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Automotive Digital Marketing Trends 2022

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Automotive Digital Marketing Trends 2022

Benefits of Digital Marketing in the Automotive Industry

According to Think With Google, digital marketing has become a critical part of the automotive industry because of its impact on the purchase decisions of potential buyers. 

Automobiles, in recent years, have become so much more than just a mode of transportation; they are the focal point of our lives. Additionally, with the growth of technology, cars are becoming smarter and more connected to their drivers — and they will only continue to grow with innovations in areas like autonomous driving, electric vehicles and driverless cars. These changes have led to a new wave of marketing initiatives from car manufacturers, car dealerships and advertisers.

While digital marketing continues to replace traditional advertising methods, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted automotive sales since 2020. Statista estimates that the automotive industry revenue will reach over $9 trillion by 2030 worldwide. It was also calculated that in 2020, the automotive industry in the United States spent $12.42 billion on digital advertising alone.

Jennings Social Media & MarTech (JSMM) has more than a decade of experience working in the automotive industry with dealerships and Tier 2 groups across the country including Ford, Honda, Mercedes, Jaguar, Porsche, Land Rover and more. From influencer marketing to social media and digital advertising to reputation management, our team has worked as an outsourced marketing department and strategic growth marketing agency.

Featured Case Studies — Honda & Ford

The JSMM team devised and implemented reputation management, social media, digital advertising and lead generation for a Honda dealer in Kansas and a Ford dealership in Alberta, Canada for several years. 

Our team reached more than one million possible targets for the Honda dealer by utilizing a mixture of auto intenders and custom audiences. Additionally, the high number of bilingual and Spanish-speaking customers in the Olathe area pushed our team to develop a Hispanic marketing campaign specifically designed to reach these otherwise untargeted potential customers.

With a budget of $1,000 and less than 60 days, our custom artwork for a series of geolocation-based advertisements for Honda generated over 250,000 impressions and approximately 2,000 website clicks. The success of our various digital programs led to the client increasing their budget due to the noticeable increase in traffic. In addition, our team oversaw the development of a separate landing page using a translator on staff to create more effective phrasing and showcase a better understanding of the various Spanish dialects to reach the area’s previously untapped community. Both initiatives resulted in a noticeable increase in traffic — Facebook engagement increased by 217%, with over seven million total engagements in 2017.

For the Ford dealer, our team communicated with managers at each of their respective sales and service locations to market current specials and promoted vehicles and services offered by their dealerships. In addition, we used various tools to create unique and engaging ads, including custom videos and static branded images. As a result, we generated and attributed leads to various locations with advertisements that promote new vehicles, pre-owned vehicles and service specials.

Moreover, due to nearby mining operations and smaller rural surroundings, Ford messaging needed to be highly focused on SUVs, trucks, and services to target the northern sales and service locations with a potential reach of up to 88,000 individuals. While the southern sales and service locations feature a reach of up to 1.2 million individuals and considering the more urban surroundings, our team featured the full lineup of Ford vehicles in our marketing efforts.


Our team generated 130 leads across the three sales locations using a modest budget of less than $1,000 in a single month. The success of our creative and advertising efforts at one sales location prompted sales managers at the other sites to pursue identical campaigns. Additionally, in managing their reputation online, our team acknowledged all negative reviews publicly, and we provided the correct contact information to resolve the issue as a reflection of good customer service. And positive reviews were also acknowledged across various channels to thank customers for choosing Ford. Finally, maintaining their online reputation required constant monitoring, social listening and engagement with customers from our team. As a result, Facebook pages saw follower growth increase of up to five percent, and Instagram likes doubled over 90 days.

Lastly, in just a few months of reputation management by JSMM, we saw a consistent improvement of scores from various platforms for both dealerships. Our team’s effort and effectiveness in utilizing digital marketing as a vital component of our client’s business marketing strategy proved how such initiatives could help automakers keep up with trends, which helps plan for future developments and identify new growth opportunities.

