In June and July, 652,000 households in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas saw at least twice as many TV ads promoting summertime deals on the Toyota Camry as others in the region.
Not only did Gulf States Toyota target these households specifically based on data showing they were in-market car shoppers, the regional Toyota office measured whether the addressable ads led to an increase in foot traffic to dealerships by directly tracking when anonymized mobile devices associated with the targeted households showed up in stores.
Now, with a newly redesigned Camry set to launch nationally this August, Gulf States Toyota is planning sales events to sell the remainder of its 2016 stock of the sedan, and that means a similarly sophisticated targeting and measurement effort will be in place this summer. This time, the regional office may even try to target only people who have shown an interest in buying a sedan, if feasible.
"As a regional office, it's so critical for us to be hyper-targeted," said Summer Craig, Gulf States Toyota's senior manager of integrated media, noting that the pinpointed ad buy shows dealers "we're really thinking through how we're spending our money."
Last year's campaign marked the first time the privately-owned regional Toyota office ran addressable TV advertising, and was "definitely the first time that we had held any kind of media accountable to physically going into a dealership," Craig said. The regional office acts as a wholesaler and middleman among around 150 Toyota sellers, managing inventory, assisting in dealer relations and running marketing campaigns that do not mention specific dealerships.
Three key players
The process involved three key players: audience data provider Experian, addressable TV ad seller AT&T AdWorks and mobile location data firm NinthDecimal.
First, AT&T, which offers DirecTV inventory, imported audience data associated with in-market car shoppers from data broker Experian. Following some refinement tests, 652,000 households were determined as the target audience. During the campaign run, those households were shown up to three times the number of ads others in the non-targeted audience were, accommodating advertiser rules for optimal frequency, and ensuring ads didn't run back-to-back, for example.
"Essentially what we did with this is we increased frequency to households that were shopping," Craig said.
The ads ran in DirecTV inventory and featured Toyota's familiar spokeswoman, Jan, trying to convince an enthusiastic shopper that in the Camry 1 Summer Sales Event, there are actually more than just one Camry left to buy. A heavy TV watcher in Dallas, for example, might have seen the spot run two to three times each day over a six-week period.
The campaign results showed that the ads sparked 19 percent more Toyota dealership visits from those targeted compared with the control group. NinthDecimal also found that 80 percent of visitors traveled 10 miles or fewer between their homes and the dealership.
When it comes to measuring whether the advertiser's partners are helping to find in-market car shoppers, said Brent Hillyer, Gulf States Toyota's vice president of marketing, "This is the most effective way we've seen yet."
Following the campaign, NinthDecimal provided data including device IDs associated with the households in the DMAs targeted and whether those devices were present at a Toyota dealership to Experian and AT&T. From there, the information was matched against data showing which households were exposed to the Camry 1 event ads. The result was a hashed file that had the visitation data stripped of personal identifiers that were associated with the exposed and control households.
NinthDecimal gathers data on 150 million mobile devices each month through relationships with publishers of around 75,000 apps, according to the company's President David Staas. Some data is derived through ad calls made to the apps, and in other cases the app publishers agree to provide location data to NinthDecimal in exchange for analytics services. The firm's database matches the location data to actual business locations.