Toyota Raises Consideration Locally

Regional Marketer Successful in First Digital Display Campaign

Background

In the automotive industry, Tier II — otherwise known as Regional Dealer Associations (RDA) — has only just begun its quest to understand and incorporate digital media effectively into its marketing mix. When an RDA goes to market with a media program, it's traditionally a cooperative effort between the dealers that exist in the regional market and representatives from the manufacturer. These efforts are often times funded cooperatively by both the dealers and the OEM. Historically these funds were used to promote the dealer associations through local cable, newspaper and radio media outlets. Only recently has the Tier II assembly embarked on efforts in the digital medium.

Jumpstart Automotive Media has worked with hundreds of RDAs over the past two-plus years to encourage and influence the utilization of digital media, specifically digital media geared toward in-market auto shoppers. We've devised and executed over 300 Tier II digital media programs for RDAs from Ford, Honda, Toyota, General Motors, Chrysler and numerous others.

Toyota's Southern California (Los Angeles) Dealer Association recently piloted its first digital display media program with Jumpstart and a variety of other digital partners. Jumpstart followed the performance of the Toyota brand in the Los Angeles market to understand and report on the impact that this pilot in-market campaign had on auto shopping behavior and consideration. While the agencies involved were measuring actions that existed solely on the Toyota dealer association website, we focused on the nearly half a million shoppers per month In the Los Angeles DMA that browsed Jumpstart's properties. The results are documented in the study that follows.

Study Objectives

  • To demonstrate the direct impact on vehicle shopping and market share within a region that can be achieved with an effectively placed in-market program, which effectively influences consideration and purchase intent.
  • To prove that online in-market media is an excellent alternative to typical traditional media outlets utilized by Tier II advertisers.

Campaign Details

The Toyota Southern California Dealer Association, with the help of its agencies Davis Ellen and Saatchi & Saatchi, launched the campaign in mid-February of 2009, and continued through the middle of May. The Jumpstart media program of nearly three million impressions included a mix of Toyota make and model page targeting, category-relevant behavioral targeting, and general media targeted to the Southern California market.

Highlights of Results

Toyota's consideration in the Los Angeles DMA improved markedly from March through June:

  • 51% more in-market shoppers were researching Toyotas into the month following the campaign (the L.A. market overall grew by only 14%)
  • 41% more Toyota pages were viewed by in-market shoppers during the same period
  • Toyota's share of shoppers in the market increased by as much as 33%
  • From Feb. through June, Toyota's share of leads submitted on Jumpstart's sites in the Southern California market increased by a compound average of 60%, while Honda and Nissan's share tumbled, down 24% and 32%, respectively.
  • Toyota maintained the highest share of leads among key competitors in March and June in the L.A. market

Toyota's Consideration Experienced a Major Boost During Its Online Campaign with Jumpstart: We first examined the number of shoppers in the market that considered Toyota on Jumpstart's properties and how that grew during the course of the campaign, as well as the level of engagement those shoppers had with Toyota's brand pages. As is shown in Table 1.1, Toyota's consideration was stable in the month of February (the campaign began in the 2nd half of Feb.), but began to fall in March during a tough automotive market. The regional association's continued online presence in the market improved consideration throughout the course of the campaign, growing shoppers by 19% from March to April (12% more engagement),and climbing to its highest point in May with a lift of 32% in shopping from March and up 16% in engagement.

The message and presence of Toyota's dealer association marketing also had a lasting effect on Jumpstart shoppers, as Toyota's consideration continued to grow in the L.A. market into the month of June (the campaign ended in the back half of May), growing by 14% in shoppers and 22% in engagement. The compound growth of shoppers and engagement during and after this program (from March through June) was in effect 51% and 41%, respectively, while shoppers in the L.A. market grew only 14% during the same period and engagement only 10%. This consistent, positive growth demonstrates the effectiveness of simply maintaining a presence on Jumpstart's properties and the direct impact it has on the way people shop for cars in a given market. (See Tables 1.1 and 1.2)

Table 1.1: Toyota's growth in consideration in the L.A. market

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Table 1.2: Toyota's growth in L.A. vs. the entire market

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*Shopping Demand Index represents a collection of data points including users, usage, and pages viewed

Toyota Consistently Captured Shopping Share and Improved its Competitive Position in the Market Throughout the Program: We analyzed the share of shopping activity that took place on Jumpstart's sites throughout the campaign and into the month following it. After a strong February (8.1% share), Toyota's (and many of their competitors') share fell in the month of March to 5.9%, as the auto industry was feeling the effects of the depressed economy, Which made new car shopping a low priority for consumers.

