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Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Auto Advertising: Incl Impact of COVID-19 – US market including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

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What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

Stumbling across an effective and influential auto advertising campaign is akin to watching an Oscar- winning movie. It’s not too long, not too short, provides meaningful, yet entertaining content and leaves you feeling something at the end. The majority of auto advertisements currently fails to meet that benchmark from a consumer perspective, which gives them ample opportunity to up their game. Automakers invest too much money in the hopes of creating influential content only to find that most consumers can’t tell one car brand from the next. It’s time for a change.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Hannah Keshishian, a leading analyst in the Automotive sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Automakers invest too much money into their advertising strategy for their ads to be ineffective and lacking influence. According to Pathmatics, advertisers spent more than $1.4 billion on digital auto ads in 2019. That’s a considerable amount of money to invest in campaigns that aren’t influencing consumers’ purchase intent or consideration. Automakers excel at packing their ads with information, but they need to take a step back and focus on marrying informative ads with universally relatable content. Their ultimate goal is to have a consumer watch their car ad and be able to envision themselves in it
Hannah Keshishian
Automotive Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Report scope
          • COVID-19: Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Impact of COVID-19 on automotive advertising
                    • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on auto advertising, October 2020
                  • Challenges and Opportunities
                    • Car buyers are ready to move past COVID-19
                      • Figure 2: Perceptions of recently seen display ads, July 2020
                    • As advertising evolves, TV ads remain important
                      • Figure 3: Most recently seen auto ad, July 2020
                    • Car buyers want (and get) information
                      • Figure 4: Top types of enjoyable ads, July 2020
                    • Communicate vehicle specs, details and discounts
                      • Figure 5: Desired auto advertising content, July 2020
                  • The Market – Key Takeaways

                    • COVID causes OEMs to hit pause on digital ad spend
                      • Consumers maintain their long-term purchase intent
                        • Automakers can convince consumers to become multi-car households
                        • Auto Advertising Landscape

                          • Spending on digital automotive advertising
                            • Figure 6: Monthly digital automotive advertising spend, January 2017-September 2020
                          • Impact of COVID-19 on automotive advertising
                            • Impact on spend
                              • Impact on creative
                                  • Figure 7: Monthly digital auto advertising spend, by channel, January-December 2019
                                  • Figure 8: Monthly digital auto advertising spend, by channel, January-September 2020
                                  • Figure 9: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on auto advertising, October 2020
                                • Lockdown
                                  • Re-emergence
                                    • Recovery
                                      • Learnings from the last recession
                                      • Market Factors

                                        • Vehicle sales won’t recover until unemployment rates do
                                          • Figure 10: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007- September 2020
                                        • Consumers continue to lack optimism in the economy
                                          • Figure 11: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2007-September 2020
                                      • Market Opportunities

                                        • A third of car buyers use ads as research
                                          • Figure 12: Consumers who seek out auto ads, by purchase intent, July 2020
                                        • More US households could become two-car homes
                                          • Figure 13: Vehicle ownership, July 2020
                                        • Opportunity to create more used car content
                                          • Figure 14: Desired used car content, by purchase intent, July 2020
                                        • COVID-19 hasn’t affected long-term purchase intent
                                          • Figure 15: Vehicle ownership, July 2020
                                      • Competitive Strategies – Key Takeaways

                                        • Successful auto campaigns understand what drives consumers
                                        • Competitive Strategies

                                          • Key challenge: differentiation
                                            • Mintel Global Trend Drivers
                                              • Experiences
                                                • Nostalgia: Jeep Grand Wagoneer
                                                  • Figure 16: Jeep, Rearview, August 2020
                                                • Adventure: Kia’s “Let’s Road Trip”
                                                  • Figure 17: Roper Kia – Let’s Road Trip, July 2020
                                                • Identity
                                                  • Community: Ford domestic production
                                                    • Figure 18: Ford, Built for America: The Connection, May 2020
                                                  • Rights
                                                    • Protection: Honda’s “Safety for Everyone”
                                                      • Figure 19: Honda, Safety for Everyone, September 2019
                                                  • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                    • TV ads are the most recalled kind of auto advertisement
                                                      • Auto ads fail to influence consumers’ purchase decisions
                                                        • Consumers have lukewarm feelings toward auto advertisements
                                                          • Consumers are burnt out on COVID car commercials
                                                          • Auto Advertising Recall

                                                            • TV trumps all other forms of recognized ad content
                                                              • Figure 20: Most recently seen auto ad, July 2020
                                                            • Auto ads fail to resonate with a third of older consumers
                                                              • Figure 21: Most recently seen auto ad, by age, July 2020
                                                            • Auto ads effectively target short-term car buyers
                                                              • Figure 22: Most recently seen auto ad, by purchase intent, July 2020
                                                            • Consumers recall video streaming ads more than social media ads
                                                              • Figure 23: Toyota Facebook ad, February 2020
                                                              • Figure 24: Reach of streaming and social media news feed ads, by age, July 2020
                                                          • Influence of Auto Ads

                                                            • Auto ads aren’t effectively influencing purchase decisions
                                                                • Figure 25: Honda, Desktop ad, May 2020
                                                                • Figure 26: Volkswagen, Desktop ad, July 2020
                                                                • Figure 27: Influence of recently seen auto ads, July 2020
                                                              • Timing and content can affect brand and vehicle consideration
                                                                • Figure 28: Influence of recently seen auto ads, by purchase intent, July 2020
                                                              • TV ads might be popular, but they’re also ineffective
                                                                • Figure 29: Effectiveness of ads, by channel, July 2020
                                                            • Perceptions of Auto Ads

                                                              • Overall, automotive ads are functional
                                                                • Figure 30: Perceptions of recently seen ads, by type of ad, July 2020
                                                              • Display ads are helpful and informative, but lack influence
                                                                • Figure 31: The Ridge Wallet LLC, Desktop display ad, May 2020
                                                                • Figure 32: Perceptions of recently seen display ads, July 2020
                                                              • Wanted: enjoyable content
                                                                • Figure 33: Perceptions of recently seen ads – creative, entertaining or interactive, July 2020
                                                              • Campaign spotlight: Hyundai “Smaht Pahk”
                                                              • Auto Advertising Content

                                                                • Information is a top request
                                                                  • Figure 34: Top types of enjoyable ads, July 2020
                                                                • Young consumers want a laugh out of auto ads
                                                                  • Figure 35: Humor as a component of an auto ad, by generation, July 2020
                                                                • Auto ads should focus on vehicle specs, details and discounts
                                                                  • Figure 36: Desired auto advertising content, July 2020
                                                                • Holiday car ads fall flat with consumers
                                                                  • Figure 37: Perceptions of themed advertising content, July 2020
                                                                • Car buyers are done hearing about COVID-19
                                                                  • Figure 38: Perceptions of recently seen display ads, July 2020
                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                • Data sources
                                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                                    • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                      • Direct marketing creative
                                                                        • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                          • Abbreviations

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