Automotive Digital Marketing

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Social Media is More Akin to Television than Search or Other Internet Marketing Forms

One of the biggest misunderstandings surrounding social media is that it's a distant cousin of search engine marketing or that it's goals are similar to other forms of internet marketing. This isn't quite true. There are definitely tie-ins; social media can help improve search rankings, it is a valid follow-up component to email marketing, and it can be used as a direct lead generator for certain products and services. However, real success on social media often comes down to knowing the frame of mind of the people on it and realizing that the messaging style is much more akin to television advertising than any of the traditional online marketing formats.


Think about it like this: when someone wants to buy a car, they go to the search engines. They might go to AutoTrader or Craigslist. They may just go straight to a dealership website. They don't think, "Let's turn on the television and hope we see an ad."


They also don't think, "Hmm, I need to get a new car. Let's see what Facebook has to say about that."


Just as dealers have learned that television advertising works even if you can't demonstrate a clear ROI, they're learning that social media marketing and advertising work as well. When people are in television or social media mode, they are in an entertainment frame of mind. They are not fearful. They are not worried. They are not concentrating. They are open to what the two different mediums are about to show them. Nobody wants to see commercials, but they watch them anyway if only passively. Nobody wants to see marketing messages on Facebook, but they see them anyway even if they don't like or comment on them.


Television and social media both help to keep the business branding and messaging in mind, even if it only registers at a subconscious level. If they are in the market for a vehicle at the time, they might react. If they aren't, that's okay. The brand is being presented. When it comes time to buy a car, their subconscious has an opportunity to move them towards the familiar. Both television and social media help businesses become part of the "subconscious familiar" brands when the time comes to act.


Here's a video I made several months ago that discusses the concept.

Views: 218

Tags: TV, digital, facebook, marketing, media, multimedia, social, social media, television, user generated content


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Comment by Alexander Lau on December 3, 2012 at 8:00am
Comment by Alexander Lau on November 29, 2012 at 12:09pm

Doug, I found your post to be very interesting. There's been a few articles on Big Data here as well:

Interesting, you mention Dataium, as a consulting group partner of ours mentioned their wares to us just yesterday. Very smart stuff, IMO.

From Dataium:

Data-based Decisions

“Big Data is the new definitive source of competitive advantage across all industries,”… “For those organizations that understand and embrace the new reality of Big Data, the possibilities for new innovation, improved agility, and increased profitability are nearly endless.” Forbes, 2/18/2012  Dataium’s Cloud Intelligence® (CI) Platform aggregates billions of behavioral events and consumer activity...

I'm a big believer in this concept and most dealers don't take this into consideration, except for the dealers that are forced to and come across it by dumb luck through their website provider who takes usability with conversions in mind into consideration.

Click Mapping – the aggregated visual display of every mouse click on a home page, leads to a better understanding of consumer interactions, frustration and opportunities. This visual display of mouse clicks results in improvements to page layout and design, and ultimately increased conversions.


Comment by Alexander Lau on November 26, 2012 at 7:17am

From most of my trusted resources, all the evidence does show that potential buyers do check out what a dealership has to offer via their social networks. I'm not sure how to absorb that data, are they looking for inventory, specials or to interact or judge a dealership based upon their social media integrity???


Been discussed here before, but custom targeting your customers via your CRM importation into Facebook, etc.


First Results Are In: Facebook’s New Custom Audience CRM Ads Increase Conversions And Lower Costs


I'm waiting for the day of 'Cost Per Action or CPA': Wishful thinking...!?

Comment by Doug Davis on November 25, 2012 at 7:13pm

I'm far from an expert on social media.  I'm old school and have yet to be convinced that social media is worth the amount of time and expense.  I firmly believe that nothing a dealership says is going to change the negative attitudes that the public has for car dealerships.  For me, all the customer wants to know is if the vehicle is available and what is the price.  

I think that the next big thing will be Big Data.  I'm interested to know what social media experts think when they see something like this:  Dataium, a consulting company that monitors online vehicle shopping behavior, found that of 20 million visitors to dealership Web sites, just 120 arrived there directly from a Facebook link. Of that microscopic number, only a handful left contact information to become sales leads, Dataium found.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on November 23, 2012 at 4:09pm

When I first watched and listened to JD explain his analogy showcasing the similarities between Social Media and Television Advertising for Car Dealers, I was intrigued and excited, and have been thinking about the points he made for several weeks now... I must say that I disagree with JD on a specific point he suggested, but which does not break the analogy.

When JD says that people do not go onto a social network (specifically Facebook) to research buying a car, I must interject and disagree... All the current research from multiple sources shows that people do, in fact, go onto social networks to get information related to selecting a vehicle and a dealer to buy it from... In fact, this practice continues to show up as the leading influence on vehicle buying decisions: "Recommendations from Friends", "Family Recommendations and Opinions" or other categories we have all seen show up as a form of "Word of Mouth" or "Friends and Family".  Where do you think people go to get those recommendations and guidance? Today, people overwhelmingly use social media and social networks...

This is what makes some of the targeting we see for displaying sponsored stories in Facebook, Video Pre-Roll on YouTube, Gmail Sponsored Listings and Twitter Sponsored Posts so effective; when people are having a conversation with their 150 closest friends, or exchanging emails with mom, dad, their uncle etc. about whether or not a Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Dodge or whatever brand of car is reliable or not, we have an opportunity to display a message alongside their conversation... Or, in the case of Facebook, right in the middle of it (news feed). 

Check out this video I uploaded awhile back from Toyota's Social Media Knowledge Center which effectively illustrates that car buyers are in fact using social networks and UGC media sites to help decide what car to buy and which dealer to buy it from:

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