Nielsen Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram is traversing largely uncharted digital terrain in an effort to boost website traffic and grow sales.
The East Hanover, N.J., dealership has found some white space to build its brand and push new models on Pinterest, a platform on which users search for photos and videos and “pin” them on virtual boards displaying interests such as fashion, home decor and food. Pinterest has more than 400 million active users globally.
The dealership, which sold 2,288 new vehicles in 2020, has weaved its way into these searches to appeal to the lifestyles of “pinners” and put vehicles on their radars.
Colin Carrasquillo, digital marketing manager for Nielsen Automotive Group, said the company aims to “think outside the box” in its marketing efforts, taking pride in finding “new outlets” to help move metal.
“The auto industry, in general, we’ve become very complacent,” Carrasquillo said. “This is marketers, this is dealers. As much as I hate to say it, it’s very antiquated in some instances, and we fall into the same patterns of doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results.”
Carrasquillo said the store recognized going into the fall that people still wanted to travel, safely, during the pandemic.
Travel was a trending theme across multiple platforms, including Pinterest, Facebook and Google, he said, so in September the dealership created a Jeep Grand Cherokee campaign about road trips.
Instead of more traditional messaging pushing the latest deals, the store’s ads centered on trip-themed imagery around camping, for instance, that showed off the Grand Cherokee’s cargo space. The ads appeared as promoted posts within search results.
Nielsen’s ads initially sent people to a dedicated landing page for the SUV on its website that mirrored the Pinterest ads and displayed Grand Cherokee inventory. But the dealership has since found that it gets more engagement by funneling visitors to the search page on its site instead.
Nielsen followed up the road trip message with another effort focused on fall activities. One ad featured the Grand Cherokee in a pumpkin patch, while another showed the trunk full of pumpkins, with a dog sitting among them.
Nielsen targeted consumers with in-market data from Oracle Data Cloud to help it reach the right users.
A Pinterest case study found that the ads resulted in a click-through rate 62 percent higher than the platform’s auto dealer benchmark. In the third month of the campaign, Nielsen’s ads saw a 67 percent higher engagement rate than the benchmark.
“People come to Pinterest to plan their lives, including moments that trigger auto purchases, like expanding your family,” John Gray, global auto strategy lead for Pinterest, said in an email. “But they also come to Pinterest to explore their passions, whether it’s the outdoors and camping, or football and tailgating, and it’s at those moments when they’re receptive to hearing from dealers and brands.”