How Automotive Companies Are Getting Better Results Promoting New Models With Native Ads Rather Than Traditional Display

on The Future of Advertising, Programmatic Native

Ten years ago, when an automotive company was designing a digital strategy to promote the launch of a new car it would traditionally turn to pre-roll to extend the reach of its TV spots, or use banners to drive traffic to strategic feature pages.

Increasingly at Sharethrough, we’re seeing automotive companies use native ads to do these same things.

Native ads have proven themselves as the better method of gaining attention, period. Headlines are uniquely suited to stopping readers in the feed and arousing curiosity, meaning that clickthrough rates are orders of magnitude greater than banners. And while native ads cost more, the much higher click through rates they receive have been shown to make up for any price differential.

Here are a couple of the ways we’re seeing automotive companies use native ads in place of traditional display tactics, with amazing results.

Example 1: Using Native Outstream To Extend The Reach Of TV Spots And Brand Video To Increase Brand Awareness

Native ads are read, not just seen. Native video goes one better, allowing brands to run their TV spots in the feeds of relevant consumers and have it play alongside a headline, which allows brands to drive awareness and reinforce positive nameplate associations.


We’re also seeing automotive companies distribute lifestyle video content simultaneously to this, promoting themes of freedom, authenticity, adventure and passion, to further push brand loyalty and positive perceptions.

It’s a great way for an automotive company to drive efficient views of their videos, using the headline to drive awareness of specific messaging. Outstream video - often playing automatically in the feed - is less-interruptive than pre-roll, resulting in substantially higher brand-lift.

Tracking completion rate needs to be paired with a brand lift study. We’ve seen great results on both counts at Sharethrough. Automotive videos tend to have an average completion rate for the first 15 seconds of around 50 percent.

This efficiency is then paired with precise targeting abilities and proven results. Through Sharethrough’s Package Deals, automotive companies can place their content into directly relevant content feeds, either alongside similar editorial content, or into their target audience’s (be it sports enthusiasts or soccer moms) favorite apps and content sites. Reaching people as they’re in the discovery mindset, rather than having to interrupt them, is a powerful benefit of native and promotes stronger engagement.

The key metrics of success here, are whether the videos were viewed and if they increased awareness of the new car model.

Tracking completion rate needs to be paired with a brand lift study. We’ve seen great results on both counts at Sharethrough. Automotive videos tend to have an average completion rate for the first 15 seconds of around 50 percent.

Native ads have proven themselves as the better method of gaining attention, period. Headlines are uniquely suited to stopping readers in the feed and arousing curiosity, meaning that clickthrough rates are orders of magnitude greater than banners.

Example 2: Use Native Content Cards To Showcase New Model Features and Specs

Automotive companies can drive car buying prospects to engage with the features and specs of new models, by taking advantage of Sharethrough’s native content cards.

This feature lifts all of the images and copy directly from the site and embeds them into an adaptive content card. There’s no need to create custom content with this. Automotive companies already have everything they need to create an immersive in-feed experience.


This tactic brings the online features page for a new model to your audience, rather than the other way around. It allows the target audience to swipe through images or videos and read descriptions, all without leaving the feed. A customizable call to action can then drive them to a “build-a-car-site” so they can engage and customize their vehicle further.


As with our first example, this content strategy can be paired with precise targeting. The core measure of success with it is whether customers engaged with the content within the card. Sharethrough can track the rate at which consumers click on the ad to open the card, to help validate campaign success. On engagement rates, native ads return vastly superior results to traditional banners. The average CTR we see for automotive campaigns hovers around .75%.