success with their video campaigns on the open web.

They drove over 10,000 test drive sign-ups with the combination of video, and retargeting with sponsored content.

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As you test out different targeting and creative tactics for the holidays, keep in mind that refreshing your creatives will help you fight audience fatigue, as well as help you optimize.

The holiday season is a time for sharing, giving, and fun, which is exactly what you should be aiming for with your holiday campaigns—give customers and fans the chance to be a part of the action.

Download the Ultimate Holiday Marketing Playbook