While automotive will continue its shift to greater spending on digital media over the next several years, a report from BIA Advisory Services says traditional media “will remain as strong contenders for automotive advertising clients” in 2022 and going forward, citing its 2022 forecast of spend increases in all tracked media platforms.
BIA pegs total automotive ad spend for 2022 at $13.9 billion, up 39.6% from 2021's $9.9 billion, while below 2019's estimated $16.9 billion. “The auto industry has entered an unusual state with supply chain issues, low inventory levels on the lot, growing consumer confidence and spending, and increased demand for cars,” BIA Media Consultant Mark Dugan says in the company's recent “Leading Local Insights” podcast. “[While the] industry is still feeling the effects of the pandemic...we anticipate supply chain disruptions to improve [by] mid-2022.”
Auto's top media growth categories in 2022 according to BIA are: OTT/streaming television, up 102.5%; over-the-air TV, up 54.2% and radio digital – including streaming and website ads sold by local stations and pureplay streaming services, plus the share retained by local radio stations after reselling other online platforms – up 45.6%. It's notable that while OTT spend is forecast to double, the category accounts for only 3.5% of the absolute growth for auto in 2022. Dollar-wise, the biggest gainers from 2021 are PC/laptop, up $1 billion, over-the-air TV, up $988.5 million and mobile advertising, up $786.9 million.
Accounting for 85% of auto's estimated 2022 ad spend are automotive manufacturers with $4.7 billion, new car dealers at $3.7 billion, and automobile dealer associations at $3.5 billion, with growth of 64.8%, 15.4% and 71.1% respectively.
With digital spend expected to increase to $7.7 billion, accounting for more than half (55.7%) of all paid media in 2022 and forecast to reach 65% by 2026, BIA's podcast stresses the importance of developing and offering digital strategies, such as using PC/laptop and mobile, to auto clients as part of sales packages. “In a high-consideration category like auto with a large purchase price, we can expect search and display ads targeting PC/laptop devices to be influential in the consumers' journey,” Dugan says. “This implies bigger screens, different creative and different steps on the path to purchase [while] mobile ads have less screen real estate but can geo-target users. These are down-funnel strategies that just might pull your audience members away from your clients' competitors to their lots.”