Digital Ad Funnel Teardown: Honda Canada

Advertising
Content & Messaging
Cross-Channel
Facebook
YouTube
Display Ads
Paid Search
January 1, 2021
Automotive

Key Takeaways

Paid Social Focus — Honda Made a Massive Push into YouTube Ads: Their Fall 2020 YouTube ad campaign dwarfed their spend on any other digital ad channel. This indicates a strong push into brand awareness, instead of engagement or conversion-focused campaigns. 71% of Honda’s total ad spend was allocated towards the YouTube channel.

Paid Search Tactic — Google Search Ads are Used Across the Funnel: Honda is using Search Ads across the whole funnel with a diverse range of messaging from brand awareness (i.e: addressing COVID-19 concerns) to consideration (i.e: highlighting ease of online shopping) and conversion (i.e: 1,000 Honda Bonus Promo). On average, Honda spends about $333K per month on search ads.

Other Digital Ad Channels Are Used For More Specific Funnel Stages:

  • YouTube: Awareness & consideration. Ads contained high-level emotional messaging and focused on a Canadian narrative that emphasized how Honda cars have been built in Canada for 35 years. Typically there is no CTA or landing page.
  • Display: Traffic & engagement. Ads focus on lease & finance terms, low emissions and promotions. CTAs drive traffic to interactive “build your Honda” landing pages.
  • Facebook & Instagram: Engagement & lead gen mostly targeting Ontario and Quebec. Ads are very diverse, but focus on consideration. The top Facebook campaign was designed to raise awareness about Honda’s sustainability efforts, such as “zero waste to landfills”.

In 2020, Honda focused heavily on YouTube ads, more so than any other Canadian automaker.

Canada Car Brands - 2020 Total Ad Spend
Please Note: Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting.

Honda uses different digital ad channels for each part of their funnel.

Paid Social

A large YouTube ad campaign in the Fall of 2020 accounted for 72% of Honda’s annual digital ad spend in Canada.

Canada Car Brands - Monthly Ad Spend
Please Note: Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting.

This spike in YouTube spend was driven by the “Canadian Built” campaign which launched in September of 2020.

The “Canadian Built” brand awareness campaign featured six creatives and focused on a Canadian narrative that emphasized how Honda cars have been built in Canada for 35 years. All videos in this campaign were short-form videos that were either 15 or 6-seconds long, which is optimal for YouTube.

ad #1, ad #2, ad #3, ad #4, ad #5, ad #6


The creative with the most ad spend was a 6-second video which contained no voice over and directed users to honda.ca to purchase automobiles online.

Spend: $2.7M | Imp: 104M | CPM: $25.96

Spend: $1.2M | Imp: 47M | CPM: $25.53
Spend: $326K | Imp: 12M | CPM: $27.17

The main objective of the top Facebook campaign was to drive engagement and awareness of Honda’s sustainability efforts such as “zero waste to landfills”. Each Facebook ad contains facts about Honda and their sustainability efforts such as: “Driven to reduce emissions since 1948” and “Honda vehicles produced in the last 15 years have maintained 90% design recyclability”.

Spend: $41K | Imp: 10.7M | CPM: $3.83

Spend: $31K | Imp: 8.1M | CPM: $3.82

On Facebook, Honda primarily targets males who live in the East Coast of Canada such as, Ontario and Quebec.

Display Advertising

The Top 3 display advertising campaigns include: HR-V Leasing, Oil Change Promotion, and the CR-V $1,000 Bonus campaign.

Honda Canada - Top Display Advertising
Ad#1 | Ad#2 | Ad#3

The HR-V Leasing Campaign highlights the leasing terms (1.99% up to 36 months) and focuses on the sustainability aspect of the car (low emissions). Dynamic display ad that focuses on low emissions and leasing terms (“Lease from 1.99% up to 36 months on Sport and Touring Trims”)

The “Oil Change Promo” campaign offers consumers 1 year of roadside assistance at no charge and directs consumers to the /dealerlocator landing page on honda.ca.

The “CR-V 1,000 Bonus” campaign was a 2020 clearout event which offered a $1,000 bonus on select CR-V models with a lease rate of 0.99% for up to 36 months.

Landing page

The top display advertising site is cbc.ca ($284K), followed by theweathernetwork.com ($228K). Top sites for display advertising ads fall under the following categories:

  • Large news (cbc.ca)
  • Entertainment (tou.tv)
  • marketplace sites (kijiji.ca)

Paid Search

In July, Honda increased their search ad spend by +156% MoM. On average, Honda spends $333K per month on search ads.

Honda Canada - Monthly Paid Search Ad Spend

Honda’s search ads are used across the funnel and advertise the ease of online shopping, promotional events throughout the year and address consumers’ concerns regarding COVID-19.

Search ads are used across the funnel with a diverse range of messaging from brand awareness (i.e: addressing COVID-19 concerns) to consideration (i.e: highlighting the ease of online shopping) and conversion (i.e: promotions). Honda made a big push to advertise their online shopping services in 2020 as they ran 124 search ads with the headline “Online Shopping Made Easy”.


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