Over the top Case Study - Automotive Advertising | Graham Oleson

Over the top Case Study


Millennials continue to play an increasing part in automotive sales, and this segment of the auto buying consumer is expected to make up 40% of all auto purchases by 2020. Knowing that this is a great opportunity to reach a rapidly growing customer base, we set out to discover how they are engaging with what we typically see as “traditional TV.”

Research has shown that a little over 60% of consumers watching television spend the commercial break with their heads down in devices (mobile phones, tablets, and laptops). Then once their program is back on and the commercial break ends, we still see that 60% of consumers are heads down in their devices. With the majority of consumers then watching neither their commercial nor their program, it was up to Graham Oleson to discover a way to uniquely reach both the heads up and the heads down millennial auto consumer where they are interacting.


Devices such as Roku and Smart TVs have grown by almost 240% year over year and represent a key platform of opportunity as more and more consumers – especially millennials – are ditching their cable providers for the comfortable confines of on-demand devices and programming. With a rapidly growing audience of over 42 million users of Roku devices (more than all other on-demand platforms combined), and Smart TVs becoming the standard for the TV buyer, we decided to leverage the popularity of the platforms to reach cord cutters in a unique and first-to-market way. This meant placing our video advertising spots through these Over the Top (OTT) devices as if they were through a standard cable box, but buying the spots in real-time – meaning we had the ability to reach a consumer when we knew that they were engaging in content, and then serve them a relevant ad.

But it didn’t stop there. What about those consumers that had their heads down? We wanted to make sure we were reaching those 60% of consumers with an effective and cohesive message. Thanks to our ability to leverage the technology in these OTT devices, we were able to identify when our video spot was served and what the IP address of the household was, so we could then serve online ads to those devices that were also on the network. That included when competitor ads were detected, creating the ultimate conquesting campaign! We also initiated an online video pre-roll campaign to compliment the television efforts, and the results we saw after running this for only a couple of months far exceeded our expectations.


Needless to say, millennials interacted with our message at a drastically increased rate. In fact, click through rates on the display banners being served after a television spot ran were over 350% higher than industry benchmarks, and over 250% higher than our own internal high standard of display benchmarks.
The impact of the OTT placements extended into online video as well, as we also saw an increase in our pre-roll video engagement rates and click through rates by about 50% and 25% respectively, and far exceeded industry benchmarks with an over 80% video completion rate on average.

Interestingly enough, the campaign also did an extremely effective job in targeting consumers who may have been exploring other manufacturers. The conquesting banners that showed to consumers who had just been exposed to a competitor’s television ad experienced a CTR of .41% – that’s a staggering 485% over industry display benchmarks.

But what about ensuring that the campaign interacted with the millennials as we intended? Well, visits to association sites on average experienced a 50% higher visitation rate from consumers in the 25-34 age group compared to the average site visit over the course of the campaign. Not only that, but these consumers – especially those coming from a conquesting ad message – were engaging with site content, and moving through the site faster to click out to a dealer’s website.

Here at Graham Oleson, we’re not just satisfied with being the first and currently one of the only automotive marketing agencies in the country to deliver ads through over-the-top devices; we want to be effective in reaching our target audience as well and driving contact with the dealers. Mission accomplished on all fronts.