CAP: It's a fact that today's car buyers' decisions on what to model are already shaped by what they see on their social media feeds. For brand owners, the need is to stay authentic on marketing content. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Estimated to be worth $43 billion in the UAE and Saudi Araba alone in 2022, growth in the Gulf’s auto market will likely continue, driven by a strong demand for new cars after the stabilization of supply chains.

This demand is prominently led by Gen Z, who are poised to become a major automotive buyer. Unlike previous generations, for Gen Z, cars are not just a means of transportation but a captivating technological marvel equipped with the latest innovations, while also aligning with their lifestyles.

Although there are more ways than ever to reach potential buyers today, according to research from Redseer, over 30 per cent of buyers indicate researching cars as a top challenge. Many consumers report difficulty in finding reliable information and recommendations to inform their car purchases.

For marketers, this represents an invaluable opportunity, particularly as younger buyers increasingly turn to digital content platforms to conduct their research before making a purchase. This trend underscores the need for marketers to develop targeted, trustworthy content that resonates with this tech-forward audience.

Thus, as consumer preferences evolve, it's important for the automotive industry to adapt accordingly. This is particularly true for car marketers, who are navigating not only a changing automotive market but also an evolving marketing landscape.

Authentic digital content

Digital content is becoming a major element for automotive marketing strategies. Gone are the days of solely focusing on product features and specifications. Today, brands have started channeling the power of authentic, multimedia storytelling to create deeper connections with their audience.

This shift is evident in the rise of content platforms, where automotive enthusiasts and creators gather to share their passion and expertise.

Creators, with their innate ability to connect with their audiences on a personal level, play a pivotal role in driving this shift towards authenticity and credibility with their candid car reviews, exhilarating test drives, and unfiltered buying journeys. In fact, Redseer's study also found that content creators are considered the second most dominant key influence channel after digital ads for automotive sales.

Today’s consumers are not merely passive recipients of brand messages, they actively contribute to shaping the narrative. Through car reviews, test drives and behind-the-scenes glimpses of manufacturing processes, their content provides invaluable insights and creates a sense of community among enthusiasts and lays a foundation of trust among potential buyers.

With their growing influence among younger buyers, digital platforms present a strong opportunity for automotive brands to connect with their target audience in meaningful ways. A platform like TikTok, for instance, can be effectively leveraged to manage the entire purchasing journey from raising user awareness and streamlining the exploration and discovery process to enabling informed decision-making.

By collaborating with creators who understand the pulse of their audience, brands can create authentic content that deeply connects with consumers. This focus on authenticity is crucial for establishing trust and transforming casual browsers into confident, loyal customers.

Ford marks its Territory

Ford's digital campaign for the Territory SUV leveraged creators like Ali Al Hamoudi and Sarahh Miladd to connect with tech-savvy youths, while also engaging family-oriented influencers such as Yara Aziz and the Hennaoui family.

This approach showcased the model’s versatility and fostered an emotional bond, presenting it as an ideal family addition. The campaign significantly outperformed industry standards, achieving 2.4 times the average click-through rate, triple the video completion rate, and ad recall uplifts of 3x in Saudi Arabia and 2.8x in UAE.

Ford's strategic use of digital content effectively targeted diverse audiences while creating relatable, reliable, and accessible information about the Territory SUV.

As the wheels of innovation continue to turn in the GCC automotive industry, one thing remains clear – authentic digital content is driving change and reshaping how consumers discover and decide on their next purchase.

It simplifies access to reliable and trustworthy information for buyers, and allows brands to educate and connect with potential clients. By embracing authenticity and relatability, automotive brands can cut through clutter, offering direct and dependable information to customers.