The consumer shift away from traditional media is prompting Nissan Canada to launch a targeted online advertising campaign for the 2021 Rogue that is tailored to consumers’ browsing history and use of social media.
“The pandemic has completely changed how consumers interact with media,” said Adam Paterson, director of marketing for Nissan Canada. “How many people are there who have watched YouTube videos on how to build a deck, get their golf swing better, home exercise, whatever that may be? All of those specific items allow us [and our] partners with Google and Facebook to categorize consumers based on their interests.”
Rather than filming only the typical 60-, 30-, and 15-second ads for broadcast television and then retrofitting those spots for online applications, Nissan also produced a series of 15and six-second videos for use on YouTube, Instagram stories and Facebook.
A successful launch for the 2021 Rogue is critical for Nissan Canada. The nameplate has been the brand’s bestseller in Canada in every year since 2012, with 37,530 sold in 2019 according to the Automotive News Data Center, and 330,982 sold since the product’s initial launch in 2007, according to Nissan Canada.
EASIER TO TRACK
Consumers will see as many as six different versions, curated for them by digital algorithms based on their individual browsing history and interests.
This approach allows Nissan Canada to capitalize on digital platforms such as YouTube and streaming services where interests and preferences are easier to track, said Paterson.
The made-in-Canada initiative, which might be expanded to other markets, was launched in October. It features a set of video advertisements that were filmed in Vancouver in late August. Because of the casting challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nissan used six different groups of real-life friends and family members, dubbed “fams,” who are not necessarily related but are socially bubbled together and share common interests.
Each of the groups is intended to highlight the Rogue’s features, such as the quieter cabin, the new head-up display, rear cargo space and improved suspension.
Viewers will see ads highlighting the features that are most likely to be of interest to them based on their browsing and viewing history. For example, someone who has recently shopped online for strollers might be served the ad focused on rear cargo space when they next use YouTube, or someone who reads a lot of tech reviews might see the ad that focuses on Apple CarPlay.
Facebook’s advertising tools and algorithms permit this level of detail in ad delivery because they distribute content customized around user likes and interests as well as other demographics including location, age and gender, said Meg Sinclair, spokeswoman for Facebook Canada.
“Advertisers can customize the location in their ad targeting to ensure their ads reach people based on their desired campaign location, such as country, region or city,” Sinclair told Automotive News Canada in an email.
“Our tools also provide useful insights into which ads work where to help advertisers optimize their ad spend and delivery to the right people.”
Sridhar Moorthy, professor of marketing at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management, said there has been a “sea change” in how advertising is targeted with the rise of these types of tools because it increases the likelihood that viewers will connect with and be receptive to the content.
“There was some targeting available, even on TV in the sense that different shows appeal to different kinds of people, but much cruder than what is available now,” Moorthy said.
“The big appeal of targeting is that you’re making your communications more effective and more efficient. You’re not wasting money sending ads to people who are not interested.”
Paterson said the marketing strategy is targeting older millennials, which includes consumers in their midto late-30s. This generation is more comfortable having browsing data and personal details collected to receive more relevant content, Moorthy said.
“Younger people are more participative online. They are on various social media and they’re more active in those things. Therefore, they seem to be less concerned about these [privacy] issues than older people are.”
Moorthy said the potential downsides to a heavily targeted campaign are social media users who choose to manually turn off their browsing tracker. As well, consumers could be served content at a time when they’re not open to receiving it.
“The missing piece in the targeting link is that firms have still not been able to figure out how to target people at the moment they wish to be targeted,” Moorthy said. “Maybe at some point in time I’m interested in seeing an ad which has these features, but maybe not right now. Targeting me causes the problem that people have that they’re being followed around.”