American Marketer


35pc of luxury auto brands use mobile to reach affluents

December 28, 2010

Cover page of Millennial Media's report


Affluent consumers are increasingly using their smartphones as part of the car-shopping process and luxury automakers should take note, according to a new study.

A study conducted by Millennial Media found that approximately 35 percent of luxury automotive companies use mobile to reach affluent consumers. Smartphone users are searching for luxury cars via their mobile devices at least two to three times each month.

"Based on actions taken on our luxury auto clients’ campaigns, we have definitely seen consumer activity throughout the entire auto purchase funnel," said Mack McKelvey, senior vice president of sales at Millennial Media, Baltimore, MD.

"From brand exploration, to initial and deeper model research, to specific price comparisons, to direct outreach and lookup of local dealerships, the luxury auto intender is utilizing mobile for all aspects of their purchase decision," she said.

Millennial Media is the largest mobile advertising network in the U.S, combining mobile, media and advertising.

Affluents and smartphones

Many affluent consumers are integrating smartphones into their online shopping and browsing behavior (see story).

Smartphone users are more affluent and therefore, more likely to purchase a luxury car.

These mobile devices also allow luxury automotive retailers to market engaging ad campaigns suited for their target market.

For the past seven months, automotive was one of the top 10 mobile advertising verticals on Millennial Media's network.

This signifies that brands continue to heavily invest in mobile advertising.


Millennial Media partnered with comScore to conduct a research survey on mobile automotive advertising, usage and growth.

ComScore provides Internet audiences reports of media usage, visitor demographics and online buying power by using financial analysts, advertising agencies, publishers and marketers.

According to the study, the automotive industry's mobile ad spend had grown 169 percent year-over-year.

This growth can be attributed to auto brands launching a variety of advertising campaigns.

Importance of mobile

According to the report, luxury consumers are increasingly relying on their smartphones to research automotive purchases.

Retailers should engage with affluents by increasing brand awareness from the beginning of the purchasing cycle.

Luxury automobile brands need to be aggressive to get their marketing to affluent consumers.

"Car companies are aggressive advertisers who have figured out how to tap the mobile medium to reach their audiences," Ms. McKelvey said. "We continue to see more and more luxury auto clients enter the space as they understand how effectively mobile can enable them to reach, target, and engage their audiences to drive the results they need.

With the widespread financial concern, well-off smartphone users are turning to their mobile devices for shopping and browsing.

Mobile advertising, mobile Web sites, mobile search marketing and mobile applications should be used to engage this demographic of consumers on the most personal device out there - the mobile phone.

"Luxury automakers not yet utilizing a mobile strategy are missing out on a huge opportunity to speak directly to their affluent target audience with tailored messages," Ms. said.