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'Net-Based Auto Ad Impressions Decline 43%; Gas Guzzlers Pushed

Ford Motor Company was the top auto advertiser in January 2009, reaching nearly one-third of the US online audience with 481 million display ad impressions, according to a comScore analysis of online automotive advertising, based on data from its Ad Metrix service, including its new new product-level dictionary, writes MarketingCharts.

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Ford was followed by Toyota, which had 384 million impressions, while third-place General Motors had 316 million. The top-10 auto manufacturers accounted for 58% of the 1.9 billion ad impressions in the segment, with the "Big Three" US automakers (Ford, GM and Chrysler) accounting for 26%.

comScore's analysis also found that automotive advertisers delivered nearly 2 billion ad impressions in January and reached 120 million people, or 65% of the total internet audience. This represents a decline of 43% in online ad impressions for the auto industry vs. January 2008.

More SUVs than "Green" Models Advertised

As part of the study, comScore identified both the most advertised SUV and fuel efficient/hybrid vehicles using the comScore Ad Metrix product dictionary. comScore found that, the auto companies delivered six times more display ads for SUVs (65.0 million) than fuel-efficient/hybrid models (9.9 million) in January 2009. The most advertised SUV model online was the GMC Yukon, with 22 million ad impressions, followed by the KIA Borrego (10.3 million) and Toyota Sequoia (8.5 million).

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The top "green" model advertised online was the Chevy Malibu, which received 1.4 million ad impressions promoting its fuel-efficiency or hybrid design, followed by the Lexus LS hybrid (1.2 million) and Lexus RX hybrid (1.0 million).

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"The collective online advertising strategy of automakers shows a low level of online advertising for their green models and higher levels for their heavier gas consumption vehicles," said Jeff Hackett, comScore SVP. "While SUVs may still drive a larger share of sales for the automakers, comScore research has shown that online is an effective brand-building medium and now might be a good time to begin shifting allocation of dollars and mindshare toward models of the future."

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