Raycom’s Digital Platform PureCars Helps Local Dealers Think Like National Advertisers

revAfter local broadcaster Raycom Media acquired digital ad platform PureCars for $125 million last November, it let local auto advertisers take advantage of programmatic targeting.

Automotive marketers – a key vertical for Raycom – needed a better way to connect their upper and lower-funnel tactics.

“We’ve embarked on integrating digital and television, so you have the multiplier effect of digital and the really big megaphone of TV,” said Joe Fiveash, SVP of digital media and strategy for Raycom, which operates 51 local television stations in 19 states, many of which are NBC, CBS and ABC affiliates, covering approximately 13.2% of US households.

Traditionally, auto marketing is broken down by tiers: Tier-one campaigns are national, tier-two are regional promotions and tier-three are local dealer ads.

But because the historic divide between those tiers is coming down, local auto advertisers are  borrowing tactics from their brand marketing counterparts, like using digital as an add-on to TV buys.

That’s where PureCars comes in, which claims it brings more precision in digital campaigns.

“Local dealerships need more traffic at the top of the funnel to sell cars at their desired pace and TV is really effective at that,” said Jeremy Anspach, CEO of PureCars. 

PureCars connects the upper-funnel TV ads on Raycom’s networks to search, pre-roll video views and lower-funnel messaging on Facebook.

“Raycom afforded us one more path for customer acquisition,” Anspach said. “If you add a level of synchronization to your TV buy using keyword bids, display ads Facebook targeting or pre-roll, it’s very effective.”

For instance, while brand marketers might use lookalike audiences to fine-tune segments to build awareness of a certain car, they wouldn’t necessarily have regional or local visibility into inventory.

So a tier-one ad on Facebook is more likely to be generic, with some segmentation to improve placement in the news feed. But because PureCars works with local dealers, it has a lot of data about how cars move and which vehicles on a lot might need a boost, Anspach said.

“We can segment down to the VIN (vehicle identification number) level for a user who has shown specific intent on that vehicle,” Anspach explained.

Raycom also wants to boost advertiser campaigns with unique, first-party data.

“Through the acquisition, we got third-party data from PureCars, as well as our own first-party data,” Fiveash said. “We’re in the really early days of translating that into competitive advantage, but we’re spending time figuring out how we [add more value as a combined offering than] those who just buy third-party data.”

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