People buy cars in person, not online. Yet automotive marketers continue to rely on digital metrics to measure success, even though research shows there’s no correlation between click-through rates (CTRs) and offline actions.

Online performance may appear positive, but it isn’t having a positive impact on the metrics that matters most. In fact, a recent whitepaper from Oracle Data Cloud about auto brands showed that only 25 percent of customers visit a brand’s site or app prior to buying a car.

The good news is, with the help of location targeting these brands can shift focus to dealership visits.

The location services solution

Consumer dependence on mobile devices, coupled with the growth of location services, means auto brands have a new way to track the effectiveness of campaigns.

Increasing spend on “location-predictive” products—which use past real-world visitation behavior—correlates with driving in-store visits at a rate 2.6 times greater than proximity-based products. That means it’s less expensive to drive a visit if you use strategic location targeting.

It’s also worth noting that while “location predictive” products such as GroundTruth’s Audiences and audience re-targeting had a slightly higher cost-per-action (CPA) than most proximity-based products, they were actually 4 times more cost-effective at generating a visit.

Rethinking optimization

Tactics such as proximity targeting have their use cases, but when it comes to generating dealership visits and positively impacting your bottom line, more sophisticated location targeting that leverages audiences is the better choice.

In a recent campaign for a top luxury auto brand, location-predictive targeting was used to target lifestyle audiences and select location behaviors that aligned with the brand’s core audience attributes. Along with building awareness among a relevant audience, this approach drove a significant number of visits to the dealership.

Among these, 40 percent were a direct result of GroundTruth’s Neighborhoods and Behavioral Audience targeting, which represents areas which show high visitation affinity with a brand’s store or a set of audiences and are 100 percent automated. Neighborhoods enables marketers to garner substantial insight on their consumers and can also be leveraged as a targeting tactic to engage existing and new consumers.

Think visits

To influence sales and business growth in the automotive category, think in-person visits. Instead of optimizing your entire digital campaigns for site visits in the hope of securing a qualified lead, try using location data to drive real-world visits that produce real-world results. Because that’s how you’ll get people in front of your sales force, into a car for a test drive and signing a deal.

View the entire article on Adweek.