The Automotive Revolution Will Be Televised

6 min read·Dec 20, 2022

Consumers are ready to get back out there and ride, baby, ride, but supply chain issues and new consumer behaviors are getting in the way of car dealerships eager to get back to business as usual.

According to a McKinsey & Company survey, consumers’ intent to purchase a new car in late 2022 was back to where it was at pre-COVID-19 levels, but the automotive industry needs to recognize new consumer demands and expectations. That means more high-quality digital and video content, omni-channel marketing, and agile campaigns.

But how are small and medium sized dealerships supposed to affordably deliver value on channels they don’t have experience with? CTV advertising, and here’s why.

What is CTV?

CTV and OTT advertising allow marketers to precisely target customers across devices and channels on what remains the most impactful advertising format out there: television. Oh sure, TV is good for multi-million dollar brands, but what about short-staffed independent dealerships with tight budgets?

Well, the ads may look the same, but trust us when we say it’s a whole other story under the hood: CTV advertising is trackable, scalable, flexible, and most importantly, quick and easy to implement.


A performance channel

CTV advertising is, first and foremost, a performance channel. What does that mean? Well, while our friends at KIA are making million dollar commercial about their new SUVs somehow saving baby turtles, you can carefully parse out just enough budget to target prospective buyers and track if and how they engage with your ad.

Thanks to household IP tracking, you can measure how many CTV viewers visited your dealership, your website or even purchased a car after viewing your ad. You can then track budget allocation and A/B test targeting when necessary.

Growing exponentially

Don’t take our word CTV is worth it - look at your peers! According to eMarketer,

  • Auto dealers are expected to spend $9.47B across the US in 2023
  • 85% of U.S. households are projected to be CTV households by the end of the year
  • The average time spent per day streaming on a connected device will be about 150% compared to the average time spent watching television, making CTV advertising the fastest growing digital marketing channel this year.

One of the most exciting side effects of CTV’s meteoric rise in the last 2 years is the vast channel inventory now at advertisers’ fingertips. ESPN, Roku, CNN, Paramount plus, Sling, and so many more are now just a click away for the same price as that Facebook campaign you’ve probably been running with fewer and fewer returns for the past year.

Did we hit a nerve? That’s because while the ad tech industry was busy rebuilding its engine from scratch, the auto industry was going through a transformation of its own.


The automotive industry in 2023

COVID and its accompanying economic downturn certainly put national auto sales in low gear, but other macro trends have also contributed to radically reshaping the automotive landscape, even now that consumer intent-to-buy has returned.

Industry disruptions

Over the past 3 years, car dealers have had to contend with endless industry setbacks, the most disruptive of which has got to be supply chain issues and microchip shortages; and while microchip shortages are predicted to ease in early 2023, car buyers won’t see much change in the near term. That means dealerships have to rapidly pivot to new sales and promotion models including the sale of pre-owned vehicles and massive investment in digital marketing.

Meanwhile, a new post-COVID breed of car buyers has brand new expectations.

A new kind of buyer

As work from home policies continue to disrupt the auto sales landscape, standard media patterns have dramatically changed with radio, movie theaters, and sports venues pushed to the very bottom of an effective marketing mix.

Now more than ever, CTV and mobile are great marketing channels for engaging potential car buyers on the spot with virtual tours of the latest model or special inventory selections at nearby auto dealerships. In fact, a Cord Evolution study found that 79% of people planning to buy or lease a vehicle in the next 12 months watch ad-supported OTT, and  of those auto intenders who view ad-supported OTT, 56% of them are looking to buy a new car, 72% are looking to buy a used car, and 21% of this audience is ready to lease a car.


How can CTV move the needle for dealerships?

The automotive industry is already ahead of the CTV marketing curve, seeing significant improvement in the performance of their overall media mix, and let’s face it, with only 5% of Americans in the market for an auto at any given time, buying a new car on average of about once every five years, car dealerships can’t let this new opportunity pass them by.

Targeting and scalability with CTV

The first CTV benefit is scale, where advertisers can leverage large programming opportunities and access to major broadcasters with strong coverage across networks and devices. But what’s the point of massive impression volume if none of those viewers are in the market for a car? CTV target insights allow you to optimize your campaign to eliminate wasted impressions and ensure they are reaching the right audience.

How? Cross-device targeting. 89% of TV audiences have a second device in their hand while watching a program, and IP tracking can follow them the whole way from your ad to their visit to your website or dealership.  It only makes sense to market across devices, then track data from the whole network, rather than just one device. You need the full picture to track meaningful analytics.

Now is the time

While shifts in consumer behavior, macroeconomic conditions, and supply chain are enough to drive anyone to despair, things are looking up! Recent studies suggests the U.S. auto industry is in the midst of a V-shaped recovery – sales snapping back rapidly after a sharp decline: after dropping from 16.8 million units in February to 8.6 million in April, sales hit 12.2 million units in May and rising.

That’s really good news, especially now that CTV marketing is easier than ever thanks to’s self-serve CTV platform. All it takes is a short video and clear target segments to get your ad playing on TVs in your area in under 5 minutes.

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