Whether you own a small auto dealership or are trying to sell the company van, there’s no way to ignore online and mobile marketing these days as two critical channels for connecting with customers.
According to the Bing Ads Automotive Insights for Digital Marketers report (PDF) written by the Bing Ads team but including data from Accenture, 40 percent of Americans narrow down their choice of cars to one or two based on the information they get online. Only four percent rely solely on a dealer’s recommendations. Meanwhile, 29 percent of automobile buyers do visit a dealer but then do additional Web-based research before making a final decision.
Forty-four percent of these customers research brands, prices and user reviews before ever setting foot in a dealership. Twenty-one percent conduct background checks on used vehicles online too.
And what kinds of automobiles are these online shoppers researching?
Well, the Bing Ads report suggests that the online search for SUVs is the highest, accounting for 45 percent of total automobile queries. Next highest on the list is the search for sedans at 20 percent, the report indicates.
And when consumers look for a vehicle online, where do they start their search? About half the searches for online vehicles are for online marketplaces like Cars.com or Cragslist Cars — so it would help if they could find your listings there too.
It would also help if your listing is mobile friendly, the report indicates. Fourteen percent of shoppers primarily use their smartphones for car research. In fact, the report suggests 7 out of 10 smartphone users shop for vehicles this way. Obviously, this is a huge market to consider.
Other study findings suggest not only the importance of online information during the car purchasing process. It also hints at the form that information should take. Prospective customers say they are interested in getting more tailored information on vehicles when doing online research, the study says. Customers would also like more virtual demonstrations and more sites that provide an opportunity for comparison shopping. Images are also important, the study says.
The report clearly shows the increased importance of digital marketing in the automobile market. The results also point towards the fact that consumers are in complete control of the automobile buying process in the present day.