For dealerships across the country, car buying came to a halt at the start of the 2020 pandemic. Then, car sales —of new and especially used models—turned a corner, becoming a hot commodity as commuters moved away from public transport options. What’s more? Online auto sales are now booming as dealers bolster their digital retailing capabilities. According to Polk Automotive (IHS Markit), average new vehicle sales are up 52% May-July 2020 vs March-April 2020.

Effectv Automotive Advisory Council (AAC) member and SVP, Marketing at Larry H. Miller Dealerships, Paul Nygaard, recently measured a traffic increase of 50% to his dealership websites’ digital retailing tools, explaining that these days, “consumers are used to shopping price, credit evaluations, and trade values. They can reach out via phone or internet.” A contributing factor for the boost in traffic was their increased TV investment. Paul adds, “In two markets we doubled our ‘normal’ spending and those markets both showed the greatest levels of sales volume.”

Faulkner Automotive Group, VP, Marketing & Analytics and AAC member, Neil Gandhi witnessed an upward trend for digital as well when it came to dealerships websites in his purview. “We are seeing a 30-40% increase in website activity, as well as leads for the past 90 days.”

And as for general brand awareness: “we previously did very little advertising on a group level but started right after COVID and pushed folks to our group website from both digital and traditional (linear cable through Comcast) channels. The group website, since pushing those creatives, saw on average a 110% increase in unique visitors compared to prior months.”

In this current environment, advertising strategies need to adapt to a different set of market dynamics and more digital-customer behaviors. A study conducted by Effectv and TV Squared, called The Halo Effect: TV Drives Digital, found that TV advertising plays a major part in driving website traffic and engagement to connect with potential car buyers.

Scroll down for critical automotive insights derived from the study. For more advertising insights, visit

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