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Digital Media Marketing in the Automotive Industry - US - February 2011

This report explores the use of digital media marketing in the automotive industry. It provides insight into the external and internal factors affecting trends and technology innovations in digital media marketing and what they mean for future sales, promotional campaigns, and industry innovations. Specific questions that are answered in this report include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Are consumers in a buying mood for new cars and how many consumers are expected to purchase in the next two years?
  • What forms of digital media are automakers and dealerships using to reach out to consumers?
  • What campaigns are innovating this emerging trend and why have they met success?
  • What elements of an automotive website are consumers responding to and which components do they find unnecessary?
  • Is design and/or functionality in a mobile platform more important than content or is there a middle ground between both that consumers want in an automotive website?
  • What aspects of an automotive website do consumers find useful in researching new vehicles?
  • Which digital media platforms are consumers using now to research new vehicles?
  • What social media networks or video sites do consumers frequent at least once a week?
  • What kind of vehicle-sponsored event would consumers find most appealing if they were contacted via Facebook or Twitter?
  • How are social networks changing the traditional model of launching new vehicles? What companies are innovating this trend?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Sources
          • Market data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Advertising creative
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                      • Respondents rate picture gallery as top component of auto websites
                        • One quarter of respondents turned off if website is designed poorly
                          • Youngest respondents more open to social network interaction
                            • Automaker websites top research choice prioritized by respondents
                              • But traditional research tools have not diminished in importance
                                • Social networks, blogs utilized by youngest respondents
                                  • Online users prioritize Facebook for weekly online visiting
                                    • Facebook frequency highest among whites, Hispanics
                                      • Social network marketing should prioritize test drives
                                        • Respondents from households earning least prioritize test drives most
                                          • Hispanic respondents most interested in social network outreach
                                          • Insights and Opportunities

                                            • Automakers can engage social media during moments of crisis
                                              • Dealerships can follow Apple and Android stores by providing downloadable apps
                                                • Expand navigation systems to allow users to track items stored in vehicle
                                                  • Location-based media can help create awareness
                                                  • Inspire Insights

                                                      • Trend—Instant Gratification
                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                        • U.S. car/light truck sales reach 11.6 million units; first year-to-year increase since 2000
                                                            • Figure 1: Total U.S. vehicle sales, by units, 2005-10
                                                          • Tablet sales to soon eclipse sales of desktop PCs, laptops
                                                              • Figure 2: U.S. tablet users and tablet sales, 2010-15
                                                            • Smartphone unit sales increased 1,334% between 2004-10
                                                                • Figure 3: U.S. supplier sales of smartphones, 2004-10
                                                                • Figure 4: U.S. unit sales and average unit price of smartphones, 2004-10
                                                            • Social Networks

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Automakers are starting to experiment with social network campaigns
                                                                  • Brand ambassadors most coveted type of social network user
                                                                    • Social network ad spending expected to reach $4 billion by 2012
                                                                      • Figure 5: U.S. social network ad revenues and total U.S. online ad spending, January 2011
                                                                    • Facebook ad spending in the U.S. expected to reach $3 billion in 2012
                                                                      • Figure 6: Facebook ad revenues, U.S. and global*, January 2011
                                                                    • Audi, Infiniti, Hummer owners most engaged in social networks
                                                                      • Figure 7: U.S. social media users by brand of car owned *, October 2010
                                                                  • Using Social Networks to Launch New Vehicles

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Social media launches let consumers help create buzz
                                                                        • Ford makes its 2011 Ford Explorer Facebook page launch an event in itself
                                                                            • Figure 8: Ford Explorer 2011 Facebook launch, July 2010
                                                                          • Chrysler social media launch strikes fast, use element of surprise to create buzz
                                                                            • Nissan LEAF dedicated pages let consumers share reviews
                                                                              • Social media efforts complement traditional auto show unveilings
                                                                              • Location-based Media

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Location-based media creating opportunity to heighten loyalty programs
                                                                                    • CarZar pioneers location-platform for automotive enthusiasts
                                                                                      • Location-sharing platforms still in early phase
                                                                                      • Webcasts and Streaming Video

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Video encourages buyers to engage with automakers on a deeper level
                                                                                            • Online videos elevate brand ambassadors
                                                                                              • Online talk show series sets entertainment and local flavor against backdrop of car
                                                                                                  • Figure 9: Lexus/dailymotion screenshot featuring Whitney Cummings and Baratunde Thurston, November 2010
                                                                                                • Third-party video sites available to dealerships seeking content
                                                                                                • Websites and Microsites

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • Automotive websites need to emphasize content, clarity
                                                                                                        • Figure 10: Manufacturer website rating, July 2010
                                                                                                      • Microsites increase the operator’s search optimization
                                                                                                      • Mobile Internet

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Smartphones, tablets becoming catalysts to interact with consumer
                                                                                                            • Tablet creating more opportunities through design, functionality
                                                                                                              • Social network use via mobile devices expected to increase 60% by 2015
                                                                                                                • Figure 11: U.S. mobile social network users, 2009-15 *
                                                                                                            • Keyword Search

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Keyword search optimization allows operators to target their audience, drive traffic
                                                                                                                  • Google snippets
                                                                                                                    • Figure 12: Screenshot of MSN snippets via Google, January 2011
                                                                                                                  • Google dominates search engines
                                                                                                                    • Figure 13: Top 10 U.S. search providers, ranked by searches, May 2010
                                                                                                                • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                                                  • Mercedes-Benz uses Twitter to engage younger buyers to consider luxury
                                                                                                                      • Figure 14: Mercedes-Benz “Tweet Race” logo, 2011
                                                                                                                    • Ford teams with “Amazing Race” producers to create interactive series
                                                                                                                        • Figure 15: Ford “Focus Rally: America” logo, 2011
                                                                                                                      • Pep Boys uses digital media to re-introduce company characters
                                                                                                                        • DealerRater allows dealerships to interact with potential buyers directly
                                                                                                                        • How Digital Campaigns Are Promoted Via Broadcast

