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How streaming audio can connect auto brands with the next generation

The auto industry is undergoing a huge shift: Car purchases among people aged 60+ are slowing down, while Gen X, millennials, and even Gen Zs are purchasing more cars.1 Which means that if your team is still optimizing automotive advertising plans for older generations, all we can say is... OK, boomer.

But we get it. This trend poses a new challenge for auto brands. Baby boomers are a car manufacturer’s dream. They tend to be emotionally attached to a specific car brand, take comfort in the traditional car-buying process, and enjoy trips to the car lot to browse and test drive.2 Now, auto brands are losing their “ideal” customers and gaining less-predictable ones.

Take this stat for example: 80% of Gen Xers and younger consumers start their search with a different manufacturer in mind than the one they ultimately end up purchasing.3 In other words, newer generations of shoppers are less straightforward in their approach to car buying.

But it’s not just that they seem less loyal to one particular brand — this new generation of car buyers is much more comfortable doing research and making purchasing decisions online. Where baby boomers would go straight to the lot, younger new car buyers would rather interact with their phones than a car salesman: 90% of today’s auto-buying journey now takes place on smartphones, tablets, and computers.4

And of course, the ongoing pandemic has directly impacted all of these trends and more. COVID-19 has accelerated the next generations’ consumer preferences. Frictionless car buying and delivery is on the rise.5 (You’ve seen the car vending machine, right?) As auto brands face the challenge of decoding these younger car buyers’ behaviors, it’s super important to invest resources in finding these newer generations and reaching them in more agile and innovative ways.

Cue Spotify. One in five Spotify listeners are planning to purchase a car in the next year,6 and Spotify is considered the number one platform among millennials for music discovery and recommendations.7

More than ever, Spotify is paving the car-buying path for consumers: Listeners who hear auto ads on Spotify are 52% more likely to purchase the new vehicle being promoted.8

We’re also there in the passenger seat after they’ve made their purchase. Last year, there was a 51% increase over the previous year in in-car listening on Spotify.9 And with our Streaming Intelligence, we’ve got the insights you need to spread your message more effectively — whether you’re encouraging proper service checks or marketing a new car.

Case in point: When a luxury auto brand wanted to drive purchase KPIs using Spotify’s audio-first platform, we leveraged our audio ad format and third-party audience targeting capabilities to target the brand’s high-value audiences. The campaign drove 204,000 dealership visits, out of which 28% (over 57,000) were for shopping and test drives.10 The campaign successfully drove impact across the full funnel, from affinity to purchase.

The time for auto brands to create a streaming audio-led ad campaign is now. Keep reading to learn more about how audio can help your brand connect to the next generation of car buyers.

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3 PCG Digital Marketing, July 2020 4, How Auto Leads Move Through the Digital Sales Funnel, Updated on 05/15/20 5, Ride-Sharing Drops, Online Car Shopping Increases in Coronavirus’ Wake, March 30, 2020 6 MRI/Simmons Winter 2020 NHCS Adult Study 12-month, US, Spotify Free Users 7 Spotify and YPulse, A Day in the Life Survey, 2017 8 Oracle Auto BTR Mar-Jun 2019 9 Placed Aug-Dec 2019 10 Nielsen Brand Effect Jul-Dec 2019 // sample size: 249 control and 131 exposed Spotify users; Placed Aug-Dec 2019; Oracle Auto BTR Aug-Dec 2019

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