In an early test of how TV and digital could work together, Raycom ran a national ad in December during the Camellia Bowl, featuring longtime Ricart Auto spokesperson Arnold Schwarzenegger. The ad reached 1.4 million people, and 2,500 of them immediately jumped onto Ricart Auto’s website. Additional analysis of how the TV ad boosted Ricart Auto’s business is forthcoming.
“We see TV as the best way to stimulate a large group of people, and based on what the large search queries are [from these groups], that behavior allows us to fine-tune the ad we are firing mid-funnel and low-funnel,” said PureCars CEO Jeremy Anspach. “ We think an ad that is intriguing and of interest to the right person will drive online learning.”
When car buyers are familiar enough with Ricart Auto to go directly to the site, the dealership gets strong results, validating its branding efforts. “When we get a direct URL hit on mobile or desktop, there is a 10 times greater chance they convert to a sale,” Ricart said.
Ricart Auto is also preparing for ecommerce auto sales. Ricart sold his first two cars online last week through a startup called AutoFi that offers financing for vehicles online. Today’s auto buyers already come more prepared and ready to make a sale, Ricart noted. The online information-gathering process has also compressed the range of prices that drivers pay for their vehicles.
Ricart feels he’s been able to create the most innovative marketing with used vehicles. Many new car dealers simply rely on tier 1 and tier 2 auto marketing, handled by the manufacturer, and don’t do anything on their own. But sometimes national campaigns don’t translate to results in a specific market, which may have different tastes. That’s why Ricart likes being able to make marketing decisions, including shifting spend from TV to digital, himself. “In the world of used cars, I can control everything,” Ricart said.