Digital media has revolutionized the way car buyers search for their next car, putting the buyer in the driver’s seat to engage with brands natively on their terms versus the more interruptive marketing favored by traditional TV, radio and print marketing.

As consumers shift to digital channels to find their next car, it’s no surprise that savvy marketers are maneuvering budgets into digital advertising. eMarketer forecasts that paid digital spend in the auto industry will increase by an average of 14% YoY between 2015 and 2020 – the second largest growth of all US industries.

It’s an exciting time to be an auto marketer. The mix of rising US wages, cheaper fuel, decreasing interest rates and high job confidence (Business Insider) means car purchases are on the rise and so are marketing budgets, allowing marketers to show the industry exactly what they are made of.

To remain successful in this increasingly digital landscape, OEM’s to Tier 3 brands need to look for a more holistic approach to digital advertising, spanning all the influential destinations buyers visit on their customer journey from Pinterest to Google and everything inbetween.

Consumers move fast, especially online, and marketers need to keep up with this to build an ongoing connection. According to a report by Autotrader, car buyers now spend an average of 59% of their time online compared to traditional channels, and over 60% are considering multiple car options, indicating the Bugatti speed that buyers move between digital destinations. Not only that, they are doing so on multiple devices.

With buyers turning to online sources to search for their next car, the purchase journey has also increased in complexity. The days of only visiting local dealerships to find the best deal are gone. This has greatly increased the potential addressable target market, but also come with it’s challenges.

Targeting the various stages of the buying cycle at the right time with the right message can be a challenge as the key phases of awareness, consideration and decision have multiple layers and aren’t always linear, with buyers coming in and out of the process.


With car shopping taking 6 months or more and with so much of it moving online, it’s important to reach audiences early and often throughout the purchase journey. The challenge is to break through the clutter during a highly competitive and complex purchase process and engage the right audience earlier in the purchase journey.

To learn more about key best practices across paid search, social, video, and mobile, download the Kenshoo guide: Digital Advertising Firing on All Cylinders.

Also register for our Auto webinar to hear experts from Dygen and Kenshoo discuss native vs non-native advertising, mobile strategy, utilizing sales data to customize targeting and more on May 18th, 10am PT.