Dealership ads seen on a Monday or Tuesday are more likely to prompt car shoppers to seek out a dealership or request a test drive than ads they view on other days, according to a new study.
On weekends, shoppers are out kicking tires and doing other research, said Robert Jones, senior manager of research and insights at Rocket Fuel, an advertising technology and analytics firm that published the report.
He said that midweek through the weekend is prime time for videos and awareness ads that promote consideration of brands and models. But ads running early in the week should skew toward pricing, events and specific calls to action.
Jones said consumers are more likely to be "converted" by those early-week ads.
He defined conversion as a shopper viewing an ad and taking action deep into the car-buying process, such as locating a dealer, calling a store or signing up for a test drive.
The study aggregated conversion data from several advertisers and from surveys of 606 car shoppers in May who said they intended to buy a vehicle within 12 months.
Citing a J.D. Power and Associates study published in 2011, Jones said 59 percent of online shoppers intending a buy a car will narrow selection to a single model within a week of purchase.
The ads most effective at that time focus on pricing incentives, consumer reviews and configuration options, he said.
Manufacturers' Web sites are used extensively by shoppers to research price or locate dealers, the survey shows. But only 16 percent say that they have signed up for a test drive on a manufacturer's site, while another 40 percent say they would consider doing so.