The Importance of Digital Marketing in the Automotive Industry

Automotive companies must have a robust digital marketing strategy to thrive. Companies must understand how it plays into their growth, especially in reaching customers that would otherwise be unreachable. Effective strategies include search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, company website, paid digital advertising, email marketing, video marketing and webinars. These tools enable automakers to easily reach their target audiences and help them better understand their customers’ needs. 

In 2022, every marketing dollar matters more now than ever for automotive companies due to ongoing inventory challenges and labor shortages. According to Autotrader, dealerships and automakers can maximize their digital marketing by focusing on these five digital marketing trends:

  1. Quality content is still at the forefront of effective marketing as search engines like Google prioritize valuable, clear and informative content. You can boost conversions and drive purchases by focusing on producing relevant content for your target audience.
  2. Video or interactive content can help customers educate themselves on a product and feel more connected. The next generation of car buyers is more visual than any previous generation, so level up any content by incorporating video.
  3. Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more common in our daily lives, but it’s only just starting with automotive applications. While chatbots commonly answer consumers’ questions, there are many other AI-powered features that can be tapped into across other business touchpoints. Consider exploring AI-powered email marketing tools that can trigger ongoing campaigns based on the consumer’s digital behaviors or SEO automation to find new untapped content ideas.
  4. The desire for personalized shopping experiences is at an all-time high. In conjunction with the growing digitization of retail, automakers will need to find ways to personalize the car buying experience online. Contextual targeting and advanced reporting allow us to gain more insight into consumers and leverage behavioral data to market goods effectively.
  5. Micro-moments occur when people turn to a device to act on a need to learn, do, discover, watch or buy something — typically a smartphone. These times become intent-rich opportunities where a brand has a few seconds to present content, product, experience or specific messaging to influence the purchaser. Embracing these micro-moments with targeted marketing will be growingly beneficial this year.

The Future of the Auto Industry

As the automotive industry continues to undergo a rapid transformation with the advent of new technologies, the future of the industry is yet to be seen. However, some trends are likely to take place soon and significantly impact the automotive industry, including:

The rise of self-driving cars: This is one trend that has already started to emerge and will continue to grow in the coming years. Companies such as Tesla and Google are researching how they can make self-driving cars a reality. These cars will be able to drive themselves without any human intervention. They will also be connected to the Internet to communicate with other cars on the road and avoid accidents.

The rise of electric vehicles: Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing rapidly in popularity due to their environmental benefits and low running costs. Fuel cells are the next greatest tech trend in the EV market offering faster charging times and greater capacity. This trend is likely to continue as more people become aware of these benefits and switch from petrol or diesel vehicles.

Increased use of artificial intelligence: Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more common in our daily lives, but it’s only just starting with automotive applications. Automotive companies will likely use AI in future car models for things like traffic navigation or even self-driving capabilities.

Conclusion

Because of these fast-growing trends, traditional methods such as television or print advertisements have become less effective in the automotive industry because they are not immune to the digital revolution and the rise of digital marketing trends. The shift from traditional to digital media has changed the way people shop for cars, find information about cars and interact with dealerships online. Digital marketing is quickly becoming the most effective way to engage with customers and market products. Additionally, automotive companies that invest in their digital marketing efforts can also measure the success of their campaigns in real-time to help them make strategy changes along the way. Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager help each company know whether strategies are accurate because of the transparent and highly detailed reporting system.

Over the past several years, our team gained expertise in planning and executing digital marketing strategies, specifically for automotive companies to create brand awareness, achieve marketing goals and increase sales by targeting specific audiences with tailored messages. 

In recent years, digital marketing in the automotive industry has become more sophisticated and integrated with various forms of marketing. JSMM+VBM can help formulate a marketing strategy that will make your company stand out from the other industry competitors. Visit our website to learn more and contact us to get started today!

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