At the beginning of the car-buying journey one-third of car buyers know the exact vehicle they are buying, and half of these car buyers tend to re-buy from the same make.

The remaining two-thirds of car shoppers are undecided on the type of make and model they plan on buying at the beginning of the buyer journey, providing an opportunity to reach them and convert them.

The majority of the sales journey is happening online before buyers even step foot in a lot. Car buyers are conducting over 60% of their research time online, across multiple devices: computer, smartphone and tablet. It is key that the first interaction with a dealer website be user friendly, mobile responsive, reflect the most up to date prices, and have an easy way to contact the dealership by providing either a chat feature or a click to call button. Seamless, omni-channel shopping experiences, are critical in converting online traffic to the dealer’s lot.

When it comes to dealerships advertising locally, the competitive landscape is driven by digital advertising. Nearly 60% of advertising is online compared to 15% in print and 8% in local TV.


Online spending is projected to grow from $169 Million in Chicago to $203 Million by 2022—accounting for 67% of all market spending. Digital growth will be largely driven by targeted display (32%), followed by paid search (25%) and video (23%).

The Chicago Tribune Media Group (CTMG) offers robust solutions across all media to reach car buyers at each touchpoint.

CTMG’s strategists work with you to target auto intenders in your footprint and conquest from the competition.

CTMG’s digital portfolio targets key auto intenders as they navigate their research across the web. Strategic targeting can include:

  • Browsing behaviors,
  • Interests,
  • Demographics,
  • Geography: ASAs, top telling ZIP codes,
  • Targeting against competitive makes and models

CTMG’s award winning content studio creates and integrates custom content, video, digital assets across Connected TV, Targeted Display, Social Media, etc., reaching auto buyers in the formats they want to be reached.

Source: Compass, Borell and Associates, 2018-2022; Cox Automotive, IHS Markit Polk