What's next for Automotive advertising in India - Lifesight Blog - Thought Leadership on Location Intelligence

Until recently, Indian automotive industry has pursued a largely traditional approach to marketing and advertising. They did their roadshows and made legendary TVCs that touched heartstrings and roped in awards. They were creative, sure. But they hadn’t quite reached the sweet spot where media, creative, and technology converged to truly be effective. To be sure, this aligned well with the nature of this purchase- for most Indians automotive purchase was a momentous occasion, right up there with property and marriage. Momentous occasions called for momentous, festival- or event-based advertising. However, a lot has changed since then.

The changing face of automotive advertising in India

Growing wages and higher disposable income has led to a drastic commoditization of the consumer auto segment. Couple this with rising internet access and growth of digital commerce and the net result is a complete transformation of automotive advertising where digital is no longer tactical but a strategic imperative.

The biggest shift in automotive advertising has been in the platforms. While TV still gets a large portion of ad spends, automotive brands are gearing towards mobile platforms at an unprecedented pace. The statistics speak for themselves –

80% of automotive pre-purchase engagement activity happens through mobile devices

50% of consumers already make their choices of brand and models online, before even stepping into a dealership

• As per a recent IAMAI report, automotive sector spent nearly 17% of its advertising budget on digital- and the trend is expected to intensify further in 2018.

• Further, double-digit growth for mobile is predicted over the next few years; by 2021, mobile will account for just under 62% of digital ad spending’s $2.80 billion

All of this to say that Indian auto marketers are not just getting increasingly mobile- and digital-savvy, they are redirecting their marketing dollars into it. But does that solve everything?

It takes more than redirecting ad dollars to digital and mobile

Sure, the first step of any advertising and marketing transformation is to start with the baby steps of redirecting ad dollars to new media and channels. Given that this transformation has only just started in India, measurement frameworks are still far from mature. Marketers are experimenting with every new platform that promises to help them thrive in a cluttered and cutthroat auto environment with little thought being given to effectiveness metrics..

Most of the mobile advertising measurement is still strongly and single-mindedly focused on metrics like clicks, views, and impressions – none of which mean business and definitely not for a high value purchase like auto. The truth is that auto buyers and auto enthusiasts are at par with each other and a click, view, and impression pretty much only signals enthusiasm and interest. What are the odds that a seemingly effective mobile campaign for a new car launch – measured of course by clicks – will convert to a sale in the near- to mid-term future? Let’s be honest, the odds aren’t that great!

Before the auto industry gets in over its head with ad wastage and flounders precious budgets on creative and messaging that don’t always work and metrics that mean little, they need to get their hands on a measurement and attribution framework that works. Further, such a framework would provide the much needed vindication for CMO’s digital shift as they fine tune their campaigns and derive superior ROI from digital.

But what framework is this, exactly?

It is one that signals the effectiveness of a mobile auto campaign in ways that mean business – checking out a roadshow or a brand showroom, going on a test drive. Basically, anything that indicates a stronger intent to make a purchase in the near- to mid-term future.

One of the most effective ways to achieve such depth and precision in marketing effectiveness is to include location data in the attribution and measurement frameworks. Simply put, when an auto marketer has on its hand a set of customers who checked out a car showroom, test drive, or roadshow as a result of a mobile campaign, it has two more data sets in hand –

• Consumers that are serious about making a purchase

• Effectiveness of its mobile creative and messaging

From that point onwards, both retargeting and personalization of mobile campaigns gets far more targeted and effective, leading to less ad wastage. Sounds simple enough? That’s why it is about time car brands started investing a part of its marketing budget on better, more effective measurement. We have the tools and techniques to help you do it.

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