While Toyota's share in Feb. was at its highest point in this analysis, Toyota remained second to Honda during that month. But as the Southern California dealer association's campaign grew in voice and volume, so did Toyota's share and rank, as it climbed into the No. 1 position in the L.A. market in April, increasing its share by 13% (Honda's share grew by only 3% in this period while the remaining competitors stayed flat).

Toyota's campaign impact was felt yet again in May, when its share went up to 7.3% (despite falling back to 2nd behind Honda), marking a 9% lift from April to May. The lasting effect of the campaign was demonstrated in June, as Toyota's share jumped to 7.9%, good for another 8% lift, shooting back up to the top spot in the market and its widest gap. During the same period Honda's share in L.A. dropped by 10%. Throughout the campaign, Nissan's share began a precipitous fall in the L.A. market on Jumpstart's properties, which could partially be attributed to Toyota's online presence with Jumpstart.

Overall, Toyota's share of shopping in the market was highly favorable during and shortly after their digital campaign with Jumpstart, netting a compound growth of 34% through June, emphasizing the conquesting opportunity that online media presents even at the regional level. Toyota was able to steer consumers' consideration from other manufacturers by messaging an in-market audience in what's already a very saturated dealer market. (See Table 2.1)

Table 2.1: Toyota's growth in share of shopping and competitive rank in the L.A. market

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More consumers in the Southern California region submitted request-a-quote leads for Toyota than Chevy, Ford & Nissan combined.

Online Campaign Drove L.A. In-Market Shoppers To Submit A Greater Share of Toyota Leads: When analyzing the lead submissions for the Toyota brand, the online campaign with Jumpstart demonstrated a direct impact on consumers' decision at the very bottom of the funnel. In fact, more consumers in the Southern California region submitted request-a-quote leads on Jumpstart's properties for Toyota than Chevy, Ford and Nissan combined during the period of analysis.

The low-funnel impact continued when examining Toyota's growth in share of leads throughout the program in the L.A. market. Toyota possessed the highest share in March and June, with clear leadership in June thanks to ownership of over 20% of the market's leads. This was a true testament to the lasting effect of its online campaign with Jumpstart. In this example, Jumpstart shoppers had been exposed to the Toyota brand for the months leading up to June, and furthered their shopping path by requesting quotes at a higher rate in June than any other competitor.

In sheer volume, Toyota's leads grew by 52% from Feb. to March, and then by 42% from May to June, for a total compound growth of 29%. This established growth in the lowest funnel activity that can be achieved online further proves the value of Toyota's online campaign with Jumpstart in the L.A. market. (See Table 3.1).

Table 3.1: Toyota's growth in share of leads throughout the campaign

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Online Presence in the Market May Have Impacted Toyota's Share of Vehicle Sales Following the Southern California TDA's First Digital Display Campaign: Though vehicle sales cannot be directly attributed to online advertising for the purpose of this analysis, it is interesting to note the activity that occurred in the Los Angeles market during this time period and shortly thereafter. Using Polk industry sales data, we have identified vehicle sales among Toyota and key competitors in the Los Angeles market from pre-campaign periods to post-campaign. With sales often lagging thirty-plus days from when online shopping occurs, we included July sales in the data set to account for the lag after the June 30 campaign end date. Table 4.1 below demonstrates how Toyota's share grew nearly 7.5% from pre-campaign (February) to post-campaign (July) levels. Over the same period, Honda's share of vehicle sales in Los Angeles dropped nearly 7% and Nissan remained flat.

Table 4.1: Toyota's Share of Vehicle Sales in Los Angeles Grows Ahead of Competitors and the Market

Brand Share in Los Angeles Feb-09 Jul-09 % Variance
Toyota 21.7% 23.3% 7.4%
Honda 14.5% 13.5% -6.9%
Nissan 6.5% 6.5% 0.0%

Summary

The findings from this study demonstrate that the impact of a regional campaign on Jumpstart's properties goes well beyond clicks, post-event activities or proprietary leads — in-market shopping patterns are also strongly influenced.

The measures uncovered here prove that there is significant value in reaching in-market shoppers regionally that other mediums cannot deliver.

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