October 20th, 2022

Silverback + Urban Science: The Science Behind Achieving Better Advertising Results


A changing media landscape requires changing strategies and tactics.

Digitization, increasing automation and new business models have disrupted other industries. Now it’s the automotive industry’s turn. According to a recent Nielsen report1, over the next two years, more than half of marketers said they are planning to decrease their linear TV budgets. At the same time, they’re planning to increase budgets across multiple paid digital channels, with some of the largest gains predicted for social media (up 53%), display and online video (each 50%, including mobile), and connected TV (up 37%).

As linear TV budgets drop and paid digital increases, the questions of “how much to spend” and “where to spend it” remain.

The natural inclination to pull back…and why you shouldn’t.

The probability of a downturn over the next 12 months stands at 47.5%, up sharply from 30% odds in June, according to the latest Bloomberg monthly survey of economists2. Although there’s a natural inclination to pull back, save more and ride out economic lows such as the ones predicted by Bloomberg, analysts point to the potential of losing market share to competitors as one of the major reasons brands should not cut back on ad spend during a recession3.

Renowned merchant and marketing pioneer John Wannamaker once famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; I just don’t know which half.” More than a century later, automotive dealership groups are still grappling with the answer. And now, more than ever, they are under tremendous pressure to make every dollar count. But how can you improve the chances that the strategies and tactics you’re using will be “on the money”?

That’s what Haselwood Automotive Group wanted to know from its agency, SilverBack Advertising, which collaborated with Urban Science® Media Performance solutions for answers.

The Challenge

Haselwood Automotive Group needed to reach a more qualified audience – but it also needed to understand which creative executions and which tactics were delivering the best online and offline conversations and how it could better align the ad journey to sales.

The Product

SilverBack Advertising enlisted Urban Science Sales Measurement™ in tandem with a strategic combination of programmatic media delivered by Data Fusion Marketing powered by SilverBack. The multi-channel campaign included CTV, Pre-Roll, Display, Retargeting, and Streaming Audio advertising to audiences identified by Urban Science.


The main KPIs for this campaign were:

  1. New vehicle sales match back rate
  2. Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)
  3. Time dilation measurement
  4. Creative comparisons and A/B testing


In terms of a path to conversion, the majority of targeted recipients first saw their ad on CTV and last on mobile display, with an average 30 number of days from first impressions to last impressions.

Creative included the use of 511 video spots and 469 different display creative executions over the 12 months studied. Data showed the branding display spots accounted for the majority of the conversions. Those insights led the client to focus more on creating new branding creative over model-specific offers.

“Urban Science audience data, combined with their sales measurement tools, allowed us to show a quantifiable ROAS for the client’s media spend.”

Shane Stender
VP, Managing Partner
SilverBack Advertising

The campaign – which ran during an economic downturn exacerbated by inventory supply challenges – delivered on all fronts:


impressions across CTV, Display, Video and Audio

SilverBack Advertising showed


new vehicles sold matched with a



“Data Fusion by SilverBack with the Urban Science sales measurement data has been invaluable to creating media and creative efficiencies and giving us an advantage in the marketplace. We’ve seen very challenging and quick changing market conditions between COVID and inventory shortages and Urban Science, along with SilverBack’s execution of the omnichannel programmatic campaigns, has given us extremely useful insights like what media was first engaged with, what media they saw last before their conversion, the vehicle information of what they ultimately bought. This has allowed our Haselwood team to react with creative changes, strategy changes, and budget allocation to stay ahead of the shifting market conditions.”

Peter Lavitt
Marketing Director
Haselwood Automotive Group

Knowledge (plus data, plus experience) is power.

Today’s automotive marketplace is rife with change, with inventory lows, supply chain breakdowns and overall automotive volume decreases impacting consumer shopping patterns. The SAAR volume for 2022 is hovering around 13.5MM new vehicle sales, whereas pre-2020 averages where upwards of 17MM4. It can be tempting to overreact to these signals and completely pull back, yet the industry now is riper than ever for stealing share through intelligent marketing, data analysis, and testing new tactics. A collaborative approach to dealership group marketing leverages the skill sets of all involved. The Haselwood Automotive Group example cited above demonstrates how “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Creative (by One Summit Media), plus advertising (by SilverBack Advertising), plus programmatic media (by Data Fusion), plus data and analyses (by Urban Science) combined to solve the underlying problem: reaching – and converting – a more-qualified audience of in-market shoppers.

“Robust and accurate data must be a marketers’ North Star for understanding and engaging the consumer and for measurement and attribution that enables the highest ROI.”

Jamie Moldafsky
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Every member of the collaboration team brought its “A” game into the equation. For SilverBack Advertising, that meant a specialization in digital advertising strategy and execution for Tier3/OEM advertisers. For Urban Science, that meant leveraging a revolutionary suite of solutions that include industry-exclusive, near-real-time auto sales data.* As Jamie Moldafsky, Nielsen’s chief marketing and communications officer, said: “Robust and accurate data must be marketers’ North Star for understanding and engaging the consumer and for measurement and attribution that enables the highest ROI.”

Put the power of science on your side.

Since its founding over four decades ago, Urban Science has continued to enhance its proven, scientific approach for engaging, motivating and supporting customers and dealers. It’s an approach that stays ahead of the technological curve, and continues to be the industry standard.

For more information about Urban Science, visit urbanscience.com/media or contact ajuip@urbanscience.com.


Get the right solution to power your science.

SilverBack Advertising built Data Fusion from the ground up to leverage a scientific approach to targeting combined with real attribution to support partners who need to quantify their marketing results. We continue to keep partners ahead by advancing our technology stack and providing right insights and full account service support.

For more information on Data Fusion Marketing by SilverBack Advertising, visit silverbackadvertising.com or contact hello@silverbackadvertising.com.



  1. “Nielsen’s New Report Predicts Seismic Changes in Media Budgets,” https://www.thetradedesk.com/us/news/nielsens-new-report-predicts-seismic-changes-in-media-budgets
  2. “Odds of US Recession Within Next Year Near 50%, Survey Shows,” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-15/odds-of-us-recession-within-next-year-near-50-survey-shows#xj4y7vzkg
  3. “‘Anchors of Stability:’ Three Reasons Why Brands Should Maintain Advertising During a Recession,” https://www.thetradedesk.com/us/news/anchors-of-stability-three-reasons-why-brands-should-maintain-advertising-during-a-recession
  4. ”FRED: Total Vehicle Sales,” https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/TOTALSA
    *Sales refer to vehicle unit sales and do not represent vehicle price or revenue.

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