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Data has become the currency on which advertising is purchased. There is lots of buzz online about what big data is and how important it is to use it. But, what does data really mean? And more importantly, how is it going to help you sell cars?

We wanted to take this opportunity to break down the methodology behind big data and how it lets us interact with consumers. Previously, we would try to reach consumers through mass marketing: a billboard, radio or TV ad. Trying to get as many eyes and ears on it as possible. Now, we can now dig into exactly who consumers are through data, insights and analytics. *s1

Data is the key to getting the right message at the right time in front of the right audience.


Where does this data come from?

This data is pulled from consumer behavior online. Every search, every click, and every profile–every time someone enters their age or shows a preference for a luxury vehicle over sensible SUV–that information gets pulled into a database. At autoTrader we use Adobe Audience Manager, but there are many that do the same. These databases then distill all of this information and sort it into segments based on user behavior and preferences.


How do you reach the right audience with your advertising dollars?

Most advertising budgets are limited and you want to get the most possible return on that investment. So the question becomes: where do you spend your money in order to sell cars? The most important consideration is data. This is why the subject has been such a hot topic. You want data pulled from consumers who are online looking at, researching and interested in cars. You want to ensure that your ad for a Jeep Cherokee isn’t being shown to someone who would only ever buy a Lexus or someone who came online to look at air conditioners.


What about your data?

By now you may have asked, what about your own data? Your website is also pulling this information. However, you may not have the resources available to you to have a database or an aggregator organizing it and the data may not be diverse enough to give you information you need to find consumers in market outside your site. Therefore, it’s important to find a partner who has this information.


How do you choose a partner?

The Internet has a wealth of consumer data from online searches from all over the Internet; many companies offer access to this data. Something you want to consider in a data partner is a company who has proprietary data specific to your industry, and who’s database pertains directly to your consumer. This data would then drive your advertising to quality, qualified and in market shoppers.

Ask your advertising partner where their data is coming from; is it being pulled from a general audience? Is it Canada specific or all of North America? Or is the data coming directly from auto-intenders at varying stages of the car buying process?

The key to using data effectively is figuring out who you can partner with that will help you get the most out of your data, and your money. Then, using this data, you can be assured that your ad will be shown to exactly the right person at exactly the right moment in their consumer journey – meaning more impactful advertising and in the end, more sales.

For more information on how autoTRADER is using data to power advertising, please contact us at


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