Chicago—November 27, 2006—Nearly two-thirds of car dealers said they will increase their online advertising budgets in 2007, a recent Cars.com dealer poll found.
The results echo online advertising expenditures reported by eMarketer.com, which expects car dealers nationwide to spend $1.9 billion on Internet marketing in 2006--more than twice what they spent in 2004. The group projects a 42 percent increase in 2007.
In the October issue of Cars.com's monthly DealerADvantage newsletter, dealers were asked to share their advertising plans for the new year. More than 20 percent said they will maintain their current spending levels, while 18 percent expect to spend less.
"Dealers increasingly recognize the value of Internet advertising and the exceptional return on investment it offers, particularly when compared to radio, outdoor and direct mail programs," said Mitch Golub, president of Cars.com. "Unlike these other media, effectively placed Internet advertising reaches more in-market car buyers and drives more high-quality traffic to dealer stores."
Gains in online advertising reflect gains in online automotive Internet users (AIU), Golub said. He noted that consumers now spend as much as 30 percent of their media time online.
"Dealers increasingly rely on the Internet for the innovative, cost-effective marketing tools that no other medium can deliver to merchandise their inventory and build brand awareness," Golub said. "As more car shoppers spend more time on the Web looking for automotive information, dealers should invest in well-integrated Internet campaigns to reach shoppers across the full spectrum of their online activities. Effective programs include lead generation, display advertising, classified listings and search engine marketing to provide dealers with the greatest online reach and visibility."
To help dealers better leverage their online investments, Cars.com will discuss online display advertising during its next DealerADvantage LIVE training session at noon ET on Dec. 8. The free, 45-minute event focuses on how dealers can cost-effectively brand their stores, merchandise their inventory and complement their Internet listings with dynamic and targeted display ads. Dealers can register for the training session or get more information by clicking on the DealerADvantage LIVE link at http://dealeradvantage.cars.com.
About Cars.com Partnered with more than 200 leading metro newspapers, television stations and their websites, Cars.com is the most comprehensive destination for those looking to buy or sell a new or used car. The site lists more than 1.8 million vehicles from 12,000 dealer customers, classified advertisers and private parties to offer consumers the best selection of new and used cars online, as well as the content, tools and advice to support their shopping experience. Recently selected by Forbes.com as a Best of the Web site for car shopping, Cars.com combines powerful inventory search tools and new-car configuration with pricing information, photo galleries, buying guides, side-by-side comparison tools, original editorial content and reviews to help millions of car shoppers connect with sellers each month.
Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).