Study: For Auto Buyers, Online Outpaces Newspapers

By: Jennifer Saba A new study on automotive advertising released by Borrell Associates finds that for the first time the Internet outscored newspapers among car buyers. Eleven percent of Internet users said they found their car online versus 9% who said they found their auto in a newspaper classified.

In addition, the report finds that auto advertisers are changing their media mix. Of the three segments that place ads -- dealers, dealer associations, and manufactures -- dealers shifted their dollars around the most. Dealers ?nearly doubled their spending on Internet products while slowing down their spending on newspapers, broadcast TV, and radio,? the report said.

Manufactures increased online spending 38.8%, also scaling back on newspapers, auto magazines, and TV. Though dealer associations upped their online spend as well by 20.2%, that move did not affect newspapers.

The report points out that relative to the overall dollars spent on auto ads -- about $30 billion -- the Internet category represents only 4%, or $1.2 billion.

Nor does this spell doom for newspapers. Indeed the report said while there are many online sites in the category, three commandeer half the spending:, with 16.6% of the share, or $200 million; daily newspapers, the category that includes, at 15.7%, or $190 million; and Autobytel, with 10.8%, or $130 million.

Additionally, newspaper Web sites are poised to take even more auto advertising compared with local TV. ?Newspapers, whose Web sites are typically far more robust than a TV station's and offer a variety of targeting options, appear to be reaping almost all the benefits,? the report says.

Why not local TV sites? The report quotes Anna Papadopoulos at Euro RSCG advertising agency: ?They don't normally get the traffic [that newspaper sites do]. People going to TV Web sites are not going there in the mindset to find out about cars.?


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