Auto Industry Should Align Search and Display Campaigns and Even More

The blog for marketing resource management specialists,, presents an article with its interpretation of a recent study by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). They point out that car makers should integrate their search and display online ad campaigns to boost customer conversions. A new report from the trade body, performed in partnership with researchers at Nielsen and NM Incite, analysed the online marketing activities of auto firms BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes and Range Rover. Results indicated the companies are achieving conversion rates of between 4% and 11% for visitors to their websites.

For the report, the IAB counted as conversions visitors who subsequently continued their engagement by performing additional brand-related activities, such as configuring a model, downloading a brochure or booking a test drive. The research highlighted strong integration effects between search and display advertising, which are the two most widely-used forms of online ads. Of the consumers analysed, 40-50% of those exposed to display ads also performed some form of search activity related to the brand.

It is excellent that the IAB has conducted this study and has come up with some sound figures to quantify the relationship between the integration of search and online display campaigns. But … it is not only integration between search and display online ads that pays off. One of my personal learnings from my past automotive campaigns is that you can easily increase the manufactures website visits and its conversion rates by

  1. integrating on- and offline campaigns and
  2. stretching the campaign period for the search and display campaign

Here is a simplified example to explain my point:

Media plan ‘A’ consists of

  • 4 weeks off line (TV, radio, etc.) and 70% of the budget
  • 4 weeks search and display, which consumes 30% of the budget

Media plan ‘B’ consists of

  • 4 weeks off line (TV, radio, etc.) and 70% of the budget
  • 8 weeks search and display, which consumes 30% of the budget

In graph it would look like this.

The number of leads coming from a typical plan ‘A’ would be approximately 10% less than from a plan ‘B’.

This seems somehow very logical as the campaign period is stretched from 4 to 8 weeks. However the fact that with equal budget one can achieve more leads is really a win. This effect is overlooked by a majority of marketers and media planners because they brief a fixed period for a campaign. Rethink!  And try different patterns to find the optimal for your campaigns.

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