Data Driven Marketing

How Auto Advertisers Can Target on a Deeper Level

How Auto Advertisers Can Target on a Deeper Level

February 05, 2014 | Jeff Sporn

For advertisers targeting auto buyers online, the challenge is to cut through the clutter and noise and drill down to pathways of opportunity. Advanced data that enables advertisers to serve relevant online advertising will enhance branding and drive direct response.

Enhancing core online data

Online advertising is largely based on cookie-based targeting, where data companies infer a consumer’s interests and intent based on pages that consumer has visited. That works well for online retail, but for major purchases like an automobile, this only goes half way to identifying an appropriate audience. Advertisers need to combine consumer data with browsing habits to identify consumers who are not only interested, but are also likely to be financially qualified car buyers.

That’s not to say that auto-intenders aren’t qualified to buy a car – they may simply not be qualified to buy the advertiser’s specific make and model. Those who aspire to buy an Audi sometimes settle for a Toyota. Other times, ad budgets can be eroded by teenage boys clicking to view muscle cars they can only dream of buying.

The goal of marketing is to put messages in front of consumers with characteristics that match actual buyers. Luxury automakers know, for instance, that their target buyers are often affluent and have significant income.  IXI Services, a division of Equifax, developed Auto Propensity Digital Targeting Segments that help advertisers target on a much deeper level, for example by identifying consumers likely to have an income of $200,000 or more and discretionary spending power of at least $50,000. Serving ads to consumers who exhibit interest as well as the financial capacity to buy a specific brand or auto type greatly enhances marketing efficiency. Other segments advertisers may want to drill-down to include:

  • Households likely to own or lease a domestic vehicle
  • Households likely to own or lease an import luxury vehicle
  • Households likely to own or lease an eco-friendly vehicle

If a campaign is driven through ad exchanges deploying real-time bidding technology, these types of segments can be used to trigger bids, ensuring advertisers eliminate wasted spend on unqualified consumers. The targeting occurs in real-time — seamlessly and without disturbing the user's browsing experience.

First the vehicle, then the loan

Auto loans represent another targeting segment. Advertisers can filter online users to a neighborhood level to serve ads to people who are likely to respond to an auto loan offer. Metrics may include:

  • Consumers whose auto lease may be expiring within the next six months and thus are likely to be in the market for a new leased vehicle
  • People who have purchased an automobile in the last 12 months
  • Attractive auto loan prospects based on likely financial profile and credit behaviors

IXI has developed these financial and demographic measures from a variety of data sources, including aggregated Equifax credit information, providing anonymous data that are ZIP+4 specific. That gives advertisers the ability to target likely high-income consumers or any of the other characteristics mentioned, without the use of any personally identifiable information.

Research counts

Just like today’s car buyers have become more sophisticated at researching their next car purchase, auto advertisers need to understand the available options to reach the best consumers for their brand and models.

Financial characteristics and car buying preferences are very hard to infer based on online behavior alone. Yet that hasn’t stopped several data companies from profiting off of targeting segments that they claim can reach these very-specific audience profiles. Advertisers should search for data that offers the ability to cross-reference — on an anonymous neighborhood level — household income, credit characteristics and spending trends with consumer buying behavior and product preferences. Targeting auto buyers online with advanced data delivers a marketing message that is relevant to the consumer and effective for the marketer.

Learn More about Digital Targeting Segments from Equifax here. 

Jeff Sporn

Jeff Sporn

Chief Digital Officer, Data-driven Marketing

Jeff Sporn guides the Digital vision and strategy for Data-driven Marketing services from Equifax, overseeing the development and proliferation of digital solutions. He has led the development of a best-in-class database that integrates Equifax marketing data into the digital ecosystem for use in optimizing display ad[...]