Mentioning a vehicle’s mpg in a digital display ad, and then following that up with a safety reference within the same ad is a strong one-two punch for auto advertisers, according to a new report.
Auto ads using that formula saw a 246 percent boost in conversions, digital advertising company Rocket Fuel found.
A “conversion” as defined by Rocket Fuel is a consumer action such as signing up for a test drive or building a vehicle using an online configurator on an automaker’s website. A conversion is counted if a person clicks on the ad and takes action, or if it’s the last ad seen before a person acts, even if he or she didn’t click on it.
Rocket Fuel examined 367 Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive digital campaigns for domestic and foreign manufacturers that garnered 3 billion impressions. An impression is the instance of serving one ad to one person, the company says.
“We found often that the things that drove clicks were the opposite of the things that drove conversions. Things that drew the eye and caused consumers to come back and convert were seldom the same elements that drove higher click-through rates,” said Robert Jones, research director for Rocket Fuel, in an interview. “The ‘click here’ call to action did drive higher drew click-through rates, but it wasn’t nearly as effective at driving conversions such as ‘build your own,’ ‘shop now’ and ‘find yours.’”
The research was part of a larger effort in which Rocket Fuel observed 38,151 banner advertisements from 1,076 advertisers in various industries across 2,184 marketing initiatives. The ads accounted for 23.3 billion impressions.
Rocket Fuel’s Guide To Creative Optimization measured soundless display ads that had either short animations or static images. Video ads were measured separately.
Wording is key for display ads.
Asking someone to “shop now” instead of “search inventory” may seem like the same thing, but consumers react very differently.
Auto display ads asking consumers to “shop now” had a 40 percent higher conversion rate than the industry average. Ads displaying “search inventory” saw conversion rates that were 78 percent below average.
“The wording itself really matters. ‘Shop now’ may just appeal more to the tastes than ‘search inventory.’ It may seem like less of a chore,” Jones said. “Or it may imply that whatever you want to buy, you can buy. [With] search inventory, it’s ‘see what’s available.’”
Automotive digital ads that mentioned pricing worked better than those that didn’t.
Ads with limited-time offers, in particular, outperformed those that didn’t mention price at all, or contained just general pricing information.
The inclusion of limited-time offers led to 25 percent higher conversion rates, Rocket Fuel found.
- Auto ads performed better when one or more people are shown in them, averaging 42 percent higher conversion rates.
- "Build your own” was the most popular call to action, with a 106 percent higher conversion rate.
- Ads calling for consumers to “click here” performed 48 percent below the auto industry average for conversions.
- Auto ads that placed the logo in the upper left or lower left averaged higher conversion rates than those that placed their logo elsewhere.