Industry News & Trends

What Drives Auto Shoppers’ Behavior

What factors are influencing the way today’s consumers shop for their next vehicle and vehicle products.

Kimberly Stonehouse leads Googles marketing and research for the North American automotive clients and agency partners.

google logoeMarketer sat down with Kimberly to discuss what factors are influencing the way today’s consumers shop for their next vehicle and automotive products.

I’ve included a brief summary of the interview below or you can read the interview in it’s entirety on emarketer.

1. Three months continues to be the average time frame consumers are taking to shop and research for their next vehicle purchase.

“A vehicle purchase process takes about three months, on average—and that is a considerable amount of time.”

2. Consumers are using digital for comparison purposes and narrowing down their purchase options.

3. As much time and work that is performed online, the number one offline research source is the test drive.

4. Both the online and offline dealership experience has a major impact on the consumers decision.

” 31% of 2010 auto purchasers visited a dealership site during the six months prior to purchase.”

The importance of long term follow-up. How many of you have a “sign up for our monthly specials” form on your website followed up with a strong email marketing strategy?

5. Consumers are going to the dealer websites more now than ever before. For this reason dealers should really consider increasing your dealership online video content.

6. OEM’s continue to embrace digital marketing with synergy between tier 1 and tier 2 marketing efforts.

“According to Nielsen, more than half of all in-market auto—car or truck—buyers will have visited YouTube in any particular month. So we know shoppers are there.”

What’s your video strategy?

7. Google seemed to shy away from answering questions around “social media” but rather talked about “video” instead – of course.

What defines your dealership social media strategy?

8. Mobile is one of the biggest consumer trends this for 2011. Automakers are recognizing the importance of mobile in the shopping process.

9. 20% of search traffic to OEMs comes through a mobile device.

Most DealerRefresher’s are seeing the same increase in traffic to their dealership mobile site.

10. Mobile site visitors are not replacing desktop visitors, rather its a complementary additive. One in three mobile searches is local. Dealers should provide an offer to a consumer who is driving around looking for a vehicle on a Saturday.

I agree mobile is vital but I’d be curious to know how may people are using their phone to shop dealers on a Saturday morning.

That’s the highlights from the interview. Nothing that most of us don’t already know but some of you might not be executing on. I’m working with my dealership website provider right now on expanding our mobile websites and overall strategy.

The work never ends…

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
Good post Jeff - saw the article earlier as well. Found it interesting that she emphasized video over other shopping/comparison activities such as price comparison, vehicle features & history reports. Also no mention of tablet usage. 

Have to think that most of their efforts are focused on OEM & new car activities/behavior too...

Absolutely excellent post here, J. Kershner...

As Eric mentions, and surely you know, the focus Google is placing on video is a push to YouTube in the battle for content gathering.

A focus on consumer shopping behavior is also a hidden treasure trove for Google because AT has already set the stakes high for this content, and the value for such content will only be driven up as advertising offerings become more and more optimized as a result of the research.  So, the ability to gather as much content as possible is being leveraged also when YouTube becomes the AT of video content for the sector.  It represents a straight punch to the chin of AT, and possibly the grounds for discussion of synergies between the two advertising conglomerates.  (Imagine what the size of a deal like that might be.)
At one glance of this post, I knew you deserved A Big Championship Trophy Hoist, J. Kershner - this is the coverage of the industry I can rock on (add perspective to) all day long, like what Cliff Banks was able to do while he was at Wards.

Keep it coming, superstar...
Get your video walk around game going!

I am seeing Google’s automatic Closed Captioning  on youtube videos more and more now. Here’s an example: It works very well!

Click on the red CC button and turn it on.

Google will find a way to index this. Big SEO upside for dealers that commit to video.

Do your video walk arounds right, seek help from the master Tim Jennings!
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  • July 11, 2011
Great article!