To advertise its new A7 sedan, Audi plastered the message "bold design" across YouTube on May 1, becoming the sole advertiser on the video channel that day for users of mobile devices.
It was the first time a luxury-car maker had taken over that platform, and Audi says more than 23 million potential customers saw the ad.
The takeover was part of Audi's effort to tap into a fast-growing ad medium for luxury buyers: mobile devices.
Just a few years ago, carmakers hardly had a presence there, but as more potential buyers own smart phones, many luxury-car makers are taking advantage of the opportunity to reach those buyers wherever they are. Those carmakers are making mobile a priority, ensuring that Web sites are compatible with mobile, designing apps and incorporating their ads within existing platforms.
It's all in response to the way luxury-car buyers use their phones in every step of the car-buying process.
Gartner, a leading technology research company, projected that total annual revenue from mobile advertising, including apps and mobile Web display ads, will reach $3.3 billion in 2011.
A 2010 Google study found that up to 20 percent of search traffic on automakers' Web sites comes through mobile devices.
While mobile use is growing across the board, today's luxury-car buyers are twice as likely as volume-car shoppers to use mobile devices to research a vehicle purchase, according to a June 2010 Compete Auto Shopper Study commissioned by Google.