Understanding the Benefits of Advertising on Automotive Research Sites


May 02 09:00 am
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All display advertising is not created equal. The brightest, biggest, and flashiest display banners don’t really mean much (except maybe to graphic designers) if the ads aren’t reaching the advertisers’ target audience, and inspiring those shoppers to convert.

Display advertising, therefore, relies on placement as much as design and call-to-action: serving the right ad, at the right moment, on the right website.

So, what are the “right” websites? New data suggests that dealership ads perform best on automotive research sites.

The data compared dealers who ran ads on automotive research sites through our Premium Display network with those who ran campaigns only on general interest sites. To track performance, it focused on two key performance indicators, click-through rate and view-through rate:


  • The click-through rate (CTR) is a ratio that shows how often people who see an ad end up clicking on it. It’s the most direct-from-customer measurement used to gauge how well ads are performing.
  • The view-through rate (VTR) measures the number of completed views of an ad, over the number of first-time impression, and tracks shopper activity within the next 40 hours using web browser cookies. Because this metric helps account for shoppers’ actions regardless of whether they clicked the ad or not, VTR is extremely valuable. It accounts for a given user’s entire trackable browsing history, not just his or her “clicks.”


Here were the key findings:

1) Premium sites yield a higher click-through rate.

Breaking down these metrics, it’s plain to see that advertising on premium auto research sites could yield dealers a significantly better click-through rate (nearly two times higher).

Data based on our national network of dealers using Premium Display versus Network Display alone.

2) Premium sites provide a better view-through rate.

Compared to those using general-interest Network Display alone, view-through rates were vastly greater for dealers advertising on premium auto research sites (almost 2,000 percent more).

3) Premium network ads net a lower overall cost per viewed vehicle details page (VDP).

Premium Display is also going to have a 38 percent lower cost per VDP and 51 percent lower cost per website visit. The combined effect of better click-through and view-through rates equals more value for your money, whether browsers are visiting VDPs or your site in general.


Premium Display Advertising works so well because it’s effective for both shoppers who actively click on ads, and passive shoppers who don’t click on ads but are “impressed” enough to find your website later, or “view-through.” By reaching this valuable mid-sales funnel audience of in-market shoppers, Premium Display is essentially delivering the vehicles customers want to the places they are looking online.

While Premium Display Advertising is proven to work, it shouldn’t be the only part of your media mix. Rather, it should be combined with your general interest Network Display campaigns, potentially reaching shoppers across 99% of the web, whether they click-through or view-through your display advertisements.

Chris Remuzzi is the Manager of Advertising Performance at Dealer.com

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