Are We There Yet? Top Areas for Family Vehicles

It’s almost summer, and that means it’s time for the big summer auto push. As families get ready for their vacations—to the beach, the mountains, or the theme park—many will need to pick up new cars to accommodate their children. As a result, now is the time for automotive advertisers to prepare to capitalize.

Most auto customers use digital tools to research their new vehicles, and auto companies are leveraging this. According to a recent IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, Internet advertising revenues for the automotive space reached over $4 billion in 2012.[1] This makes it clear that digital is becoming an important channel for automotive advertising. 

We all know that SUVs and minivans make excellent family vehicles. According to the NADA, the top purchases for minivans in 2012 included the Dodge Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Town and Country, Toyota Sienna, and Kia Sedona. The top purchases for SUVs in 2012 included the Honda CRV, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota RAV4, and Ford Explorer. 

However, it’s not as easy to find information on which types of families prefer SUVs and which prefer minivans. To help auto advertisers better tailor their advertising efforts, MaxPoint used its proprietary Digital Zip® technology to develop a clear profile of both niche audiences. As an outcome of the research, we found that the key difference between the two audiences lies primarily in their interests. Additionally, we located the top cities in the nation that included neighborhoods with high concentrations of each group. This article presents MaxPoint’s findings. 

Minivan Families Profile
Based on our research, we found that minivan families tend to have the following characteristics:

  • They’re typically between the ages of 35 and 55.
  • Their incomes exceed $100,000 per year.
  • They usually have college degrees.  

Using MaxPoint’s interest data, we found that this audience is interested in new technology, business and finance, the economy, sports, eco-friendly living, and home improvement.  

SUV Families Profile
Demographically, the SUV family audience shares a lot in common with the minivan audience. In particular: 

  • They’re usually over 45 years old.
  • They have an income of $100,000 per year or more.
  • They have college degrees.
  • They’re homeowners.
  • They’re most likely married.  

While the demographics for this group resemble the demographics for minivan families, the audience diverges on its key interests. MaxPoint found that this audience is interested in general sports and extreme sports, food and drink trends, golf, and running; although, SUV families also share a love of technology with their minivan family counterparts.  

Where to Find Them
Of course, there are minivan owners and SUV owners in every city. However, a few cities have more neighborhoods with high concentrations of minivan owners and SUV families than others. They are:  

Top Cities for Minivan Families:

  1. Cleveland, OH
  2. Des Moines, IA
  3. Minneapolis, MN
  4. Orlando, FL
  5. Philadelphia, PA
  6. Raleigh, NC
  7. San Francisco, CA
  8. Seattle, WA
  9. Springfield, MA
  10. Toledo, OH  

Top Cities for SUV Families: 

  1. Albuquerque, NM
  2. Anchorage, AK
  3.  Atlanta, GA
  4. Boston, MA
  5. Chicago, IL
  6. Dallas, TX
  7. Denver, CO
  8. Houston, TX
  9. Sacramento, CA
  10. San Diego, CA  

As a result of the research, MaxPoint found that, even within the top cities, certain neighborhoods indexed higher than others for minivan or SUV ownership. Within Raleigh, NC, we found that the highest indexing neighborhoods for minivan ownership included Downing Village, Waterford Estates, Kitts Creek, Breckenridge, Chessington, and Huntington Woods. For the SUV crowd, MaxPoint looked at several neighborhoods in Denver, CO, and found that the top neighborhoods were Soda Creek, Kerr Gulch, Tanoa, the Ridge at Hiwan, the Overlook, and Troutdale Village.  

What This Means for Advertisers
Many auto advertisers only look at demographics. But, as MaxPoint’s research shows, there’s much more to the story. In fact, the key difference between the two groups lies in their interests—what do they spend their time reading about and thinking about? To target the right customers, advertisers need to deliver ads to neighborhoods where specific interests are high—for example, when running an ad campaign for SUVs, the auto company should target families with an interest in extreme sports. Additionally, advertisers may want to break up their creative efforts by neighborhood—with minivan ads in one location and SUV ads in another.  

In the end, the best approach for an automotive advertiser is to focus on both the profile and the location. This involves running a hyperlocal campaign that uses data from multiple offline and online sources to truly target the perfect customers.  

MaxPoint in Action  
MaxPoint used this data to bolster the results of several digital advertising campaigns, including:  

National Luxury Automobile Brand—A luxury automobile brand sought to drive customers to campaign pages on its website. MaxPoint targeted people between the ages of 25 and 54 with a household income over $100,000 that lived within 25 miles of dealership locations. MaxPoint also found that the best audience to target was interested in beauty, new technology, yoga, business and finance, and sports. The campaign helped the auto brand sell cars in multiple markets from the same campaign.  

Regional Auto Group—A regional automotive group wanted to advertise its cars in several areas using video pre-roll advertisements. MaxPoint was able to help the automotive advertisers target families with children under 18. Early campaign results have been extremely positive, showing a drastic increase in responsiveness over the industry average.