                                                                                                                          • Overview
                                                                                                                            • Strategy—Family video testimonials drive viewers to Facebook diary
                                                                                                                                • Figure 16: Toyota Camry Hybrid ad, 2010
                                                                                                                              • Strategy—Soliciting viewers to participate in next commercial online
                                                                                                                                • Figure 17: Volkswagen ad, 2010
                                                                                                                              • Strategy—Highlighting online connectivity
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 18: Ford Fiesta ad, 2010
                                                                                                                                • Strategy—Positioning online as a motivator, not as a replacement for test drives
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 19: Dodge Charger ad, 2010
                                                                                                                              • Plans to Purchase New

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Male respondents, young adults, most likely planning a vehicle purchase
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 20: Plans to purchase a new vehicle, by gender, age, household income, race and Hispanic origin, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Digital Media Behavior

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Streaming videos rated highest by respondents
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 21: Digital media behavior regarding cars and trucks, by gender, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                      • Respondents ages 18-24, 25-34 more likely to watch videos, play games
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 22: Digital media behavior regarding cars and trucks, by age, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                    • Attitudes Toward Digital Media and Vehicle Buying

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • One quarter of respondents would use website to reserve test drives
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 23: Attitudes toward digital media and vehicle buying, by gender, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Youngest respondents more open to social network interaction
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Attitudes toward digital media and vehicle buying, by age, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Respondents from high-income households may demand more online
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Attitudes toward digital media and vehicle buying, by household income, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                      • Website Components That Consumers Find Useful

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Picture gallery is top component of auto websites
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 26: Website components consumers find useful, by gender, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                            • Visuals matter most to youngest respondents, 18-24 or 25-34
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 27: Website components consumers find useful, by age, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Respondents from households making $75-99.9K seeking info most
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Website components consumers find useful, by household income, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Ways Consumers Research Vehicles

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Automaker websites top research choice prioritized by respondents
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 29: Ways consumers research vehicles, by gender, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Interactive media such as social networks utilized by youngest respondents
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Ways consumers research vehicles, by age, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Social Media Preference

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • Online users prioritize Facebook for weekly online visiting
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 31: Social media preference, by gender, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                          • Only half of those ages 55-64 engaged with Facebook each week
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Social media preference, by age, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                          • Weekly Facebook usage rises slightly as household income increases
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Social media preference, by household income, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                        • Social Media and Event Marketing

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Social network marketing should prioritize test drives
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Social media and event marketing, by gender, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                              • Youngest respondents most responsive to test drive via Facebook
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Social media and event marketing, by age, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                              • Respondents from households earning least prioritize test drives most
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 36: Social media and event marketing, by household income, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                            • Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                • Black respondents most active in streaming video, email alerts
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Digital media behavior regarding cars and trucks, by race and Hispanic origin, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                • Hispanic respondents most interested in social network outreach
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Attitudes toward digital media and vehicle buying, by race and Hispanic origin, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                • Visual element of automaker website rated highest by black respondents
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Website components consumers find useful, by race and Hispanic origin, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                • White respondents most active in researching via automaker websites
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Ways consumers research vehicles, by race and Hispanic origin, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                • Facebook frequency highest among whites, Hispanics
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Social media preference, by race and Hispanic origin, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                • Black respondents most likely to respond to most social network invites
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Social media and event marketing, by race and Hispanic origin, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                              • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                                  • Engagers
                                                                                                                                                                    • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                        • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                          • Gawkers
                                                                                                                                                                            • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Disengagers
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Digital media marketing—auto—clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Digital media behavior regarding cars and trucks, by digital media marketing—auto—clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 45: Attitudes toward digital media and vehicle buying by digital media marketing—auto—clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Website components consumers find useful by digital media marketing—auto—clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Ways consumers research vehicles by digital media marketing—auto—clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Digital media marketing—auto—clusters, by gender, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Digital media marketing—auto—clusters, by age group, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 50: Digital media marketing—auto—clusters, by household income, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 51: Digital media marketing—auto—clusters, by race, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 52: Digital media marketing—auto—clusters, by Hispanic origin, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix—Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ways consumers research vehicles and household income
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 53: Ways consumers research vehicles, by household income, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Digital media behavior and household income
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 54: Digital media behavior regarding cars/trucks, by household income, October-November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                            Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Alliance Of Automobile Manufacturers, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • American Suzuki Motor Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Audi of America Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG)
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA)
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Automotive Trade Association Executives (ATAE)
                                                                                                                                                                                            • BMW of North America, LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Chrysler LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVA)
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer Electronics Association
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ford Motor Company (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                            • General Motors Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                            • GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Company
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Hyundai Motor America
                                                                                                                                                                                            • J.D. Power and Associates
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Jaguar Cars North America
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Kia Motors America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Lenovo Group Limited
                                                                                                                                                                                            • LG Electronics Inc (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                            • LinkedIn
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mazda North American Operations
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mercedes-Benz USA
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)
                                                                                                                                                                                            • National Independent Automobile Dealership Association (NIADA)
                                                                                                                                                                                            • NexTag, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Nissan North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA)
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Saab Cars North America
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Subaru of America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Tire Industry Association
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Toshiba Corporation (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Toyota Motor Corporation USA
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Volkswagen of America, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Digital Media Marketing in the Automotive Industry - US - February 2011

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