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Why news media puts auto industry into top gear

This is because of two key factors: it offers manufacturer and dealer advertisers scale to prospective buyers while also skewing to high-earning readers who are likely to spend more.

Automotive retailers spent $273 million on newspaper ads in 2016, with Toyota dealers spending the most. The industry’s investment appears to be paying off, with overall new vehicle sales reaching an all-time sales record in 2017, registering 1.19 million cars, an increase of 0.9 per cent from 2016.

Honda Australia’s general manager, customer & communications Scott McGregor says that the medium attracts valuable audiences for the industry.

download (4)“Honda engages news media brands as a core part of our overall media strategy to reach new car buyers across Australia.  It gives us a great ability to reach a large and consistent audience.

“It is capable of driving strong saliency given its reach, and for those publications that can drive customers lower down in the funnel to automotive-specific sub-brands this can also drive strong conversion through to shopping and enquiry.”

Of automotive brands, 12 per cent of total advertising spend1 is in news media. This number jumps to 58 per cent for automotive dealerships, with many of these advertisers engaging with retail call to action advertising.

Auto Insights Graph Jan 2018

This is because automotive dealers can see a physical return on investment in print.

Theo Bakirtzis is the principal dealer of Motors, a large scale dealership in Launceston, Tasmania. The dealership places four full pages of ads each week in the local masthead, occasionally placing more during promotional periods.

Untitled design (28)News media has been a valuable advertising medium for Mr Bakirtzis throughout his career.

“[Advertising in news media] is my background. When I came here [to Motors] we had ceased to do press advertising.

“I had come from a metro Melbourne dealership where we used to consistently be in Cars Guide. We used to measure the calls that came in from those press ads and we used to get a lot of calls. When we didn’t advertise we saw a big lull in our inquiries for the week.

“Here we don’t measure as much. That said, we still get people coming in with the press ad wanting to buy that car or they want to get that offer,” said Mr Bakirtzis.

The benefits in news media for large automotive brands in market, such as Honda, Toyota, Holden and Mazda, is the ability to start a conversation.

News media delivers 855,000 people intending to buy a new car – an impressive number considering that is 94 per cent of the market. Not only that, the medium reaches 96 per cent of those with a personal income of at least $200,000 per annum.

Of the motoring sections, 245,000 prospect new car buyers, 30 per cent intend to spend at least $50,000 on their next purchase. This figure shows brand awareness is important to convert sales.

Auto Insights Graph Jan 2018 2

“The ability to start a conversation around a news topic and extend that into social is also something that some other mediums cannot deliver,” says Mr McGregor.

The ability to target potential buyers through effectively placed advertising improves the chances of automotive brands and dealers of reaching those looking to purchase a car as seen through the motoring sections.

Mr McGregor said that strategic ad placement is important at Honda.

“Understanding customer audiences and key interest areas such as sport, fashion, or technology are crucial to delivering efficient investment and effective engagement. Honda uses analytics to assess the performance of audience groups against content streams, and optimises activity to drive better results.

The added benefit of news media is that it also more accessible to advertisers.

Mr Bakirtzis said the benefit of press is “one, the flexibility and, two, the cost”.

“We can change it at the last minute, it is a lot more flexible. With others you have to get it recorded and spots have to be placed.

“You start to realise those economies of scale.”



Statistical information compiled by Lance Clatworthy


*1 Ebiquity, 2016 Advertisers Report. $$$ of advertising budget spend – offline media excluding Outdoor which is not reported.

*2 emma™ 12 months to Oct 2017. Readership based on last four weeks. Survey conducted by Ipsos Connect, people 14+ ; Nielsen DRM Oct 2017, People 14+ only. Target = Intending to buy a new car in the next 12 months and within that, those intending to spend >= $50k on the new car. Indexes are v Australia Total non-readers of news media = 100 ix.

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