By Lauren Donalson, Vice President, Client Experience and Strategic Partnerships, PureCars
The kickoff to Super Bowl LVI is right around the corner, and automotive marketers have been laser-focused on this year’s game, clamoring for any remaining commercial time knowing that NBC has virtually sold out all spots.
Even back in July, NBC announced that the Feb. 13th game had already sold out 85% of the ad slots. That’s the fastest pace of sales in at least a decade. Last year’s game on CBS did not reach that mark until January right before kickoff.
This year, NBC has been asking for a record-high $6 million per 30 seconds of ad time, up from $5.6 million last year. And even though last year’s game saw a continuing decline of viewership, everyone from carmakers to lenders and dealers still looks to grab any opportunity to advertise or market during the game itself or the week-long festivities.
Advertising in any format, particularly on television, is extremely competitive and costly, driving most dealers and their agency partners out of the ad game. However, with the rapid rise of connected television and OTT platforms like Hulu Live, dealers and agency partners may have a way to play in the big game.
Why CTV Is Gaining In Popularity for Dealers
The decision for auto retailers and their advertising agency partners to consider CTV is less about re-allocating digital media budgets to video, which most dealers already execute through programmatic and social video campaigns.
Furthermore, this doesn’t mean every dealer should pull all of their money from traditional media buys, either. In many cases, dealers that begin to explore a reallocation of portions of their traditional media investments over to CTV see significant improvement in the performance of their overall media mix and experience a positive impact on their cost per unit sold and serviced.
During the Super Bowl, this greater return potential means dealers can leverage television media while also continuing with other digital media spend, such as search and social.
Overcoming Blind Spots: Elimination of Media Waste During Super Bowl
Reducing advertising waste is a key element to boosting dealership profitability at any point of the year, especially during a heavy advertising period such as the Super Bowl. It is estimated that the automotive industry will spend approximately $13.4 billion on digital advertising, and nearly 40% of that expenditure will be ineffective due to the wrong strategy, bad data, or both. When applied to cost per sale, this often leaves dealerships paying hundreds of dollars more to sell a car than their online competitors and leaves them handicapped in their ability to effectively compete.
Today’s advanced advertising data and marketing technology helps dealers follow and capture demand during the Super Bowl by identifying which vehicles they should be aggressively marketing — all with the goal of optimizing to the lowest cost per sale and RO, rather than vanity metrics like cost-per-click and impression volume.
Dealers should also take advantage of the tools, technologies and resources available to them via CTV. They should be leveraging uniquely personalized ads targeted at specific households with messaging during Super Bowl week and even during the game; offering to buy someone’s car, or to utilize CTV technology that allows a person to click their remote to either schedule a service visit or get a quote on a trade are just two examples. OTT ads can now leverage clickability interactivity that could give viewers access to a trade tool or a payment calculator on a dealer’s website allowing them to get pre-qualified and match them to real-time inventory while instantly negotiating payment terms.
Specific Opportunities for Tier 3 Dealers
National OEM ad buys will spur interest in the model(s) and/or initiative(s) featured in their spots during the Big Game. Dealers should capitalize on the modern-day phenomenon of “second screen syndrome,” when television viewers are prompted to search for more information on the ad they were served, with a Super Bowl Sunday specific ad budget and strategy. If dealers are aware their manufacturer is investing in a Super Bowl television spot (ex: Ford, Audi, and more), OR if dealers would like to proactively counter against used car threats (ex: Vroom), clever dealers will increase Paid Search (Google, Bing) and Retargeting (Social, Display) budgets during and after the Big Game. This will ensure dealers capitalize on a stimulated in-market audience in their area. Once the initial audience is captured, dealers will have a larger and smarter prospecting audience to target via additional Google properties (Discovery Ads, YouTube) as well as proven video channels (Social, Video, CTV). In short, dealers should ride the momentum spurred by their manufacturer’s Super Bowl ad investment and capture their fair share. Afterall, the worst possible outcome is an OEM pumps interest into a dealer’s market ONLY for a competitor to then capitalize on it.
With local dealers utilizing all of these resources they should begin to leverage Super Bowl advertising opportunities like never before, helping new customers connect, engage and transact with them on a more personalized level. It’s hard to believe that today’s digital advertising opportunities for local dealers are possible during one of the biggest advertising weeks of the year, but a bevy of new technology has now made it all possible!
The world is hoping for an exciting Super Bowl with new teams this year. And now dealers can enjoy a Super Bowl advertising strategy with new tools, technologies and resources that connect them to more transaction opportunities.
About the Author
Lauren Donalson is Vice President, Client Experience and Strategic Partnerships for PureCars, a leading automotive dealer advertising and attribution technology provider. Lauren was recognized by Auto Success magazine in 2021 for being named one of the industry’s leading “Women at the Wheel.”