How S4M converted 44% of impressions to Volkswagen dealership visits

Volkswagen is a German multinational automotive corporation, famous for its high-quality cars. Founded in 1937 with the sole purpose of mass-producing today’s world-renowned Beetle, it now designs, manufactures and distributes passenger and commercial vehicles, motorcycles, engines and turbomachinery across the globe. The company operates in approximately 150 countries and has maintained the largest market share in Europe for over two decades.

In the race to gain consumers’ attention during the crucial period of January, Volkswagen Import wanted to complement its mass media advertising strategy by leveraging mobile activations to increase its visibility and promote its four bestselling car models – Golf, Polo, T-Roc and Tiguan – to drive more visits to dealerships across Belgium.

The strategy

To reach over-solicited buyers and make its brand stand out, Volkswagen partnered with drive-to-store specialist S4M for the Brussels Motor Show 2020 to create a dynamic mobile campaign that would appeal to car lovers in the country. As a top contender in the global automotive market, Volkswagen wanted to raise brand awareness and engage with those customers who were most likely to be persuaded to make a dealership visit. It also aimed to increase visibility and boost the sales of its four best-selling car models while optimizing ad spend. The automotive brand wanted to deliver a seamless mobile advertising experience to engage with users throughout the online journey.

With plants and dealerships for big names such as Audi or Volvo dominant in the country, Volkswagen had to find the right strategy to stand out in an increasingly competitive space. To ensure a successful advertising campaign, S4M had to pinpoint those customers who, with the right prompting, could be driven to visit a dealership.

S4M leveraged creatives that targeted customers within premium browsing environments and focused exclusively on mobile delivery. This device provides deep insights into consumer behavior – their habits, preferences and needs – which is key to enhanced campaign targeting, allowing S4M to build a tailored approach to meet the brand’s objectives.

The process

S4M developed a custom mobile-only drive-to-store strategy to promote Volkswagen’s car models and reach car lovers during the Brussels Motor Show 2020.

Instead of sticking to one-size-fits-all advertising, S4M targeted car lovers in general, as well as those aficionados who attended the Brussels Motor Show more specifically. S4M first implemented media activations to drive interest for Volkswagen and its four best-selling car models – Golf, Polo, T-Roc and Tiguan – while the show was taking place. The drive-to-store platform leveraged its in-house technology solutions to deliver ads to both show attendees and car lovers within a specific walking or driving distance of a Volkswagen dealership. A second advertising wave was run after the show, with S4M using a different set of creatives to retarget the same audience with updated messaging. By retargeting the user IDs of the people who attended the show and had opted in, the platform leveraged the event’s momentum and optimized the creatives to double down on the messaging and reach those consumers who were most likely to convert to a visit.

S4M combined a mix of animated MPU, banner and interstitial formats to give Volkswagen more reach and help it diversify its ad display. Throughout the campaign, S4M utilized its geotargeting tools and Fusio, its proprietary drive-to-store platform, to leverage users’ real-time location to deliver a live map showing walking or driving directions to their nearest Volkswagen dealership. Fusio ensured the brand’s dealerships received maximum ad exposure and incremental visits – directly attributable to its advertising efforts.

While the campaign was in-flight, S4M used third-party visitation data from independent partner Adsquare to measure visits to Volkswagen showrooms. These results were then integrated into its drive-to-store platform to optimize the campaign in real-time toward more physical dealership visits.

The results

Volkswagen’s drive-to-store campaign generated meaningful business results for the brand. By combining a mix of animated MPU, banner and interstitial formats, S4M gave Volkswagen more reach, allowing it to optimize toward the best return on ad spend while diversifying its ad activations. Overall, the automotive brand registered over 700,000 impressions fully rendered in brand-safe environments, and the campaign led to a +2% visitation uplift as a result of S4M’s media activations. This translated into an impressive 44% conversion rate.

When it comes to visit distribution, Saturday was the best performing day by far with 35% of total dealership visits, and 19% of visits were registered at 3pm throughout the week. The Golf car model brought in the most potential buyers, representing 37% of all dealership visits.

Nawal Es-Sdiqui is global communications manager at S4M.