Chrome and Code – Selling Cars Online
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Google Research for Car Dealers

Google has changed the way we access information.  For the last 15 years, it has slowly impacted every portion of our lives, in most cases, making finding information easier and more relevant, and settling late night arguments a snap.  Given how good Google is at providing us data, they also have an unbelievable amount of information on the habits and patterns of people who use.  With that data, and 2300 or so volunteers who bought or leased a car in the last 12 months, they came out with some pretty cool information for Car Dealers on the impact of Search and other emerging technologies like Mobile, Video, and Social.  I’ve combed through their Google Think report a dozen times now and wanted to share some of the data I thought was impressive and how leveraging this information can help your dealership gain a competitive edge in 2013 and beyond.

Consumer Influence

In 3 years, the window of time a dealer or manufacturer has to influence a new consumer has shrunk from 36 days in 2009, to 30 days in 2012.  Dealers have less time to market to and convince a buyer that they have the right vehicle for them.  33% of buyers spend less than 2 weeks researching and investigating vehicles before purchasing, which is an incredibly short window.

Information sources have also changed, with Online (75%) and In Dealership (76%) neck in neck for importance to consumers researching what car to buy.  Traditional media is still steadily declining with Radio at 36% and Newspaper at 31%.

Specifically with online sources, there are also deep shifts in the sources used by consumers:

Shift in online sources used by car shoppers

Ad Recall is also changing significantly across various mediums with Print and TV declining, Keyword Ads and Radio Neutral (No Change), and Display Advertising online increasing by 9%.

Online Video

18% of online shoppers who bought a vehicle watched online videos during the buying cycle.  73% of them did it on YouTube.  Here is what they were looking at:

What Kind of Videos Car Buyers are looking at

Mobile

Mobile is a fast growing area with the proliferation of Smartphones, Tablets and other portable devices.  It is also significantly impacting the automotive space.  33% of shoppers used their mobile devices during the buying cycle.

27% of them searched for a dealership specifically, 32% visited a dealer by finding directions on their device, and 33% used click to call to get in touch with a dealer.  During the research phase of buying their car here is the information they were consuming:

Mobile Browsing information for Car Buyers

Social Media

Everyone talks about Social Media and car buyers are no exception.  Social Media so far is primarily used as a barometer for customer service, with 57% of car buyers using social media using it to read reviews vehicles, and 42% using Social Channels to read Dealership specific reviews.

 

These patterns look like they will hold true for the balance of 2012, and well into 2013.  Is your dealership ready to compete online in Search and Display advertising, Mobile Websites and Experience, Video Developement, and Social Media and Reputation Management?  Strathcom has the the tools and the know how to help your dealership succeed in any or all of these mediums.  Give us a call today to get started.

 

Written by Ben Cochrane

President

Ben Cochrane is President of Strathcom Media, Canada's largest automotive data solutions provider, and brings forward a wealth of experience in Auto Ecommerce, Marketing, Business and IT management. He has overseen the online operations and reputation of the largest automotive groups in Canada.

Is your website ready? Over 90% of car buyers research online before purchasing.