ATLANTA – PureCars, a provider of digital marketing and advertising insights for automotive dealers, released results of as recent auto dealer survey that shows how dealers’ digital advertising strategies have shifted since COVID-19, as well as their plans for advertising strategies for the remainder of the year.
The dealers surveyed confirmed what we're already seeing, which is a boost in digital advertising plans for the balance of year and into 2021.
PureCars commissioned the online survey in August and collected responses from nearly 200 dealership executives throughout the U.S. Compared with advertising spending levels on June 1, the majority of dealers (33% of respondents) said their balance-of-year digital advertising spending will be up more than 10%. Twenty-one percent of total dealers said they plan to spend more than 15% of their June 1 levels.
For the remainder of the year, 82% of dealers said they would rely heavily on social media advertising (Facebook, Instagram). Sixty-two percent said they would utilize direct marketing channels, and 61% said they would use SEO/search marketing efforts to reach customers.
Interestingly enough, traditional broadcast media represented the lowest percentage (33%), followed by traditional print media (37%), and traditional media signage/billboard (38%). Connected TV was mentioned by 48% of dealership executives as a channel for reaching customers.
In addition to where and how dealers will spend their advertising budgets, PureCars also asked about which messages dealers will promote in front of customers. Not surprisingly, eighty-three percent of dealers said they will leverage COVID-19 cleanliness messages, followed by Digital Retail/contactless (67%). What was more surprising to see was that they are choosing to promote payment over price, with F&I options (67%), followed by great offers (64%), and trade-ins (63%).
“It goes without saying that dealership advertising patterns were most disrupted in the spring, following the initial outbreak of COVID-19, but dealers quickly regrouped and we've seen a steady rebound through summer and into fall,” said Jeremy Anspach, CEO of PureCars. “The dealers surveyed confirmed what we're already seeing, which is a boost in digital advertising plans for the balance of year and into 2021. We've seen dealers invest in channels and tactics they never considered as critical prior to 2020. These unprecedented times have forced dealers to rethink their digital advertising and sales strategies, inspiring more creative approaches to solving tactical, as well as operational challenges that have yielded impressive results -- benefiting both dealers and consumers."