December 27, 2006, 12:00 AM

Auto dealers benefit from online advertising on niche web sites

Web sites such as AOL Sports and MySpace.com are receiving more traffic from very distinct types of new vehicle buyers, according to a new study from J.D. Power and Associates.

Web sites such as AOL Sports and MySpace.com are receiving more traffic from very distinct types of new vehicle buyers, according to a new study from J.D. Power and Associates.

For example, recent buyers of mid-size premium sporty vehicles, such as the Lexus SC Series, showed a nine percentage point increase in visitation to the AOL Sports site in August through October, compared with similar data from the same period in 2005, the study says. Buyers of compact utility vehicles, including the Jeep Liberty, increased their visits to MySpace.com by 13 percentage points over the same time period.

“This suggests that online automotive advertisers need to be more precise in selecting sites for advertising,” says Steve Witten, executive director of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. “Buyers of specific vehicle model segments demonstrate visitation patterns very different from the mass of all new-vehicle buyers.”

When examining all new-vehicle buyers as a whole, the most visited sites experienced visitation increases of only four percentage points or less. Yet many sites experience double-digit percentage increases among buyers of specific vehicle segments.

The online patterns of specific segment buyers display is evident even within the channel sites of large portals such as Yahoo!, according to J.D. Power Buyers of compact utility vehicles, including the Jeep Wrangler, Nissan Xterra and Toyota FJ Cruiser, visited Yahoo! Finance and Yahoo! Games at a much higher rate compared to six months ago, the study says.

“These differences make it clear that looking at new vehicle buyers by the type of vehicle they are interested in is crucial for determining the most efficient sites for advertisement placement,” says Witten. “Automakers and their online advertisers can capitalize on the opportunity to target a niche group of consumers that would be interested in their vehicles by watching for visitation increases at particular web sites.”

 

The study also measures new technology usage among new vehicle buyers. For new vehicle buyers using the Internet, wireless broadband is now as common as dial-up, with the vast majority using wired broadband connections (69%). Subscriptions to satellite radio are also up to more than one-quarter of new vehicle buyers with Internet access (26% compared to 22% in 2005).

The J.D. Power study is based on a random national sample of 11,384 verified new vehicle buyers with Internet access that purchased a new vehicle in February or March 2006

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