10 Automotive Marketing Trends For 2023

What’s your plan to stay ahead of the automotive competition this year? Here is WDA’s list of the top automotive marketing trends that you should be making use of in 2023…

1. Influencers are here to stay

Love them or loathe them, the number and effectiveness of influencers have grown rapidly in 2022, and we don’t see that slowing down anytime soon.

There are plenty in the automotive marketplace, from big-name automotive YouTubers with millions of subscribers to micro-influencers and social promoters using social media with a smaller following, usually in the thousands.

Micro-influencers are often more likely to attract higher engagement (with a lower reach), as consumers consider them more relatable ‘everyday’ people, unlike difficult-to-reach celebrity status influencers. Which influencer to promote with really depends on your (and their) target audience – something we regularly plan and pair together for our clients. 

2. Short-form video is on the rise

We mentioned short-form video last year, and we weren’t wrong.

Short-form video continues to increase in popularity. It dominated the automotive marketing space in 2022 and platforms like YouTube have been pushing Shorts to keep up with the growing popularity of TikTok and Instagram. Everyone from small aftermarket part providers to F1 teams is making use of short-form.

We’ve really seen the quality of content and production increase during 2022, as competition for consumers’ attention also grows. Remember, it’s important that your content is emotive to grab attention in a crowded space.

Planning and a clear strategy is so important to stand out. You must invest in the concept from day one, which really takes the right know-how. For quality short-form video you’ll also need to consider editing and platform capabilities, which naturally an agency can help with. 

It also makes sense to follow your target customer where they spend their online social time, and depending on your automotive product or service, TikTok has become an increasingly popular choice for marketers.

3. Making the most of User-Generated Content (UGC)

Who better to sing the praises of your product than your customers?

It presents your marketing in an incredibly authentic way. It can also present your product or service as aspirational. It humanises your brand too.

UGC is perfect for social media – it could be a customer’s photo showing off their proud purchase or a short-form video unboxing it.

You might not feel comfortable asking a customer for content but believe us, most people really enjoy sharing content and giving their own perspective. You could always incentivise them in some way too. Offer rewards for tagging your business when they post, further increasing your social presence.

Rimblades’ Instagram account is a great example. Curating and presenting UGC in the best way takes a keen eye and social optimisation, so you won’t be surprised to read we do exactly this for Rimblades!  

4. A content strategy remains key

Your content strategy is still so important, as it helps to ensure that your marketing efforts are focused, cohesive, and effective.

By developing a clear plan for creating, distributing, and promoting content, you can ensure that you are reaching your target audience with the right message at the right time.

This will help improve brand awareness, customer engagement, and overall marketing results. Additionally, a content strategy can help you to allocate your resources effectively and measure the success of your efforts.

5. Blog content remains very relevant

Blogs have been an effective tool for some time, but that doesn’t mean their relevance is waning. The reason they have been around for long is, frankly, as a marketing tactic it works very well.

WDA has recently written about this topic, read our blog article ‘Why Written Content Is Still King‘ to find out more. But ultimately:

  • Informative blog content adds value for the reader
  • It positions you as the go-to expert in your profession
  • Unique informative content is great for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • It’s a cost-effective strategy where you can track the return on your investment

Blogs are here to stay in 2023!

6. VR and AI 

The enthusiasm for using Virtual Reality (VR) as a marketing tool has stagnated a little during 2022. Whilst we initially shared the enthusiasm, the logistics (and the price) have hampered things from a marketing perspective.

That said, in the wider automotive realm, technology is being increasingly embraced by designers and engineers to speed up production processes.

Now, tech-wise, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a hot topic. 

Why? ChatGPT.

ChatCPT is a recently launched AI chatbot that is extremely helpful for content creation, for example, it can write a pretty convincing copy about almost any subject, or it can write you a song based on the commands you give to it. Whilst teachers around the world have expressed concerns about cheating and plagiarism, you might be tempted (as many automotive marketers have been) to use AI to write content.

Sadly, it’s not so simple.

Whilst we’ve already sung the praises of unique, informative copy and its impact on SEO, Google is already ‘on it’ with AI. Updated algorithms can filter our AI-generated content based on the patterns and characteristics of the language used, so in terms of SEO, it’s likely no better than a cheeky copy-and-paste rip-off. This informative article goes into more detail on this.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s a very clever bit of tech with many applications, especially in the development of chatbots, but right now nothing can beat legitimately written content from a marketing perspective.

7. Social responsibility & sustainability growth

The appreciation for sustainability and social responsibility is bigger than ever. During a 2022 study of 850 businesses, 80% reported a plan to increase their investment in sustainability over the next 2 years, for example.

Of course, this is wholly important within the automotive market, with a growing move to EVs and improved ICE efficiency, both in production and the vehicles’ lifetime use.

A legitimate dedication to socially responsible and sustainable practices has also been found to increase customer loyalty. If this isn’t one of your priorities in 2023 and beyond, you may risk losing business.

Strategically, in your marketing this will help position you as a credible, committed business, having a more positive impact on society and building trust with your customers. 

8. Increased online privacy requires a new approach to online campaigns

A welcomed increase in online privacy is great for consumers, but presents new challenges for marketeers. For example, until recently Facebook kept track of what you were up to on other apps.

Because Meta (the owners behind Facebook, Instagram etc) knew a lot about their target audience, who saw an ad and then converted, they could easily find other people with similar demographics. These are commonly referred to as lookalike audiences, who would then be shown similar ads while optimising their targeting and increasing their understanding along the way.

That’s no longer the case.

Apple’s ATT Framework hit the brakes on excessive data tracking, which naturally limits the information available to Meta and automotive marketers using tools like the Facebook platform.  

Traditional data techniques through third-party cookies and device identifiers are a thing of the past. As a marketeer, you need a new strategy in 2023. 

9. Kiss goodbye to ‘traditional’ Google Analytics

Google Analytics 4 (GA4 – the new one) was originally released a couple of years ago. However, its predecessor ‘Universal Analytics’ is being completely discontinued in 2023. This could seriously affect you if you’re one of the 30% of marketers who still haven’t made the switch…

We have written a comprehensive blog about this here if you want to know more.

10. You don’t need to be an expert in every field

Whilst the proliferation of new technologies, the ever-increasing number of channels and the accessibility of data has helped brands with targeting and personalisation, it has also made marketing more complicated. This is compounded by the sheer speed in which things are changing.

All this means that even if you have an in-house marketing department, it’s unlikely you will have the necessary depth and breadth of expertise. It also means it’s increasingly harder to pivot and adapt to market changes and trends.

Thankfully you don’t need to be an expert in every field, but it’s critical that your marketing is joined up and driven by a sound strategy – especially since the ever-increasing number of customer touchpoints means your message has to fight harder to be noticed.

We appreciate, there’s quite a bit to take in from this blog, but we’re thrilled you’ve found it. Maybe you’d like to incorporate some of the trends mentioned, or maybe you are looking for skills and expertise to complement your in-house activities. Perhaps you need assistance with planning, strategy, and campaign ideas. At WDA we’re experts in all things Automotive Marketing with 25 years of experience, which means you don’t have to be.

Why not get in touch?

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