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How a Digital Marketing Strategy Can Help Your Automotive Brand 

Learn purchasing trends and how your automotive digital marketing strategy can reach consumers and elevate an automotive brand.

Meredith Cunningham Published: December 18, 2023
How a Digital Marketing Strategy Can Help Your Automotive Brand  image

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic shifted how consumers purchase products, and the same goes for buying cars. Like most businesses nationwide, the automotive industry continues to adapt to meet consumers’ needs.  What are auto buyers’ new shopping behaviors? We’ve got you covered. 

What are the Digital Trends in the Automotive Industry?

Research from J.D. Power reveals that consumers spend upwards of 11 hours researching cars online, decreasing the number of dealerships they have to visit. Consumers increasingly want a shorter and easier experience, and digital channels provide this convenience. With that in mind:

  • 90% of car shoppers prefer a dealership where they can start the buying process online​ 
  • 70% of car shoppers expect to be able to configure a payment on a dealership website 
  • 83% say online buying technology helps them narrow down their vehicle choice and determine what is affordable 
  • 43% of car buyers say they are willing to complete the entire purchase process online without ever visiting the dealership 
  • 18% of auto shoppers would buy a vehicle sooner if there were an online purchase option​ 

Additionally, while the purchase journey is happening online, it still happens offline. At-home test drives and vehicle delivery were tied as the number one alternative to visiting a car dealership for auto shoppers. 

What is An Automotive Digital Marketing Strategy, and How Does it Work?

An automotive digital marketing strategy outlines advertising initiatives for an automotive business across digital channels such as local websites, mobile apps, and streaming apps.

When paired with a strong brand strategy and a solid linear broadcast strategy, digital ad formats will align best with the consumer’s mindset and get them down the purchase funnel more effectively.​ An integrated campaign like this gives manufacturers and dealerships top-of-mind awareness when consumers are in the market.​ 

7 Tactics for Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy for an Automotive Brand

1. Invest in OTT/Streaming

Auto brands can also leverage our Over-the-Top (OTT) streaming solution, which places brand messages alongside premium long-form, on-demand, and live-streaming content on more than 125 branded networks. Since OTT platforms leverage video, these media-rich formats are memorable while being tailored to your audiences. 

2. Advertise with Trusted Websites & Mobile Apps

Brand safety is a big concern for many brands beginning with online display campaigns. Companies such as TEGNA, are TAG Certified. The TAG Fraud Benchmark Study found that these properties were able to cut fraud by up to 88%.

3. Leverage Geotargeting

Local media can make it easier to tailor your message to the right audience, whether you are a national brand or a small business. The right advertising platforms can also leverage geofencing and geotargeting to ensure you reach the right audiences in the right areas.

By partnering with TEGNA, your automotive brand can leverage our network of 63 stations in 51 markets to reach potential customers from coast to coast by placing brand messaging alongside local news headlines, weather and traffic reports, and behind-the-scenes local sports coverage. Our web properties allow your companies to reach the right target audience within local markets. 

4. Use Native Content for Better Engagement

Native advertising is content that blurs the line between marketing and content. As a result, this form of advertising blends into the publication or web property more seamlessly. This form of advertising is also highly effective, with 70% of those surveyed citing that they’d rather learn about products through content. 

5.  Leverage Contextual Data for Better Targeting

Advertisers need to reconsider how they reach the right audiences in a cookieless world. Contextual targeting leverages the content of a page to determine the most appropriate placement of an advertisement. This form of advertising can also help brands improve what their brand is associated with (for example: If a beer company wants to be associated with sports).

6. Combine the Power of Digital and Television

Brands don’t have to choose between digital media and television advertising. Instead, companies can leverage both options to create a rich cross-channel strategy that engages customers across a wide variety of touchpoints

7. Don’t Forget About Marketing Attribution 

Last but not least, TEGNA provides actionable results so you can understand exactly how your marketing dollars are working now and in the future. TEGNA Attribution connects TV and OTT viewing habits with engagement metrics such as website visits. This data can be used by clients to prove the value of TV/OTT schedules in driving business results, making optimization decisions, and maximizing the efficiency of paid media. 


TEGNA is a one-stop shop that helps automotive businesses thrive through an unmatched suite of services and solutions that reach consumers through linear broadcast, over-the-top streaming (OTT), and digital solutions. Click here to learn more.

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