Behavior Match: Social Networking and Auto Shoppers

As the strike among the Writer’s Guild of America may be driving viewers away from prime-time TV favorites, automotive marketers are suggesting they are seeking alternative channels to reach prospective customers. Personal social networking sites on the internet are one channel marketers are anxious to better use to their advantage.

Since consumers are already spending time on these sites it is natural for marketers to try to place their product based on target audience for the networking site. We used the Compete Behavior Match product to take a closer look at the other sites visited by automotive brand shoppers in December. Behavior Match indexes overlap of a targeted segment with domains against the general internet population to the same sites. We found some interesting overlap occurring between these sites and brand shoppers:

  • Iyomu.com indexed high for Ford, Chrysler and Chevrolet. This site is targeted at young adults touting itself as the "social networking site for grownups".
  • Imports, Toyota and Honda index very low with blackplanet.com — a social network directed specifically at African-Americans. Chevrolet shared the most visitors with this site.
  • Toyota and Honda indexed highest with mashable.com and friendster.com — sites that target a younger demographic
  • Chrysler shoppers were more likely to visit yuku.com; a site that has grown traffic significantly since June 2007.
  • Female targeted site teamsugar.com indexed high for all the brands but particularly for Chrysler shoppers.
  • Social networking leader myspace.com indexed close to average for all brands with only Chevrolet enjoying a slightly higher share of shoppers in the visitor pool.

By understanding where they currently index high, brands can see what natural associations are occurring or if current advertising is driving shopping behavior. But is volume of overlap the whole story? Are these sites generating engaged referrals?

Looking at December referrals from myspace.com to the automotive brand sites shows a broad range in the engagement of referrals:

  • Toyota, the manufacturer that indexed the lowest with myspace.com had the most engaged referrals, averaging stays of over 8 minutes per visitor. They also had a much lower bounce rate, meaning fewer of their referrals left the site immediately after being referred.
  • Chevrolet had the most referrals from myspace.com but the highest bounce rate at 88%.
  • Chrysler has an interesting position with myspace.com indexing right on average with shared visitors and being middle of the pack for engaging referrals and bounce rate. Perhaps Chrysler is striking the best balance between quantity and quality.

Perhaps this is a fair alternative to prime time television advertising as marketers can target an audience that aligns with their brand and reach consumers shopping for vehicles that utilize social network sites to get "connected."

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