How Dealers Can Effectively Reach Today’s Automotive Shoppers – Part 1

Last month Autoxloo successfully hosted a Google Partners Connect event. The presentation was dedicated to the theme: “How to Reach Today’s Automotive Shopper”. Two prominent Google speakers discussed various profitable digital marketing strategies for automotive businesses.

We decided to piece together the most valuable information and stats provided directly by Google for any dealers who couldn’t attend. Since there are so many tips that dealers can benefit from, this article is divided into two parts. The second part will be in a future blog.

How Dealers Can Effectively Reach Today's Automotive Shoppers - Part 1

Why should you be focusing more on your digital marketing?

Let’s start answering this question by looking at the automotive shopper’s persona from Google’s perspective. Who else but the world’s number one search engine can provide the most profound insight into how people shop for something today?

The automotive shopper is now different than before

It may be stating the obvious, but buying a car is no longer something that people need to visit a dealership for. In addition, more and more people are viewing the car buying experience the same as how they bought a washer and dryer online last week. That’s the kind of experience that customers are now expecting from the automotive industry. Your customers are assuming that you will live up to these new demands, as it has become an industry standard.

Modern-day automotive shoppers expect to be able to ask any questions they have and get their answers almost immediately. Today’s consumers are more:

  • Curious

    Searches related to “the best vehicle for pets” is up by 80%, just from last year alone. Gone are the days when people performed their searches based on Make, Model and Year. The process that used to be fairly straightforward is now more comprehensive. So car dealers should be aware of this, and therefore they can be more prepared for it.

  • Demanding

    Google stated that they have seen a huge rise in “location near me” searches. It has almost doubled compared to 2014. Customers are more demanding and when they do have some time to look for a vehicle, they don’t want to be roaming all over the country. They begin or re-start their search with convenience in mind.

    Starting with a “[brand] dealership” search, they quickly adapt the technology to their own needs and change it to a “[brand] dealership near me” search. But in their most recent research Google has found that some users are even outgrowing the “near me” search. This means that they are expecting hyper-localized results automatically. For example, when they are typing in “Audi dealership” for their search, they omit the “near me” part, thus implying that they figured it was already recognized.

    If you haven’t optimized your dealership website for “near me” searches, it’s high time to do it. Approximately, 4 out of 5 consumers perform local searches using their smartphones, so don’t forget to optimize it for mobile devices as well.

  • Impatient

    Another stat to consider: test drives on YouTube surpass test drives in person by two to one. So you as a dealer have the opportunity to create a virtual showroom where modern-day automotive shoppers can take a live video tour of any vehicle you have in stock.

    People are so accustomed now to getting information in real time, that they want to watch a vehicle walk-around video from their own bed even before the dealership opens. Of course you can invite them to come to your lot on Saturday, but this isn’t an offer that automotive shoppers are looking for today. Why should they have to wait till Saturday, if they can get the answers to their questions today?

    They can be so impatient that they expect to learn about various vehicles, where they can buy them and even what is currently in stock without having to contact a dealership.

So if you want to move at the same speed as a customer, you have to think like your customers, and ask yourself: what do my customers really want? Autoxloo and Google have the answer for you: They want you to improve your online presence, otherwise, you simply will get left behind.

What should I expect from my digital marketing?

The next important question that Google helped us to answer was: What specific activities associated with digital marketing will lead to new clients?

Online forms have been the industry standard in dealership marketing for the last 15 years. So you might conclude: I’m already optimizing my website for this, isn’t that enough?

If you look back to what was previously noted about customers looking for timely information, not a bunch of forms to fill out, you will likely doubt their efficiency.

Google statistics have proven that these forms are quite ineffective. Only 26% of people who have purchased a vehicle in the last six months actually started their shopping by filling out an online form. The other three quarters of your audience use a different approach, and that’s a substantial number of potential clients.

If your dealer website is well-designed, there are so many other interactions that you could be focusing on:

  • VDP Views
  • Calculator
  • Text App
  • Phone Calls
  • Contact Us
  • Test Drive/Appointment Scheduler
  • Directions to Dealership
  • Time on Site

These are very important interactions that you should be considering to use within your digital marketing strategy. There is a classic saying that “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”, and we couldn’t agree more here. You should constantly analyze the number of interactions on your website.

But how do you do that? Autoxloo, as a Google Partner, is very well equipped for tagging a dealership’s site with a Google Ads conversion tracking tag. This analysis unlocks data that can help you to better understand the performance of your campaign, how your ads are doing and which keywords are driving the most conversions.

Continue to follow our blog for the next upcoming part 2 of this article.

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