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For Auto Marketers, It’s Time to Resume Radio Ad Spending — With Multicultural Consumers In Mind.

Radio remains an important part of a multi-platform approach to auto industry advertising, according to the 2019-2020 Nielsen Annual Auto Marketing Report released this week.

As automakers grapple with ad spend strategy and some advertisers adapt their messaging for the coronavirus era and its aftermath, Nielsen believes decision-makers should make multicultural consumers a priority. “They’re younger and more digitally connected than the general population today,” the report says. “And they can offer invaluable insights on what to expect from all consumers in the near future.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 40% of the U.S. population is multicultural and will reach 50% by 2045.

“And when it comes to deciding to buy a new vehicle, multicultural consumers follow a unique and distinct path-to-purchase, often different from non-multicultural consumers,” Nielsen says. “Black, Hispanic and Asian American consumers are [also] less entrenched in their car preferences than anyone else, and they will consider your brand even late in the game.”

Nielsen recommends a multi-platform approach that includes television, radio, digital, print, outdoor and direct mail. "(Read why auto marketers and related businesses should be using radio and why some analysts call it the most resilient traditional media.)

According to Nielsen, TV delivers the strongest ad retention among new car shoppers (84%) across all demographics. At (13%) radio ranks behind print and digital overall. But when looking at ad retentions among multicultural groups, radio performed better with Black (20%), Hispanic (17%) and Asian (14%) shoppers.

“Radio is a particularly useful channel to reach Black consumers with your auto campaigns,” the report says. “Even light radio users (those tuning in less than 30 minutes a day) show above-average consideration levels.

“Of all the groups in our analysis, Black car shoppers have the highest ad recall for automakers who advertise on radio.”

According to Nielsen, while digital is the key to reaching Hispanics, America’s largest, youngest and most connected ethic group, “radio [is] also very effective channels to reach Hispanic car buyers,” the report says. “They spend 50% more time watching subscription video and listening to the radio on their phones than the general population.” Hispanic shoppers are also more likely to consider buying advice from friends, neighbors, family and celebrity endorsements.

And while decision makers may be wary of spending as outbreaks continue across the U.S., Nielsen believes it’s time to get back in the game. “Today’s crisis is not a period to cut down on your advertising, but rather a chance to get smarter with it,” the report says. “We think that investing in your multicultural customers today offers a unique opportunity to prepare for the new normal and get a head start when broad economic activity picks up again.”

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