Kia Drives Traffic Online Using Traditional Media

Visitors to Automaker's Site Are 60% More Likely to Buy One of Its Vehicles

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Kia Motors America is using traditional media to draw consumers to its website.
Go to KiaMatch.com: One ad compares car shopping to finding a mate.
Go to KiaMatch.com: One ad compares car shopping to finding a mate.

Kia.com visitors are 60% more likely to buy a Kia, said Russell Wager, managing partner-group client director at David & Goliath, El Segundo, Calif. And shoppers who go to the site before a third-party auto site have a "significantly higher propensity" to buy a Kia and to visit a dealer, said Ian Beavis, VP-marketing of the South Korean importer.

The agency developed two creative approaches for the task. One execution, which broke April 12, compares car shopping with looking for a mate and directs people to KiaMatch.com. The carmaker also is running TV, radio and newspaper ads spoofing a self-help book. The kicker: Every page in the book says Kia.com.

Tv ads lead customers to site
Mr. Beavis said Kia saw a spike in traffic to its site after those ads on TV, on radio and in newspapers began running in mid-March. David & Goliath learned through research that car shoppers spend the last month before buying online studying what to purchase, said David Angelo, chairman-CEO and chief creative officer. "We want to eliminate the need for them to go to other sites."

Traffic to Kia's website has been building since the marketer gave more prominence to its URL in traditional-media ads six months ago. Kia.com attracted 566,000 unique visitors in February vs. 275,000 in February 2006, a 106% jump, according to ComScore.

But Jeremy Anwyl, president of auto-info site Edmunds.com, said online-traffic measurements to automakers' sites are misleading because they're based on shoppers' pre-existing interest. Site traffic to Kia research pages on Edmunds.com in March 2007 fell 19% to 2.25% of the site's total traffic, compared to March 2006, when it was 2.79% of total traffic.

Mr. Beavis said Kia, which advertises on Edmunds, wants to be more proactive: "It's in my best interest to attract people to my site first."

It's not as if Kia is in a sales slump: Earlier this month, the automaker announced a first-quarter sales record of 73,603 units, a 13.5% increase from the year-ago period.
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