Study: Auto Companies Like Rich Media

Automotive marketers are some of the most prolific users of rich media in online advertising technology, according to new findings from Nielsen//NetRatings .

The research, compiled by NetRatings’ AdRelevance unit, found that auto manufacturers’ rich media ads accounted for 37.4 percent of all of that industry’s ad impressions during second quarter — nearly 10 times the 3.9 percent average across all industries.

It’s the fourth consecutive quarter in which auto manufacturers have been responsible for the greatest number of rich media impressions.

During second quarter, the business-to-business category came in at a distant No. 2, with 12 percent of the impressions purchased by B2B firms using some form of rich media. Entertainment marketers spent about 9 percent of their impressions on rich media, followed by telecom and consumer packaged goods firms, who allocated about 8 percent of their spending to rich media.

Among automotive advertisers, Ford purchased the highest percentage of rich media ads — 22 percent of the industry’s entire media buy. Much of Ford’s spend was concentrated on campaigns supporting the Ford Expedition (comprising 19.4 percent of total industry spending), in addition to smaller buys supporting the Jaguar S-Type and Ford Mercury Marauder.

Toyota and General Motors followed with 6.8 percent and 5.7 percent of total industry spending, respectively. Toyota threw most of its rich media dollars behind the Corolla while GM focused primarily on the Saturn LS.

The findings would seem to serve as another indication for the branding potential of rich media — or at least that Web publishers are succeeding in pitching the format to the automotive industry. Auto manufacturers typically spend the majority of their advertising dollars in product line- or vehicle-specific branding, while at the same time, it’s believed — and widely touted by online ad groups like the Interactive Advertising Bureau — that rich media advertising is more effective at building brand awareness, message recall and purchasing intent than static formats.

The findings are good news for the online advertising and publishing sector, who are looking to woo big-budgeted offline advertisers to the Internet, citing its branding effectiveness.

“Industry-watchers looking for a signal of renewed vivacity in the online ad industry will be tracking publishers who successfully sell rich media to clients,” said Charles Buchwalter, vice president of client analytics at Milpitas, Calif.-based Nielsen//NetRatings. “As bigger publishers incorporate rich media into their advertising strategy, we should see more traction within other industry segments.”

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