Data Driven Marketing

How to Reach an Ideal Auto Buyer Audience

How to Reach an Ideal Auto Buyer Audience

June 24, 2020 | John Stremel

Take Note of Positive Trends

Marketers are having to pivot on a dime as companies cut budgets or redirect spending for sports and event marketing, experiential, out of home and other media. As a result, they've had to change their messaging, creative and channels -- and learn new ways to reach an ideal auto buyer audience.

Even though the world still sees economic challenges, there are emerging trends and positive signals in automotive that give us all hope. One trend in particular stands out: the rising interest in personal car ownership. Consumers have become wary of using public transportation, taxis and ride-sharing services due to health concerns and the need for social distancing. According to the Wall Street Journal, “some car makers say new car sales in China… are driven in part by new car shoppers looking to avoid the risk of public or shared rides.”

This sentiment appears to be occurring in the U.S., too. A recent study by Ipsos on automotive purchase intention revealed that almost one third of pre COVID-19 U.S. vehicle intenders said they are more likely to purchase a vehicle once the crisis is over. They cited their personal safety and protection as the reason for this shift. And many are first-time car buyers. No one knows how long this sentiment will last, but it’s a welcome signal of future car sales.

Create Your Audience Strategy

To capitalize on the demand, auto brands need to connect with the right audiences.

The key is to shift from a media strategy to an audience strategy.

Programmatic is a great way to reach the right target audience - one that’s most likely to purchase a vehicle. In fact, MediaRadar forecasts that auto will be the first major vertical to increase its spending heading into the summer. This comes after pausing programmatic advertising in April and spending 40%1 less in March.

Other trends that auto marketers can leverage are the acceleration of cord cutting and consumers spending more time online. Americans are consuming more streaming content while they’re sheltering in place. According to the TradeDesk, connected TV (CTV) usage is up more than 30% since January. Meanwhile, according to Statista, 32% of Americans are spending more time on social media, and 18% are listening to more streaming services. Marketers can reach consumers in all of these digital channels programmatically, which gives marketers the added benefits of flexibility, agility and the ability to target with more precision.

What Makes An Ideal Auto Audience?

The key to successful programmatic is to understand what makes for an ideal auto audience. For most auto marketers, it’s in-market shoppers. And many define an in-market audience as one that has expressed intent online. But just because a consumer is shopping for a car online doesn’t mean they can afford to buy it. Case in point, those first-time buyers may have no idea if or what they can afford to purchase. They may be shopping for a vehicle online without knowing if the payment fits into their budget or if they can get credit. Marketers should look at a variety of intent signals, as well as financial capacity in order to target consumers who have:

  • Income and assets: estimate of household wealth based on directly measured data from trusted financial institutions
  • Discretionary spending ability: a household's spending power after accounting for the fixed expenses of life
  • Credit capacity: estimated ability to obtain credit to purchase a car
  • Propensity to buy: interest in your vehicle segment, make or model

Marketers that know their ideal audience, follow that audience and quickly adapt their strategy to reach them -- will win. While Covid-19 has handed enormous challenges to the industry, auto marketers also have an unprecedented opportunity to use data to their advantage to reach an ideal auto buyer audience. Visit Equifax automotive solutions for more information about targeting auto shopper audiences.


  [1] Ad Week, May 18, 2020 – Programmatic Ad Spend Down 9% Since Beginning of 2020

John Stremel

John Stremel

VP of Sales for automotive digital solutions at Equifax

John Stremel is the VP of Sales for automotive digital solutions at Equifax. John is known as a digital disruptor and has 20 plus years of organizational leadership experience primarily in the automotive vertical. Throughout his career, John has built trusting partnerships with leading consumer data providers, traffic [...]