Why Location Data Belongs in Both National and Local Auto Marketing Strategies

We talk a lot about the role of location data in local marketing—with good reason. When your goal is to drive customers to your dealership, its value is beyond compare. But there’s another way that location data can benefit your automotive business, and that’s by also applying it to your national automotive marketing campaigns.

Take a moment to think about location data in the context of marketing in general. Collected through a mobile device, location data shows us where people go in the physical world. It provides insight into a person’s behaviors, where they go throughout their day, and allows us to predict where they’re likely to go next.

As a result, location data and targeting can create superior advertising results for campaigns of all kinds. Let’s take a closer look to understand how.

National Marketing: Precision plus scale

When it comes to National Marketing or Tier 1, the goals can be a little different than local marketing. In the auto industry, Tier 1 campaigns seek to target scalable audiences that will be interested in the brand or align with the brand’s core values. While identifying these audiences in the creative process can be straight-forward, building these audiences can be quite challenging.  

Currently, one of the easiest ways to create these audiences at scale is to use search and social data to build your desired audience. While search and social data can be quite powerful, they are both based on passive behaviors. Users can “like” or search for an auto brand online, but never actually visit a dealership to make a purchase, a demonstration of an active behavior.

While the reach and awareness that search and social provide are important, it’s equally important that this scale doesn’t come at the expense of auto brands resonating with potential customers. This is where location data can be an excellent tool for Tier 1 marketers. Since location data is the primary source of active behaviors, you can connect with people who’ve visited your brand or reach people who demonstrate behaviors that align with your brand values.  With a TV ad buy, you may be reaching the masses. But with location-based audience targeting, you can retain a comparable level of reach while focusing on consumers that—based on active behavior data—are more likely to make a purchase.

Take a recent campaign we ran for a major luxury automotive brand who used GroundTruth’s location data to build Location Audiences and Behavioral Audiences, based on a person’s past visitation, to reach their customer. The campaign outperformed the brand’s Click Through Rate (CTR) benchmark by 3x, with Location Audiences and Behavioral Audiences showing the highest levels of performance. Location Audiences also outperformed Video Completion Rate (VCR) benchmarks by 2% points.

Local Marketing: Performance counts

There’s no question about it: location data is critical for local or Tier 2 auto marketers. It lets you zero in on consumers who are in your regional market and reach those likely to visit a specific dealership in your area. However, while the connection between location and Tier 2 may be more easily understood, methods of targeting have since evolved as location data has become more sophisticated.

The days of just being able to reach a potential customer within a radius of a  business are long gone. Tier 2 marketers can now reach people at a more granular level, while they’re standing inside the dealership or on the lot. They can also target people in areas that show a high propensity for visiting their dealership or a competitors dealership, known as Neighborhood Targeting. This method is critical for auto brands who want to reach customers during key decision times and drive dealership level visits.

Furthermore, highly accurate and scalable location data has led to new performance-based advertising models. In the past, a marketer would rely on digital metrics, such as Cost Per Action (CPA) or leads generated to determine offline results. However, new buying models like Cost Per Visit (CPV) and Pay Per Visit allow innovative Tier 2 marketers the option to pay only for mobile ads that result in a visit to their dealership. In turn, this helps them produce the outcomes they’re looking for, visits, while making the most of their ad dollars.

Recently, a national auto brand tested the effectiveness of Cost Per Visit in its Eastern Region. GroundTruth only charged the brand if a consumer saw an ad from the campaign and later visited the dealership. GroundTruth was also fully responsible for optimizing the targeting strategies and guaranteed over 300 visits to Eastern Region dealerships. Not only were we able to deliver the 300 visits, but we were able to deliver additional visits to the brand’s target stores at no additional cost.

Interested in learning more? Contact us for additional tips on using location data to enhance your automotive marketing plan.

Sam Miller
Strategy Manager

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