Dec 5 2022
Jim Zabel

2023 Trends for Automotive Marketers


With supply chain issues delaying delivery of key parts and curbing new car manufacturing, the automotive industry slammed the metaphorical brakes on at the beginning of the pandemic. But its engines never ceased running, and now we find ourselves entering arguably the most dynamic and expansive period the vertical has ever seen, with electric mobility, new direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, and evolving consumer behavior joining forces to make major impacts.

And so, despite near-term challenges (less affordability, rising interest rates, and tight supply), there are myriad reasons to be optimistic in 2023, all of which should trigger more advertising investment:

  • Vehicle availability is improving
  • New electric vehicle (EV) brands, models, and technology are fueling massive buzz for the industry as a whole
  • Cash dominates—buyers are ready for a good deal on the vehicle they’ve been waiting for, and they don’t require financing/leasing

The question, then, is how will these industry trends shape advertising trends moving forward?

First and foremost, brands will need to make their electric cars the stars. Fifty-two percent of car buyers say they would prefer an EV for their next purchase, so advertisers will need to prioritize creating awareness for these products and educating consumers about the benefits of electric mobility as they communicate their EV story. Both brands and dealers will also need to find ways to usher in EVs without cannibalizing the traditional gas-powered vehicle buyer.

Second, robust retargeting strategies will be key. Consumer behavior is shifting rapidly in this space, with more choices leading to more cross-shopping between models and ultimately less brand loyalty. To take advantage of these movements and accelerate into a position of strength, advertisers should focus on implementing powerful, future-proof audience segmentation strategies that will empower them to target engaged consumers effectively.

And one final thought as you consider media planning for 2023: Traditional automotive in-market segments will look different than in years past—mainly due to inventory and cost factors that are extending buying cycles. The path to purchase will likely be much longer than at any time previously, and to find the right consumer, automotive brands and dealers would do well to build a first-party data stockpile that can drive better results.


Want to learn about some of the macro trends affecting digital marketing more generally? Check out our 2023 Trends Report to stay ahead of the curve as you plan for the year ahead.

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