Nielsen//NetRatings has launched the Automotive e-Lifestyle Report which links the car brand preferences of over 20 makes of vehicle to their owners’ choice of websites and online behaviour.


In some cases the carmaker’s own website tops an owner’s choice, but the influence spreads to all choice of content.


In the UK, Ford owners prefer travel and finance sites, though one of their highest affinity sites is peugeot.co.uk. Vauxhall owners choose sites closely related to the automotive sector, including the Direct Line insurance site, Halfords and gmcard.co.uk, the General Motors platinum card. BMW owners have the closest affinity with travel sites, with 70% of the sites in their top 10 being flight and holiday sites. Fiat owners choices are focused on home making, including three estate agency sites, the DIY store B&Q, and marksandspencer.co.uk in their portfolio of surfing.


The research has been designed to show brand owners how their customers behave online, and how they may be able to target them more effectively. Media planners and buyers are expected to use the research to develop and execute effective online campaigns for automotive clients.


Nielsen//NetRatings says the research indicates that a driver’s car brand choice can be used to determine the way they will behave on the world wide web, and when out shopping.


Spokesman David Day said: “This approach is not about planning advertising and making business decisions based purely on the volume of hits or high audience numbers, but about the affinity different consumers have with particular brands.


“What these profiles indicate is that car brand ownership correlates closely with people’s lifestyle choices, which in turn influences their online behaviour. For the strategic planner or marketer, using this data will provide a list of websites companies may have never considered for advertising or promotional activity. For instance, BMW might investigate linking up with a travel site, Vauxhall with Halfords, Ford with The Kennel Club and Fiat with a site primarily targeting women, such as ivillage.com.”


The research also shows which ‘megapanelists’ have subscribed to receive regular newsletters from a range of companies and how much online marketing activity they are exposed to. Nielsen//NetRatings also claims to be the first to reveal which online newsletters and incentive schemes are most popular with consumers. lastminute.com, amazon.co.uk, tesco.co.uk, virginwines.com and cd-wow.com all score highly amongst car owners in this research.


“If you are a car brand owner, you can see that your customers are being bombarded with brand marketing, newsletters, competitions, incentives and reward schemes from a whole range of companies. What is interesting is that there appear to be very few automotive initiatives like this, yet car drivers are clearly interested in receiving relevant information, and are responding to special offers” Day said.