Automotive marketing for audio media has just taken a major leap forward. It was announced in early November that the Nielsen Auto Cloud -- the new standard in auto marketing, data and measurement capabilities -- has been licensed by both Westwood One, which reaches 245 million weekly listeners across America, and Panoply Media, leaders in podcast marketing and technology. For marketers this means access to a vast new range of data backed by a powerful marketing and measurement technology. This enables auto brands and their agencies to generate high-reach, high-engagement audio interactions with actual car buyers.
"Auto marketers can now target car buyers across radio, streaming audio and podcast media using recent, detailed and accurate car shopping and purchase data available from Nielsen and J.D. Power," said Damian Garbaccio, Executive Vice President at Nielsen. "This should have a huge impact on marketing performance and, most importantly, car sales."
The Nielsen Auto Cloud, which exclusively leverages J.D. Power's and Nielsen's extensive car shopping and ownership data, launched in August of this year. It marks a sea change in capabilities for automotive marketing. Historically, advertisers have been hamstrung by incomplete and highly dated information about car shoppers, much of it gleaned from DMV records. The Auto Cloud provides daily car buying data and insights across over 250 shopping attributes for real-time, pinpoint targeting at scale. This allows auto marketers to more effectively reach shoppers with the right message based on where they are in the path to purchase.
The fact that both Westwood One and Panoply were quick to add the Auto Cloud's capabilities is a testament both to the power of the Auto Cloud and the foresight of the audio content giants. "We're the first mass reach media company to sign on to the Nielsen Auto Cloud for our industry-leading Westwood One ROI Guarantee audio insights platform," said Suzanne Grimes, Executive Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Cumulus Media and President, Westwood One. "Westwood One can now match AM/FM radio, streaming and podcast audience insights from our weekly audience of a quarter of a billion listeners."
Matt Turck, Chief Revenue Officer at Panoply Media, agreed. "Adding Nielsen Auto Cloud data to Panoply's Megaphone Targeted Marketplace advertising technology gives our automotive clients the ability to target prospective car buyers with even more precision and target by car model, feature sets, lease expirations and more," he said. "Additionally, the ability to match ad exposure to purchase intent gives our clients a clearer lens into the effectiveness of podcast advertising."
These added car-buying insights help Westwood One and Panoply transform how they work with auto OEMS and their agencies. For instance, it is well known that auto shoppers tend to start their journey towards a purchase with a car in mind. This initial desire is built upon many things, including past experiences, but can be influenced by relevant marketing messages. However, new Nielsen data shows that while this is true, as a consumer nears purchase the number of brands they consider actually increases.
As Nate Hutchins, Vice President, Client Strategy, Automotive and co-author of the Nielsen Auto Marketing Report 2018 told me, "Somewhat surprisingly, we also found people don't shop for cars by a simple process of elimination, starting with a list of preferred vehicles and whittling it down. Consumers actually double the number of brands they consider as they get closer purchase."
This finding plays to the strengths of the Nielsen Auto Cloud, as the platform provides what has historically been missing for auto advertisers -- the ability to use current date data and insights to provide highly targeted messaging to a consumer, wherever they are at in the sales cycle. This allows for the messaging to change and become more refined based on wherever consumers are at any given moment and what behaviors they are exhibiting.
And, as Turck pointed out, by combining the Nielsen Auto Cloud capabilities with those of companies like Panoply or Westwood One, marketers now have this type of power at scale. "Today, a majority of podcast advertising is bought contextually against specific podcasts," he noted. "It is effective but not efficient, especially for auto brands that want to reach prospective buyers at scale. We're powering a shift in the way podcast ads are bought and sold, giving advertisers the ability to target audiences by demographics and intent. For example, if an auto brand wants to reach podcast listeners who are 'men and women, ages 18-34, who live in a suburban area and are in the market for a hybrid SUV,' they're now able to do so in an efficient way, thanks to the data from Nielsen Auto Cloud."
Ultimately, these new capabilities support what has been a long-lived trend in marketing: refinement of data, tools and learnings to continue to drive marketing efficiencies. Though there is some validity to the feeling that marketing continues to evolve at a hectic rate, Westwood One, Panoply and Nielsen remind of us a fundamentally important point: The right media companies paired with the right tools are what drive results, and thus these companies are more critical than ever for serving the needs of marketers.
As a marketer myself, I find this very reassuring.
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