Auto Service World
News   August 1, 2006   by Auto Service World

Surprising Results in Online Automotive Study

Targeting new-vehicle buyers at travel, special interest and finance Web sites is considerably more effective for upper-funnel brand marketing than placing advertising on most automotive shopping sites, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Online Media Study released yesterday.
The inaugural study is the only online media research in the industry that is based on a random national sample of 10,724 verified new-vehicle buyers with Internet access who purchased a vehicle in September or October 2005.
The study takes an in-depth look at the Internet usage and behaviour of new-vehicle buyers to identify Web sites that most effectively target desirable advertising audiences in terms of reach, scope and cost.
“In terms of Internet advertising, once consumers visit an automotive shopping site, they’ve already narrowed their vehicle consideration set, which means that online advertisers are missing an ideal branding opportunity,” said Steve Witten, executive director of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates.
“By focusing on new-vehicle buyer behaviour on the Internet before they begin actively shopping for their next new vehicle, automotive marketers can identify the Web sites with the highest probability of reaching prospective buyers more effectively than ever before.”
While most Internet users are reached by the most popular sites such as Google and Yahoo!, the study finds new-vehicle buyers can be found following their interests and lifestyles at sites such as WebMD and Home Depot five times more often than general Internet users.
Given their affluence, these buyers use financial sites such as Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money six times more often than general Internet users.
They are also four to five times more likely to use travel sites such as or Travelocity than general Internet users.
The Online Media Study uses general Internet user behaviour from Compete, Inc. to demonstrate comparisons with new-vehicle buyers.
“While new-vehicle buyers are a niche of only 6 percent of adults in any one year, they are a highly desirable group of consumers for advertisers, and they behave very differently online than general Internet audiences,” said Witten.
“This is a significant opportunity for marketers, especially when they can analyze down to the vehicle segments from which these buyers cross-shop.
Marketing is often the most inefficient part of any business in terms of spending.
By understanding where certain consumers spend their time online rather than relying solely on general Internet visitation numbers, marketers are able to reach key audiences, often at fees that provide more bang for the buck.”