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TikTok’s guide for auto marketers highlights how the platform drives purchasing from discovery to ignition

According to TikTok, 44% of users are planning to buy or lease a car in the next six months. And TikTok is playing a role in those experiences:

  • In 2022, over three-quarters of TikTok users looking to buy a car used the platform for online research, according to the company. Almost as many (67%) discovered a new auto brand or product on the platform.
  • Over a third of users talked about purchasing a car with friends or family after seeing auto content on TikTok, according to a 2021 survey, while 12% actually made a purchase or lease after viewing TikTok’s auto content.

It’s with that in mind that the platform recently released its “Auto Dealers Playbook,” which aims to help marketers leverage the platform to engage the auto community and boost sales. TikTok’s playbook shares four approaches that marketers can use:

Approach 1: Inspiring discovery

  • Who’s it for? Marketers seeking to reach and inspire new customers
  • What are the key performance indicators (KPIs)? Ad reach or video views
  • How to define the audience: Cast a wide net. Use city, designated market area, and age information to target.
  • Advertising tip: Use a display card to add dealer branding or increase the call to action.

Approach 2: Find and engage your community

  • Who’s it for? Marketers who want to build brand love through community involvement
  • What are the KPIs? Community interaction, traffic, or conversion
  • How to define the audience: Start to retarget users who have previously engaged with your brand, explore interest, behavior, and hashtag targeting.
  • Advertising tip: Use ads to send users to your website for discovery of full inventory.

Approach 3: Convert in-market TikTok users

  • Who’s it for? Marketers who want to grow their customer base and increase purchases
  • What are the KPIs? Lead generation or conversion
  • How to define the audience: Keep retargeting. Upload a list of users who have visited your site. Create look-alike audiences.
  • Advertising tip: Create a lead ads form for collecting information from interested users.

Approach 4: Retain and service a loyal customer base

  • Who’s it for? Marketers who want to shift focus from new customer acquisition to maximizing customer lifetime value
  • What are the KPIs? Conversion or value-based optimization (enables advertisers to deliver ads to people who are likely to spend more)
  • How to define the audience: Use first-party data for targeting or exclusion. Continue retargeting and creating look-alike audiences.
  • Advertising tip: Use ads to send users to specific parts, services, or accessories order pages.

Why we care: This year, we estimate that digital ad spending for the automotive industry will hit $16.98 billion. Though that’s less than 7% of total digital ad spend, we predict that the category will see double-digit growth through 2024, meaning there’s lots of room for growth.


This was originally featured in the Retail Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.