Toyota Sees 45% Boost in Traffic Through Targeted Mobile Ads

Takes aim at competitors’ customers

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The automotive industry has long been viewed as the sweet spot for location-based marketing, with campaigns that track all parts of the car-buying process. But brands have been reluctant to publicize results tied to these efforts, especially when they include geo-conquesting—the tactic of poaching shoppers from the lots of competing dealers.

Now, Toyota Central Atlantic—which covers Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Washington, D.C., dealerships—is joining with agency PivNet and mobile ad platform NinthDecimal to share results from the past year.

The Toyota ads target consumers who visit Ford, Chevrolet and Mazda dealerships, among others. The automaker claims a 45 percent lift in foot traffic via consumers who were served mobile ads compared to those who did not receive one.

The ads are then linked to car registration data, indicating whether a consumer bought a car after clicking on an ad. “We’re seeing many of the folks that produce this [online] traffic register new and certified used Toyotas in a region,” said Jay Pivec, PivNet’s president.

Still, some experts question the validity of the results. Chris Sutton, senior director of J.D. Power’s automotive retail practice, pointed out that mobile offers have to apply to a wide group of shoppers.

And shoppers tend to be brand loyal, noted Jeremy Lockhorn, national mobile lead at Razorfish. Said Lockhorn: “If I have gone through all my research and I know that I want to get a Mercedes E-Class, and I’m standing on the lot looking at the models … the likelihood that I’m going to see an ad on my phone and go buy a Lexus is very low.”

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.