Automotive ad dollars rush online

Last week’s post on behavioral ad targeting generated a spirited online dialog. I’d like to thank James and Ron for their thought-provoking comments. The example discussed was online ads in the automotive industry. It was aptly timed.

As this new report from Borrell Associates indicates, there are several firsts for this category of advertising (emphasis is mine):

By 2010 online car marketing will reach $4 billion, says the report, and become the second most-used medium for automotive advertisers, surpassing newspapers, cable, radio and direct mail and trailing only broadcast TV. Budgets for offline auto ads in newspapers, direct mail and directories will decline by 20% each during the same period.

Online will become the top marketing channel for used-car marketers this year at the local ad level, surpassing newspapers for the first time.

With all of these dollars rushing online, the winning advertisers will be those who reach consumers when they are most open to influence. Only time will tell exactly how behaviorally-targeted ads will fit into these ad buys, but clearly there will be much opportunity for innovation.