Former Hyundai CMO Says Auto Brands Spend Too Much on TV
In the latest edition of Ad Age’s “Marketer’s Brief” podcast, Evans explains why Google isn’t effective. His arguments include findings detailed in a report by auto industry consultant Brian Pasch which concludes that dealerships do not effectively measure Google search ad results. Notably, Pasch argues that leads generated through search ads are often simple calls to a dealership for service requests, not calls about buying cars. “Google Ads generates a mix of sales and service buyers, with the most results converting for the service,” according to the report.
The result, Evans said, is that Google ads are overpriced and have “reduced the effectiveness of what you think you can do with Google on search and paid search engines today.” It’s just mind-blowing.
In response to a request from Ad Age regarding the report, Google said, “This report contains inaccurate statements. Our sales teams help auto agencies, dealerships and OEMs [automakers] Send relevant messages to large-scale car buyers and tie Google Ads investments to dealership business goals. We are dedicated to their continued success and provide immense resources, training and support to agencies that directly manage their clients’ campaigns and reports.
A Google representative referred to its “Dealer Guidebook,” which includes a case study showing that a Chevrolet dealer used the company’s Smart Bidding product to optimize spending, resulting in an 185% increase store visits.
What about the Super Bowl?
Evans’ advice to automakers and dealers is to focus more advertising money on the people who actually buy cars. Television, he says, is generally not the place to do it. “If you really want to have a competitive advantage as a [auto brand], do marketing in front of the people who shop every day and make it a priority in the marketing mix. Don’t spend it all on TV, ”he says.
Cars.com launched Fuel in 2020, positioning the digital video advertising service as a better alternative to what it says is $ 9.7 billion spent on television advertising in the U.S. auto market. “More than 50% of US automotive ad spend is on traditional untargeted TV – well above the global industry average across all categories – even though consumers are spending more time on mobile devices than on traditional TV and consume content from various social platforms and streaming applications, ” Cars.com said at the time.
Of course, Evans spent a lot of money on TV while he was marketing director at Hyundai from 2015 to 2019 when he left for Cars.com. He says the television still works, if used correctly. TV ads should “stay above the daily sales fray” and focus on inspiring people, he says. “Under the covers, you’re marketing like hell,” he says, referring to digital tactics that directly target people who actively buy cars.
Evans also still believes in Super Bowl commercials. “Every once in a while you have to be in front of everyone to give them your point of view – make them laugh, make them cry,” he says. “Not to mention that consumers all know that it takes large fluctuating budgets to be [on the Super Bowl]. So if you have a big budget you have to be big enough that I want to pay attention to it. And so there is a certain “psychology” to… being there. “