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Ian Cruickshank

Ian Cruickshank VP of Sales and Marketing

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Automotive Advertising for Dealerships Using Data Driven Display Ad Solutions

ea5b7f77db1bfc59338f94e12a245dc5.png?t=1In this day and age, marketing technology has made advertising for dealerships inventory increasingly more sophisticated. Dealerships, Data, and Display Ads are more closely linked than ever. But, it can be challenging to understand this form of advertising and how it works. An important part of understanding why car dealerships and dynamic inventory advertising are a good fit is to learn about how advertisers use layered data to help make advertising more effective.


What Is Layered Data?

Programmatic advertising refers to a systematic method of purchasing and dynamically serving advertising that leads to a reduced cost and greater ROI for advertisers. Programmatic advertising gives your dealership a more targeted advertising focus than other advertising methods. A dynamically delivered programmatic approach gives car dealerships an advertising campaign that shows the right vehicles to the right people at the right time. In an Adweek article from November 2013, former VP at NBCUniversal, Peter Naylor, calls programmatic advertising the “newer, better mousetrap” of the advertising industry.


Why Does Programmatic Advertising Help Auto Dealerships?

Programmatic advertising and car dealerships are a good fit because of the very specific way that people shop for cars online. In many cases, prospective car buyers use something called “long tail” search terms. These are search terms that are much longer than the common keyword searches that SEO marketers target in their marketing efforts. It is challenging for dealerships to engage these prospects through traditional online marketing methods. This is where programmatic advertising’s layered data approach becomes very important. Using the breadcrumbs of data left behind by car buyers as they travel through the path-to-purchase, enables the intelligent delivery of display ads with the right content.


How To Get Ready For Programmatic Advertising?

The first step for dealers that want to use programmatic inventory advertising is to make sure they have their vehicle inventory well merchandised and up to date on their website. This will ensure that the vehicle inventory displayed in dynamic inventory ads look their best. Then you need to get your inventory into the programatic ad system. Depending on the advertising company you are working with, this is typically done automatically and it is constantly updated, since a dealership’s available inventory will change on a daily basis, as cars move on and off the lot. 


What Data Is Used In The Process?

Car buyers who are searching for cars in your inventory will be shown your advertisements based on several important data criteria. Here are a few examples of the kind of layered data that programmatic advertising takes into account for car dealerships:

  •     Which websites and vehicles the user is reading reviews on
  •     What vehicles are being compared in their research
  •     The vehicle a user searches for in listings 
  •     Other historical browsing activity
  •     Where the user is located
  •     Etc.


How The Automotive Industry Could Promote Programmatic Advertising?

Another reason car dealerships and programmatic advertising are excellent together is because of the unique structure of the industry. When leveraged correctly, this structure facilitates partnerships that can lead to greater profitability across every level of the automotive industry’s distribution model. The typical way we break down the parties involved in the automotive industry is the three tiers: manufacturers (OEMs), regional dealership groups, and local dealers. Programmatic advertising has seen immense growth already, but according to an article in eMarketer from January 2014, the continued growth of this trend in advertising depends on partnerships between groups in the three tiers. Individual dealers will rely on regional groups and manufacturers to support them with sophisticated, approved, advertising networks that account for modern digital marketing principles. Conversely, local dealerships will play an important role in the promoting of specific vehicle inventory with more tightly targeted advertising tools. A concerted effort across the industry, to combine the available data, would lead to greater access to the information that is used in programmatic advertising, which would in turn, lead to greater effectiveness of overall campaigns.


About Ian Cruickshank

Ian has spent over 10 years in Marketing and Digital Advertising. His early days were spent with two of the largest media companies in Canada in sales and sales-leadership roles. In recent years he has spent his time both consulting on digital disruption and as the head of sales and marketing for a social media marketing firm in Vancouver, BC. As the VP of Sales & Marketing for Speed Shift Media, he is the head of all revenue generating activities. With a Masters in Business and IT Management and as an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia, he is regularly called on to present and lecture on a variety of Information Technology and Digital Marketing concepts. Most of all he loves to be outside with his wife and his young family in Port Moody, BC. Feel free to contact him directly @Ian_Cruickshank or

Timothy Martell
The guys over at Dealer Inspire have been doing this for over a year. One of only 2 website providers we recommend to our clients. Also, I am not compensated in anyway for that opinion. They're just the best we've found so far.
Ian Cruickshank
Great to hear - I’d love to chat with them and I’m in Chicago in two weeks. Who would be the best person to meet with? Or you can have them contact me directly:
Timothy Martell
Joe Chura, CEO. I'll shoot you both an e-mail now.

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