Most car dealerships know they can benefit from better audience targeting in their dealership marketing and advertising campaigns. At the same time, automotive audience targeting can be incredibly complex. And dealers (as well as their marketing or internet marketing staff) are super busy people. 


It can be hard to take time to dive deep into detailed audience analysis, when your focus is on day to day operations or keeping the sales team motivated. 


Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when exploring automotive audience targeting for your dealership marketing campaigns: 


1. Know Your Data 

You likely have access to quite a bit about your standing in the market and even how you compare to other same brand dealerships in your market. If you have the ability to take a look at the full competitive landscape with market share data across brand, take some time to dig into trends across vehicle segments, geographies and more. You will start to see a story behind the data, which can help you understand your best opportunities to drive more sales with more targeted automotive audience targeting. 


When you have a roadmap of how to make an impact in your market, the next step is reaching the right prospects. Automotive audience targeting based on simple demographics like age and gender had its day when only traditional media dominated, and broad reach was the focus. However, now you can leverage richer individual and household data, including media habits, lifestyle characteristics and even shopping intent.  


All of this can give you both a fuller picture of who your best customers are, and the ability to target look-a-likes in your marketing campaigns with a great deal of accuracy. By being more accurate you can reach the right audience for your automotive marketing campaigns and be more efficient for much better marketing ROI. 


2. Know Your Customers 

When you understand both the opportunity and the audience, that is audience targeting gold. So, inform your automotive audience targeting by really knowing what’s going on with your current customers


Apply data insights to your current customer database, and you can also form a picture of prospects for more effective automotive audience targeting. This picture becomes even more clear when you layer in auto intelligence based on a full understanding of your dealership’s market share and opportunities to meet specific demand in your own backyard. 


Additionally, customer insights can provide direction for what you need to do in order to drive business growth through customer retention or identifying unmet customer needs. You may have been focusing primarily on sales because of OEM and economic pressures, but also have untapped opportunities to promote reliable, trustworthy vehicle service to existing or potential customers. 


3. Know Your Options 

When you have a clear picture of your ideal audience segment, you will need to consider audience targeting options and how they coincide with different digital ad formats and platforms. Audience targeting criteria will vary from one social media network to another, as well as one content publisher to another, and even on demand side ad networks. 


Data privacy is king now, however anonymized data can still provide safe yet useful audience targeting. Automotive audience targeting in 2019 is all about becoming even more focused on the right audience to reach for your specific campaign message. It’s a whole lot to wade through, but in the end can help make your dealership advertising campaigns more efficient and more effective. 


4. Know Your Effective Reach 

Even though a dozen criteria might best match your ideal audience, believe it or not, the resulting audience size and/or deliverable impressions may be too small. You’ll want to compare different mixes of criteria, so you can land on the right balance. 


Don’t worry about getting it exactly right the first time. You can optimize audience targeting selects through testing and refining. 


This also illustrates an important point. While it’s incredibly important as a car dealership to protect your own backyard, you also need to take a look at your market share trends over time, as well as those of your competitors. Your inventory mix may be a perfect match to meet an untapped opportunity in zip codes outside of your assigned sales area.  


So be careful when looking at automotive audience targeting to not limit yourself too much by geography if the end goal is to meet a need that fits customers outside of your immediate area. 


5. Know How to Optimize 

If you take the time to test audience targeting criteria and make adjustments over time, you can identify not only which audience targeting criteria performs best for your dealership marketing campaigns, but also which creative, message or call to action works best. Again, over time is key, as it is best not to test too many variables at once in a marketing or advertising campaign. 


Advertising campaign optimization can help you create more efficient marketing by revealing what works. Additionally, learnings here can help you optimize your organic marketing campaigns (and vice versa). Talk about efficient automotive marketing informed by insights. And efficiency will in the end save time. 


The big automotive audience targeting message is to understand available data and know your options on how to use and optimize that data for more effective and efficient dealership marketing and advertising campaigns. Whether you have in-house marketing staff or you work with a trusted automotive marketing partner, remembering insights power more effective marketing will keep you on the path to success. 


Contact us to get a free Dealer Scorecard analysis to uncover your path. 


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