We asked a group of people,
“If you were in the market to buy a new car, how would you make your decision?”
1 in 20 responded by saying they’d rely on press coverage and car reviews. The other 5% said they’d buy a Tesla. (Welcome to Silicon Valley, I guess?)
This is consistent with a Nielsen study showing that expert reviews lift purchase consideration 38% more than user reviews and 83% more than branded content. Simply put, earned editorials are the single most effective asset in your marketing kit.
When a new car model launches, a whirlwind of PR activity is kicked off to tout the latest and greatest, starting with the first announcement and culminating with the actual vehicle launch. Within weeks, PR volume is dialed back, and replaced by an advertising megaphone.
But wait? Didn’t we just say that earned editorials are the single most effective asset in the creative arsenal? How can you repurpose this content, and extend its shelf life to more effectively reach and convert buyers?
The answer is deceptively simple: use paid media (native/social ads + content recommendation) to boost earned editorials, targeting prospective buyers.
Here are 4 Reasons Why Every Automaker Should Amplify Earned Editorial Coverage
1. The news cycle is shrinking.
You can’t simply rely on “organic” discovery of your PR coverage anymore. The mainstream news cycle is catching up to real-time media like twitter. Get a great press hit and by midday, new stories have pushed yours down to the bottom of the page. Jason Stein, CEO of agency Laundry Service recently told Buzzfeed News, “You now have to take that review and promote it to 10 times or 20 times of the publisher’s audience.” This is really the only way to guarantee reach and exposure of your most valuable asset - earned editorial coverage and reviews.
2. Earned coverage is relevant to a new prospect at any time, even if it’s “old news.”
After the buzz dies down from CES and the big auto show, press coverage and reviews remain relevant and meaningful to the buyer who’s in-market come July. Mix up your consumer touch-points by adding earned editorials to the mix. Combine 1st and 3rd party data with native/social ads to expose in-market buyers to positive reviews of your current models. Native/social ads are a natural fit for editorial content : this is the closest advertising gets to a truly native content experience. Drive awareness and recall via impactful headline copy that sticks. For lower funnel marketing, utilize headline/descriptions combinations that highlight differentiated features of your nameplates. We recommend an evergreen amplification strategy for vehicle reviews.
3. Prequalify individual buyers based on their engagement with editorial content. And conversely, retarget site visitors with positive editorials to get them across the finish line.
Campaign results tell us that users who engage with editorial reviews and press coverage (via content boosting) are more likely to complete vehicle configuration quotes. This makes intuitive sense; someone who clicks on and reads a review of the Dodge Ram is likely either a truck enthusiast or qualified buyer. The latter reflects obvious value while the former is a potential champion whom you’d want to nurture.
There are two forms of potential value that reflect different stages of the marketing funnel:
- Impressions of native/social ads (used to boost positive earned editorials) help raise awareness. Not all impressions convert to clicks, but it’s worth noting here that even native/social ad impressions meant to promote editorials drive positive awareness. The creatives typically feature quoted endorsements for headline and description copy. Prospective buyers aren’t just made aware of your car model, they know that The Verge endorses your take on the touchscreen panel.
- If and when a user clicks through to view your editorial coverage, their level of engagement reflects their degree of interest and intent. Someone who clicks on three reviews, and spends several minutes engaging with each is a more qualified prospect than a bounced viewer. These signals can activate your programmatic ad stack to be more effective, specific and responsive. For example, retarget this prequalified segment with a more DR-focused message, e.g. regional dealer sales events, or test-drive CTA.
4. Opportunity to position as a leader brand.
The automotive industry is undergoing a major renaissance in technology, from new mobility solutions and autonomous vehicles to AI and clean tech. More than ever, it’s important for both prospective buyers and loyalists to know that you’re keeping up with the latest in these areas.
While your comms teams are likely working hard to get your innovation stories out there, there’s no guarantee your news will reach targeted buyers, strategic partners, or the investment community. Use native/social ads to expose this coverage to consumers, and here’s a pro tip: leverage LinkedIn sponsored posts to ensure that your corporate comms including IR reaches targeted professionals such as investors. These are stories you don’t want them to miss, so don’t leave it to chance — take control.