Marketing Hummers has become a tad difficult recently. The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate nearly doubled between the summers of 2007 and 2008 and automotive media budgets decreased more than 11 percent between the first halves of 2007 and 2008, marking 12 consecutive quarters of declining ad spending in this category.
In this environment high CPMs aren’t going to cut it. Media buyers need to be aware of the most-efficient ways to target desired customer segments. Toward that end, here are a few tactics that can help automotive marketers stretch their digital media dollars and drive ROI.
Ad exchanges connect web publishers with inventory to sell with online advertising buyers.
Tap into advertising exchanges
Think of advertising exchanges as stock exchanges that trade banners instead of equities. Exchanges offer advertisers the opportunity to tap into an efficient marketplace that matches publishers selling display inventory with buyers. The two largest exchanges, Yahoo’s Right Media Exchange and DoubleClick’s Advertising Exchange, allow advertisers to directly access the inventory of thousands of websites and achieve massive reach that rivals the largest advertising networks.
Advertisers can cut their direct-response media costs by utilizing exchanges because these services cut out the middle men – advertising networks – by matching sellers directly with buyers. Furthermore, unlike networks, exchanges don’t charge incremental fees for advanced contextual, geographic, behavioral or demographic targeting because the price of any impression is always dictated by the exchange marketplace.
For example, an Avenue A | Razorfish hotel client that utilizes behavioral targeting heavily with networks has successfully used exchanges to get more bang for its buck. Earlier this year the advertiser paid a $4 CPM for behavioral targeting on networks and a $1.50 CPM for the same targeting using Yahoo’s Right Media exchange.
Utilize behavioral search retargeting
Search behaviors are incredibly valuable because they are one of the best predictors of a consumer’s future purchase intent. They are the primary reason that Google has a market capitalization of $120 billion dollars.
Despite the success of search marketing, it’s been difficult for display advertisers to directly tap into the power of search behaviors until recently. Search retargeting helps advertisers reach the majority of consumers who visit a site but leave without converting. It works like this:
- First, search engines drop cookies on users that make queries specified by the advertiser, e.g. “new sedan” or “Ford truck”;
- Second, the search engine serves relevant banners to the cookied user when he or she wanders into the engine’s network.
Search retargeting is cost efficient because advertisers only pay very low, advertising network CPMs (usually around $4). Furthermore, they can help advertisers combat the steady upward trajectory of search marketing CPCs.
You are probably thinking that these tactics sound too good to be true and you would be right. All of this efficiency comes with a big price: the quality of the inventory isn’t great and can often be pretty terrible. Search retargeting requires the use of an advertising network whose inventory is typically made up of unsold, remnant inventory from a handful of well-known publishers and the long-tail of the Internet.
Another drawback is that you won’t know where your advertising will appear. It might show up on NYTimes.com or it could appear on Bob’s Anti-SUV blog. Advertising exchanges have similar inventory-quality issues, but offer the advertiser more control over where the creative message appears.
Regardless, if you need to improve your ROI these tactics should help. Tough times are going to require marketers to roll up their sleeves and risk getting their hands a little dirty.
- Top 10 Advertising Categories: Jan-June 2008 vs. Jan-June 2007; TNS Media Intelligence via marketingcharts.com, 09.24.08
Advertising exchange image appears courtesy of DoubleClick.