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We have used a few Behavioral Targeting networks with mixed results.

Anyone (vendors & dealers) find one network they swear by in regards to results?

Any specific averages in regards to CTR would help.

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Hi Terrence,

Your reference to behavorial targetting is music to my ears since I am often the one in my organization that has to fight for the funds or focus to use the science of behavioral targeting studies and networks to prove out an automotive advertising campaign before we ask our customers to -- and before we write the check to deliver the wrong message to the wrong people. I face similar challenges when determining the position point for a vendor client or when defining barriers to entry and the other formative decisions that go into launching a new platform or application.

I am curious to know the context of your needs so that I can suggest appropriate resources. Is it a product or a service that you are marketing and/or is it to sell cars in the retail sector or possibly a vendor solution to the O.E.M.s and/or select channel partners?

If you could expand on the details, and perhaps list the resources that you have used, I would be happy to provide my experience, opinion and insights from past successes -- and most valued -- past failures!

After all, what are friends -- and ADM -- for!
Thanks Phil and David.

We act as the agency for our larger dealer groups. So we consult, build creatives and place the buy. The network we use currently has Behavioral and Retargeting technologies. They also have Ford as their biggest advertiser, and have automotive experience, so we went with them. I'm not sure I'm seeing the types of CTR that you would expect from Behavioral. I've seen better CTR in fact with our tests on the Google Ad Network.
Sorry To Butt In But,

If you wouldn't mind sharing your experiences in the Automotive Retail sector Phil I would be extremely attracted to hearing them. I myself have been talking up behavioral targeting and trying to put a plan together to commence this type of advertising.

Sure Dave -- happy to share,

I have often had access to Tier II and Tier I marketing studies which fell short of the retail messaging needs of my own dealerships and now those of my auto dealer clients. Of course human nature is a constant in all studies, however building branding and top of the mind awareness messages differ greatly from the more urgent time lines and targeted audience needed for Tier III. Combine that observation with the changing dynamics presented by our new consumer driven world of the Internet shopper that is becoming more focused on social media than conventional radio, TV and print and the answer to your questions warrants a different post since I don't want to hijack Terrence's question.

I am about to go on air so I will think about your question and perhaps start another post -- or, feel free to contact me directly at 561-962-2738 or at and I will share some best practices culled from previous studies and experiences.

After all, what are firends -- and ADM for.
I was going through some old non-categorized ADM Forum posts and came across this one... Just had to comment on it because the question actually addresses an issue that effects virtually all marketing efforts and campaigns used by dealerships. In regards to Behavioral Targeting", as a dealer, GM or Marketing professional you really need to get a grip on what it is and understand the difference compared to other channels. For example, when you list your inventory on a 3rd party site like Autotrader or, you are presenting your inventory to people who came to that site specifically for the purpose of finding what is in local dealer inventory... This is easy, get your cars listed and make sure the ads, photos and descriptions look appealing. We all know that and most of us know that the work you put into making this listings appealing will pay off, because of who is going to these sites and why they are there...

Now, compare that to Behavioral Targeting... With NT what you are buying is advertising space on hundreds of popular websites, but your ad will only appear when a visitor to that page has cookies listed in their browser's cache that indicate they have been to websites prior to their arrival on the current page, that indicate they are in the market for a vehicle... Now, pause for a moment and think about that... When BT works the way it should, the visitor to the page your ad appears on is known to be somewhere in the vehcile purchase funnel. They could be just checking out some new models and maybe in the market to actually buy several months from now, or they could be checking their email to see if the price quotes they requested earlier that day from a competing dealer have been received yet. ALSO, they are on a web page that has nothing to do with buying a car! Whatever that page is that your BT ad appears on, it is a website that has nothing to do with buying cars... Otherwise, you would have been placing your ad into an automotive network or a contextual placement network. With BT, the dealer is buying ad space on NON-AUTOMOTIVE Sites, but only paying when a car buyer sees the ad!!! Get it?

So... What does that mean? It means that whatever advertising you place using a BT network has got to be compelling enough to get a car buyer's attention when they are visiting websites NOT directly related to their vehicle purchasing process. This can be very powerful when used appropriately. You as the dealer are purchasing an opportunity to place an ad in front of a car buyer, an "Automotive Intender" that may have not even considered your dealership, or the brands of vehicles you sell. Yes, if you are a true car guy, like me, who lives, eats and breathes this stuff... This really is an opportunity to create a conquest sale and attract a buyer in what some would call a "Pure Incremental" business opportunity.

However, like all incremental and conquest business, it is not as easy as getting that "Laydown" up on the lot... You gotta work at it. Strategies for BT campaigns that have been proven successful include "Story Boarding" which presents a series of ads to people in the market for a car in a sequential manner in order to convey a thought process, message or idea that seems to the customer as if it were their own original thought... Think the recent movie called "Inception" and that is sort of what a Story Boarding ad campaign using Behavioral Targeting can accomplish at its best...

There are other opportunities, of course... One of my favorites is when you are trying to capture "Top Of Mind Awareness" or TOMA in a market for your dealership. Elsewhere on ADM I have pointed out that TOMA is the only form of Marketing Campaign achievement to rival "Word Of Mouth" in impact and ability to drive showroom traffic. TOMA campaigns are a natural for BT... Especially since with BT a dealer has the ability to reach a buyer who does not yet know the dealership exists or has not considered your dealership, but is known to be somewhere in the vehicle purchase funnel. I have had success with BT Ad campaigns by using a series of customer quotes from a dealer's customer testimonials and reviews. Of course, the idea here is to get a high enough frequency to achieve Top Of Mind Awareness... What is TOMA? Quite simply, if when a customer thinks about buying or servicing a vehicle, they think about your dealership, then you have achieved TOMA for that individual consumer.

Quickly... When I say "Shopping for a Car" what dealership is the first one you think about? The answer is the store that has achieved TOMA with the person responding to that question.

So, what is BT not good at and which will sorely disappoint a dealer if they try to use BT for this objective? First and foremost... Click Through Rate or CTR. You may get a few people clicking on your BT ad placements, but I personally doubt those clicks are of any value. Again, THINK ABOUT WHAT BT IS AND YOU WILL UNDERSTAND WHY CTR IS NOT THE RIGHT OBJECTIVE! These are ads appearing on non-auto related websites in front of actual automotive consumers who are in the market... Who clicks on those ads? The flakes and mooches that are not qualified and you cannot get financed! The REAL car buyers will look at your BT ads and absorb the messaging, but take action outside of the website your BT ad appeared on... Why? Because the best car buying customers are not so flakey as to visit a website to check their current investment market prices and then say "Oh looky there, a hot deal on a new BMW, I'll drop everything I am doing and click on it to leave my investment portfolio..." But, you know who does... The flakes!

The reality of BT means that dealers have an oportunity to reach actual car buyers they otherwise could not, but the message has to be the power behind the ad, not the click-through. BT advertising campaigns can drive traffic through organic branded searches for the dealership using BT advertising, and also generate a lot of walk-in and phone traffic... But, do not make the mistake of buying BT ad space on a network for the purpose of generating clicks... That would be best left to Search Advertising and Contextual Targeted Display Ads... As well as some Social Media Advertising, such as Facebiook PPC.
@ Terrance, behavioral targeting effectiveness has always been left in a haze of total display advertising for me... I like that you are isolating it and expecting verifiable results. Specific Media offered some exclusivity (reputation management) at that time but now I believe Google Ad Network lets you get very specific. Note: if your utilizing cookie placement technology, it may frustrate / alienate potential clients depending on their browsers / spyware. Good Selling! DTG


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