ValueClick Soups Up Auto Offerings with Jumpstart Partnership

If automotive advertisers want to reach in-market car buyers on vehicle-related sites, they have a few well-worn choices. A new partnership between ValueClick Media and Jumpstart Automotive Media could help car marketers expand their options, by helping them reach the people who visit car sites while they’re surfing other places.

Under the terms of the deal, the vertical auto site network will exclusively manage ad sales to car manufacturers, dealers and industry associations for ValueClick. In addition to offering contextually-targeted ads and lead generation, the alignment allows auto advertisers to behaviorally-target buyers who have visited either car brand sites or Jumpstart network sites by serving them ads throughout the broader ValueClick network.

“This is a match between what I call a horizontal network with a vertical network,” commented ValueClick General Manager Dave Yovanno, who noted that ValueClick hasn’t focused on automotive sites much in the past.

“I might not be able to advertise Honda on the Toyota Rav4 page, but I can identify people who shopped for that in the Jumpstart network and target them throughout the ValueClick network,” suggested Meridee Alter, SVP media director at RPA. Alter works on the Honda account for the independent media agency, and buys media directly from auto site publishers as well as from Jumpstart.

In addition, when a user has demonstrated an interest in a particular vehicle or type of vehicle when visiting Jumpstart network sites such as Vehix.com and NADAguides.com, advertisers can retarget them on ValueClick sites. Advertisers can also behaviorally target specific users through sequential ads.

“Auto advertisers have become enamored of behavioral targeting,” observed JupiterResearch analyst Emily Riley, who believes the partnership will help ValueClick gain an edge in the auto vertical where “there’s a big crunch for inventory.” Riley was lead analyst on the research firm’s recent “Effective Targeting” study, which found that advertisers will almost double their use of behavioral targeting from about 13 percent to 25 percent next year.

According to the arrangement, ValueClick is Jumpstart’s preferred partner; however, the company can go to other networks if more inventory is needed. “This is a way for the marketer to extend reach and frequency in a very targeted environment,” said Jumpstart CEO Mitch Lowe. He added that when it comes to contextual advertising in auto sections of portal sites, advertisers are being priced out of the market.

Jupiter’s Riley mentioned that the network partnership will serve advertisers with both branding and direct response objectives. Concerned about negative brand impact, brand advertisers have long been leery of using ad networks because they typically aren’t told where their ads are running. According to ValueClick’s Yovanno, about 80 percent of the network’s 13,500 sites can be made known to advertisers.

Auto advertisers also place a lot of importance on being able to “conquest” or run ads on pages featuring a competitor’s brand. “There’s a limited amount of auto inventory for advertisers, especially when it comes to conquesting,” said RPA’s Alter. Jumpstart’s Lowe noted that conquest ads are only served to consumers visiting auto research sites, not when visiting original equipment manufacturer sites.

ValueClick is “definitely looking into” developing a travel vertical network in the future, according to Yovanno; yet, he expects the company won’t go beyond adding three more vertical networks.

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