Audience intelligence has emerged as the next significant trend in digital automotive marketing.
It offers a glimpse into the future of how we, as marketers and retailers, stand to reach and engage with automotive consumers on a deeper and more meaningful level. This segment of marketing uses artificial intelligence to analyze large swaths of behavioral and contextual signals to present the right offer at the right time to the right person.
Today, most automotive dealers know very little about users visiting their websites, and the majority of dealers display the same messaging to every single user who visits their site. Dealers can only hope and guess that the offers presented on their home-page are relevant. However, with big data, machine learning, and audience management, dealers will be able to provide a more relevant user experience.
The best platform – and the way the industry is headed when it comes to technology – pinpoints specific consumer characteristics that are influential in the car buying process to optimize ad spend for dealers, and to make car research and buying easier for consumers.
Imagine concentrating your ad spend where it matters – on the people about to purchase a car in the next two weeks. Now imagine that you know about their current vehicle, the status of their loan or lease, what dealership they used in the past, what vehicle they will likely purchase, what features they want, and what upgrades or service plans they find valuable.
Even further, imagine you could customize your ad message at scale to these users just as they are making final preparations to buy. You’ll be in front of them across all of their digital activities with the right message at the right time. This powerful messaging enables you to engage with consumers when it comes time to purchase.
For example, you may not want to advertise aggressively to users who are only halfway through their car lease. These consumers are outside an immediate purchase window and are likely only researching their available car options. OEMs may strategically message these users to pique their interest and increase engagement, but the core messaging to this group should be drastically different when these consumers are nearing the end of their leases.
A more sophisticated example is using website interactions to generate a custom experience. Suppose a potential car buyer researches different sedans at your website but isn’t ready to buy yet. Months later, when they are ready to buy, consider the possibilities of advertising your latest sedans and generating a custom experience for the user when they revisit your website by displaying the exact vehicles they researched before, in addition to your latest models.
Platforms that exist in the near future will tackle more complex situations and will ingest other signals beyond first party website data. They’ll be able to identify the perfect audience to target and the perfect message to use regardless of whether or not the potential customer is familiar with a specific dealer or OEM. This is a much more efficient pathway to purchase and offers exponentially better ROI than a mass target campaign.
The bottom line is simply this: Behind every website click is a person. Knowing what that person wants and when they want it is critical to delivering the best advertisement at the best time – and delivering that person to the dealership at the right time.
This is the very real potential audience intelligence brings. The dealers and OEMs that leverage this data will be poised to significantly expand sales and marketing opportunities while creating a better car buying experience for consumers in the process. Imagine the possibilities!
Billy Ferriolo is Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer of AutoWeb, Inc. AutoWeb offers the automotive industry a full suite of high-quality new and used car leads and advertising services, including AutoWeb Traffic, TextShield, SaleMove, and Payment Pro. For more information, visit dealer.autobytel.com.