Using data to target vehicle ads to customers while they watch content on streaming services is gaining momentum among automotive marketers.
Dealers, marketing vendors, distributors and automakers told me that they are interested in over-the-top and connected TV, terms that refer to streaming services and the connected devices — such as Apple TV or Roku — that deliver the streaming content. The medium draws on data to target ads to specific consumers in ways that traditional broadcast and cable don't. The idea is to be more effective with a marketing campaign by reaching buyers who are more likely to be in the market for a vehicle.
Sara Lara, Toyota Motor North America media manager for marketing, told me the brand uses connected TV to drive awareness to early shoppers. One goal, she said, is to reach viewers who have cut the cord of traditional TV or never had it.
Over-the-top TV is preferable to traditional TV for its data-driven targeting, Dean Evans, executive vice president at Cars.com, told me. But it should be just one piece of an overall marketing strategy, he said.
Before joining Cars.com a year ago, Evans was a marketing executive with Hyundai and Subaru. His projects now include Fuel, a Cars.com tool that targets digital video to in-market vehicle buyers gleaned from the company's data on the platforms where those shoppers are consuming content.
Evans suggests retailers prioritize serious buyers over a general audience.
"With [over-the-top] and television, you obviously might get to a buyer, but you're not guaranteed to get to one or two or 10," he said. "All you're guaranteed is a demographic."