Increasing Web Traffic by +212% Through Display Advertising

Display Ads
Content & Messaging
January 1, 2021
Automotive

Key Takeaways

Advertising Focus — Display Ads: Ford allocated 84% of their total ad spend budget towards display advertising in 2020. In July, Ford increased their display ad spend by +73%, which resulted in a +212% increase in display web traffic. Overall, Ford’s investment in display advertising has yielded great results — compared to other marketing channels such as email, display generated 3X more web traffic in 2020.

Display Advertising Focus — Desktop & Image: Currently, 92% of Ford’s display ads are run on desktop devices while only 17% of Ford’s display ads are in a video format. This highlights an area of opportunity in the mobile video space for display advertising. Due to the pandemic, mobile screen time is at an all time high — consider increasing mobile display advertising budgets and continuously A/B testing between desktop and mobile devices while there is less competition in the mobile space.

Display Tactic  — Top Site for Display Ads is Autotrader.ca: Autotrader.ca makes up 41% of total display ad spend and had a significant spend of $3.7M in 2020. Ford focuses their display advertising efforts on the French audience, as 50% of their Top 10 Display sites are French-Canadian. In addition, all of the top performing creative for their promotional campaigns were French creative.

Content & Messaging  — Promotions & Leasing Plans: The Top 3 display advertising campaigns in 2020 focused on promotions (Employee Pricing and Rebates) and leasing plans. Ford’s display ads are focused on a lower funnel conversion objective as they are highlighting promotional messaging and directing users to a “Build Your Own” landing page. In addition, Ford is aggressively advertising their financing and leasing plans for their SUV and Truck product lines.

Ford is the only brand within the competitive set that is focusing their advertising efforts on Display, while all other automotive brands are allocating the majority of their ad spend on YouTube.

Ford allocated 84% of their total ad spend towards display advertising in 2020.

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

In addition, Ford ran the highest number of ad creatives in 2020, with 3,692 ads followed by Honda with 2,351 ads.

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

In July, Ford increased Display ad spend by +73% which resulted in a +212% increase in Display web traffic.

Canadian Car Brands - Display Ad Spend - Display Web Traffic
Please Note: Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting.

Ford’s investment in Display advertising has yielded great results. Compared to other marketing channels, Display generated +308% more web traffic in 2020.

Direct, Organic Search and Paid Search have been omitted from this analysis.

Canadian Car Brands - Web Traffic by Marketing Channel
Please Note: Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting.

Ford began to aggressively advertise their leasing and financing plans through display ads, which led to the first spike in web traffic in July.

Ford - Leasing and Financing Plans Advertisement
Please Note: Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting.

The second spike during this time period was initiated from the launch of the “Employee Pricing” campaign.

Ford - Employee Pricing Campaign
Please Note: Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting.

92% of Ford’s Display ads are run on Desktop devices. While only 17% of Ford’s Display ads are video.

The top site for Ford Display ads is autotrader.ca ($3.7M), followed by tvanouvelles.ca, which is a French-Canadian news channel.

Ford - Top Sites for Display Ads

50% of the Top 10 Display Sites are French-Canadian.

Ford - Top Display Sites - French-Canadian

Autotrader.ca makes up 41% of total Display ad spend.

The Top 3 display advertising campaigns in 2020 focused on promotions (Employee Pricing and Rebates) and leasing plans.

Ford - Top 3 Display Advertising Campaigns

1. Leasing and financing plans

Ford clearly communicates potential savings in dollar amounts and the details of each leasing plan to the consumer.

Tactics used:

  • Top creative for this campaign includes French copy
  • Highlights savings in exact dollar amounts for potential consumers (i.e: “That’s like $69 a Week”
  • Clearly communicates the details of each leasing plan: 40 months with $X down; retail value; biweekly payments.
Landing page (french)
Landing page (english)

2. Employee pricing.

Ford created a sense of urgency through their limited time offer for employee pricing by indicating an end date for the promotion.

Tactics used:

  • Top creative for this campaign includes French copy
  • Sense of urgency is created through limited time offers. French creative indicates an end date for the promotion (September 30th)
  • Clearly communicates the total dollar amount for each price adjustment
  • Both landing pages direct users to the “Build Your Own” site
Landing page (french)
Landing page (english)


3. Year-end event

All three campaigns directed consumers to the “Build Your Own” landing page for the specific car model that is featured on the display ad.

Tactics used:

  • Top creative for this campaign includes French copy
  • Features more than one car model in various colors and sizes to appeal to a broader demographic
  • Highlights the rebate value - “Get up to $6,500 in rebates”
  • Both landing pages direct users to the “Build Your Own” site
Landing page (french)
Landing page (english)


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