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Study: Car Shoppers Influenced Most by TV Advertising

NEW YORK -- A survey looks at the impact of how advertising in different media influences the purchasing decisions of consumers in 11 product and service categories, including automotive retailing.


The study, conducted by TVB and Futures Company, showed that the overall impact of advertising depends on the product category and where the consumer is in the "purchase funnel," ranging from Awareness, Consideration, Preference to Purchase.


According to the TVB, television is still king among the growing list of advertising platforms used by dealerships. But unlike fast food commercials that entice consumers to visit the drive-through, car commercials are not always effective at closing the deal. They are, however, useful in prompting consumers to do more research in what the TVB calls moving to the "Consideration" phase.


And it should come as no surprise that consumers are looking to the Internet for more information about the cars they see on television, says Jack Poor, vice president of marketing insights for TVB.


"Car shoppers are going online and doing one of two things," says Poor. "They're either searching for keywords or more likely using the search engine as a navigation tool to get to a dealer's site or a third-party site."


And because buying a car or truck typically is not an impulsive decision, Poor says the number of times consumers are shown messages about a particular model or dealership makes a big difference. For example, only nine percent of consumers surveyed said they visited a dealership after seeing an ad one to three times, but that figure went up to 16 percent after seeing the ad a fourth time.


"It's not easy to motivate car shoppers," he says. "Frequency is really important in the automotive category."


Television was the most influential advertising platform across all 11 categories studied, according to the TVB. Other important media in the automotive category in order of influence were newspapers, radio, email marketing and magazine advertising.


"Television is more important as a consumer influencer in the automotive category than the average of all 11 categories combined," Poor says. "But there wasn't a clear No. 2. After television they were all pretty equal."


The other categories studied were fast food restaurants, casual dining restaurants, department stores, discount stores, grocery stores, hardware/home improvement stores, insurance products, banking services, furniture/bedding stores and travel services.


For details, click here.


About TVB


TVB is the not-for-profit trade association of America’s commercial broadcast television industry. Its members include television broadcast groups, advertising sales reps, syndicators, international broadcasters, associate members and over 500 individual television stations.


For more analysis of advertising trends and the "purchasing funnel," click here to visit the TVB's Website. Also, NADA members are invited to participate in a free Webinar Friday, May 20, at 11:30 a.m. (Eastern) on how dealers and their local broadcast stations can work together to address consumers' concerns about rising gas prices and the aftermath of the Japan earthquake. To participate in this webinar, contact your local broadcast station holding TVB membership. You can see a list of such stations by going here: and finding your market in the dropdown menu. TVB Member Stations have asterisks.