Awareness Drives 90% of Vehicle Sales

BY Rachel Cagle
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Nielsen released findings that revealed the dizzying array of choices car buyers confront along their path to purchase. The Nielsen Auto Marketing Report 2018 shows that by the time car shoppers are ready to buy, they have twice as many brands under consideration than when they started their search. Findings from the report also highlight the importance of being top-​of-​mind with car buyers, which accounts for 90% of a brand's purchase intent.

"When it comes to automotive brand building, quality awareness is more important than quantity. Brands need to build salience and relevance with consumers, not awareness for awareness' sake," said Damian Garbaccio, EVP at Nielsen. "To account for the nuances in a buyers path to purchase, automotive marketers need to employ an omni-​channel strategy. This means cohesive messaging that elevates the brand and converts shoppers into buyers. You need the right combination of buyer-​based data, technology and measurement capabilities to make this happen, something our recently launched Nielsen Auto Cloud fueled by J.D. Power excels at."  

Indeed, 23.8% of New Car/​Truck Shoppers believe stores that advertise are typically better than those that don't and 21.1% think advertising isn't as creative as it used to be, according to AudienceSCAN. They're also 57% more likely than other adults to find advertising on their mobile apps useful to them and 24% more likely to feel the same way about advertisements on social networks. This group is active on social networks such as Facebook (84%), YouTube (62.6%), Instagram (48.4%) and Twitter (47.1%).

The report provides deep insight into the car buyer's path to purchase. It looks at how advertising, demographics and brand market share impact buying behavior. This helps auto brands and their agencies develop more informed strategies that improve marketing effectiveness.

  • 90% of all purchase intent is due to unaided, or top-​of-​mind, awareness
  • Car shoppers with unaided brand awareness have 10X the purchase intent as those with only aided awareness
  • 71% of car shoppers recall the advertising they see on linear TV in the final days of shopping
  • Purchase consideration for social media users is 25% higher than non-​social media users
  • Millennial purchase consideration nearly doubles during their car buying journey
  • Large brands have four to five times unaided brand awareness of smaller brands, leading to three to four times the purchase consideration

This year's report makes it clear that auto marketers need to build deeper connections with consumers and balance brand building (for top-​of-​mind awareness) with customer acquisition tactics to encourage purchase decisions late in the buying process. It takes a more media agnostic, customer-​first marketing approach to build these connections long before prospects are actively in the market for a new vehicle.

Since awareness is the key to vehicle sales, advertisers need to spread their ads over a number of media types. Last year, according to AudienceSCAN, New Car/​Truck Shoppers took action after seeing TV commercials (72.1%), receiving email ads (58.8%) and seeing newspaper ads (59.7%). They're also 39% more likely than other adults to click on text link ads on websites and, last year, 56.1% took action after receiving a text ad or seeing an advertisement on their mobile smartphone apps.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.