While interest in electric cars is on the rise among increasingly climate-conscious consumers, there are still some significant barriers that are stopping people from buying an EV.
So what are the key considerations for marketers, and how can you address the right elements to maximize take-up? That’s the focus of Meta’s latest research report on the EV industry, which actually includes some key notes for all marketers across the board.
As per Meta:
“During the pandemic, global English-language conversations about electric vehicles (EVs) grew a staggering 238% on Facebook. But while the conversation trended upward, more than half of auto intenders surveyed aren’t actively considering electric vehicles.”
In order to glean more insight into why EV take-up hasn’t been greater, Meta commissioned a survey of 10,000 people, to get their thoughts on electric vehicles, and their hesitations in buying an electric car.
And while many of the responses are likely what you would expect, they are worth noting for EV marketers, and for other tech innovations which lean into newer, less trusted technologies.
First off, the research shows many auto buyers are indeed considering EVs, with some 42% now at least looking into electric cars.
But even so, actual EV adoption is far lower than this, with a recent report showing that electric cars made up just 4% of American auto sales in 2021, compared with 9% in China and 14% of new sales in Europe.
So what’s stopping these buyers from actually making a purchase, and taking that next step?
According to the data, the barriers for converting potential EV buyers are largely practical, with consumers concerned about battery life-span, travel range, charging infrastructure and cost.
That makes sense, but the data also shows that many people that have some interest in EVs remain distant from the actual buying process, with the majority of respondents having never even been in an electric car.
That suggests that the core messaging around these aspects is not getting through, and Meta says that sellers of EVs need to do better at communicating the benefits around maintenance, performance and the development of infrastructure to support charging needs.
In this sense, practical messaging works best, as opposed to idealism, or sometimes bewildering tech speak.
As per Meta:
“These consumers are far more likely to respond to messaging around pragmatic issues like maintenance costs and safety.”
It’s one thing for Elon Musk to showcase some bizarre-looking silver truck, and tout it as the future, but the realities of owning and operating an EV are far more applicable to the day-to-day consumer.
In essence, Meta’s data shows that, as with the basic principle of all marketing, people buy based on what’s in it for them, not what your brand messaging may be. As such, it’s important for marketers to keep in mind the practicalities, even with newer technological developments – because while it may be great to focus on the benefits for the environment, and that may sway buyers to a degree, the real test is in how it will impact their lives, and the benefits they can gain by buying in.
Even in the midst of the climate crisis, practicality remains the key, which is an important message to highlight when considering how to communicate products or initiatives that also align with a broader purpose.
You can check out Meta’s full EV report here.
Meta’s Adding More Ad Targeting Information to its Ad Library Listings
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytics scandal, Meta has implemented a range of data protection measures to ensure that it limits access to users’ personal data and insight, while at the same time, it’s also been working to provide more transparency into how its systems are being used by different groups to target their messaging.
These conflicting approaches require a delicate balance, one which Meta has largely been able to maintain via its Ad Library, which enables anyone to see any ad being run by any Facebook Page in the recent past.
Now, Meta’s looking to add to that insight, with new information being added to the Ad Library on how Pages are using social issue, electoral or political ads in their process.
As you can see here, the updated Ad Library overview will include more specific information on how each advertiser is using these more sensitive targeting options, which could help researchers detect misuse or report concerns.
As explained by Meta:
“At the end of this month, detailed targeting information for social issue, electoral or political ads will be made available to vetted academic researchers through the Facebook Open Research and Transparency (FORT) environment […] Coming in July, our publicly available Ad Library will also include a summary of targeting information for social issue, electoral or political ads run after launch. This update will include data on the total number of social issue, electoral and political ads a Page ran using each type of targeting (such as location, demographics and interests) and the percentage of social issue, electoral and political ad spend used to target those options.”
That’s a significant update for Meta’s ad transparency efforts, which will help researchers better understand key trends in ad usage, and how they relate to messaging resonance and response.
Meta has come under scrutiny over such in the past, with independent investigations finding that housing ads, for example, were illegally using race-based exclusions in their ad targeting. That led to Meta changing its rules on how its exclusions can be used, and this new expansion could eventually lead to similar, by making discriminatory ad targeting easier to identify, with direct examples from Meta’s system.
For regular advertisers, it could also give you some additional insight into your competitors’ tactics. You might find more detailed information on how other brands are honing in on specific audiences, which may not be discriminatory, but may highlight new angles for your own marketing efforts.
It’s a good transparency update, which should glean significant benefits for researchers trying to better understand how Meta’s intricate ad targeting system is being used in various ways.
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