In a study conducted by Accenture for Facebook, the research revealed that 58% of car buyers discovers new vehicles online compared to only 40% in-dealership. Men are more likely to use automobile manufacturer sites while women rely more on in-person conversations with friends and families to learn about new vehicles. According to the study, 41% of women said that a recommendation from a friend or family would make them interested in purchasing an automobile brand they had not previously considered. Additionally, women are more likely to rely on their social networks to learn about new vehicle; 35% of women discovering new vehicles through the Facebook family of apps such as Facebook and Instagram.
The research also revealed that 83% of auto respondents find different types of social media content useful when deciding on a car purchase. Within those who discovered new models on social media, 52% of women and 48% of men say social ads helped them find out about new vehicles and 39% of both groups said content from family and friends helped them to discover new vehicles. More, that the consumers stated that among the most useful content was:
The study also showed that both men and women are likely to share auto-related content; 54% of all auto shoppers said they have shared automotive related content on social media with their network. Specifically, men are more likely to share videos of automobiles compared to women.
In addition, mobile devices have been playing an integral channel for the auto-buying journey. 58% of auto respondents in the study state that they discover new vehicles and brands on their smartphones or tablets. Women are more likely to use their mobile devices to discover new vehicles and brands; 27% of women using mobile for vehicle discoveries compared to 22% of men.
These findings are valuable for automotive dealerships because they have a better understanding of how auto shoppers search for vehicles during the car buying journey and how these shoppers gain automotive information.
Here are five digital marketing programs that automotive dealerships should implement based on the data mentioned above:
Start a contest that encourages your customers to take a photo of their vehicles and the best photo will receive a gift such as a complimentary oil change or detailing. Encouraging consumer-generated content helps you gain brand awareness in front of your customers’ social media connections so they can become aware of your dealership and the brand and models you carry.
Toyota Pacific, for example, publishes Instagram posts featuring Toyota customers driving or posing with Toyota vehicles. Doing this helps Toyota Canada gain brand exposure in front of its current and prospective new fans and showcase the practical usage and joy of driving a Toyota vehicle.
Both men and women are searching on their smartphones and tablets for vehicle discovery. This means that the mobile version of your website is optimized. This means that the pagespeed loading time is within three seconds, the line height between each line of text is sufficient so mobile website content is legible, and all webpages can be navigated within three clicks.
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Since auto shoppers are using social media for vehicle discovery, it’s vital for dealerships to continuous showcase pictures or videos of new or current models they are carrying.
Lone Star Mercedes-Benz, for example, features new and pre-owned Mercedes Benz models that the dealership carries to generate brand awareness for these models and enhance purchase intention.
Respondents in the study stated that they find promotional content the most useful type of social content for automotive. This is likely because auto shoppers are seeking and waiting for the best promotion to purchase the desired vehicles.
For dealerships, this means that they need to continuously run Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns to promote monthly OEM promotions such as lease from only $79 a week or $5,000 off on cash purchase or run dealership-specific promotions such as additional $1,000 bonus on trade-ins or complimentary services for purchasing a pre-owned vehicle by end of the month. This type of content entices auto consumers because the content provides value to auto shoppers.
Women are more likely to develop an interest in a vehicle that they had not considered previously if their friends recommended the vehicle.
To encourage recommendations, dealerships can start a referral program where a current customers can receive bonus or complimentary service when they refer a friend to the dealerships. This incentive creates a win-win situation between dealerships and their current customers.
Automotive dealership marketing is incredibly competitive but dealerships can develop advantages over its competitors by using the six digital marketing tactics above. Implementing digital marketing programs such as optimizing mobile pagespeed to increase a dealership website’s mobile-friendliness, using consumer-generated content, or sharing showroom images or videos on social media consistently, dealerships can improve the online mobile shopping experience, gain brand exposure, and ultimately, more customers!
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