The IAB Shows What’s Driving Auto Sales – And We Couldn’t Have Said It Better Ourselves


Fantastic news came out of the IAB recently.  According to their research (“IAB Digital Influence on Auto Intenders”, January 2014), Broadcast Television is the top influencer of auto purchasing.  Well, other than Word of Mouth, of course.

There are many studies and experts out there that have made this sort of statement (TRA, The Detroit Bureau, Dealer Marketing Magazine, the North Carolina Dealer’s Association, and even digital marketing consultant Online Drive, to name a few).  But now, the IAB has confirmed it, from the other side of the media aisle.

While their intention is to bolster the impact of Internet advertising in marketers’ minds, the macro point that comes across is one that we’ve made ourselves.

Television is a primary driver of auto sales throughout the purchase process.  Actually, it is THE primary driver of auto sales of all media, to establish awareness, interest, and product consideration – that WANT to purchase.  Television then pushes the consumer to go online, where the consumer can take advantage of the on-demand informational power of the Internet.

And make no mistake; Automotive is definitely a category where consumers do their research.

At our presentation at NADA last week, I talked about television’s place in the digital media landscape and how it influences auto sales.  For all of the attention given to social media and mobile these days, it is television that’s providing the context – and content – that people are talking about on social media.  And those conversations translate directly into auto sales.  Consider the number of new cars expected to be sold in 2014 – 16.4MM units, according to most of the estimates coming out of NADA.

The two biggest influencers upon auto sales are word of mouth and broadcast television advertising, according to the IAB.

The IAB’s study does a very good job of outlining how auto consumers live in the digital space and harness the various tools of the online world when making an auto purchase.   They dig into purchase intent (14% of adults plan to buy an auto in the next six months), consumer confidence, research habits, device ownership and usage (56% of hybrid owners also own a tablet), and how Internet advertising fits into the context of today’s media ecosystem.  Like so many other experts before them, they put television highest on the media food chain, both in terms of influencing purchase (31% of Auto Intenders cite broadcast television as influencing their purchase, following only Word of Mouth at 38%) and influencing online search (39% credit broadcast TV in triggering an online search, behind Face-to-Face and coupons).

It turns out, the IAB has taken a fresh look at what’s driving auto sales ¬– and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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