It comes as no big surprise that today’s consumer journey starts online – and that is true for many industries, but especially for automotive. Right after a house, a car is bound to be one of the biggest purchase someone will ever make, so it is normal they take time to explore their options. Your customers are also looking for related services, like repair or maintenance, which are added selling points when comes the time for them to make a decision.

And for those reasons, your customers will shop around and look at their options online before they even set foot in your dealership. Here are some stats you should know about your customer’s journey:

1. 60% of customers will research cars online.

Given that number, any car dealership looking for new clients should start by building a solid online presence. This means, having a website, but also building landing pages to showcase what you offer (your stocks as well as your services), and using online advertising tools, such as retargeting, to generate awareness around your business.

Building pages focused on your offer will help you segment your audience better: Types of vehicles, repair and maintenance services, financing options, these are all options you should consider when building your landing page. This strategy will help you do two things: one, learn which of your products and services are most popular and two, ensure the relevance of your ads to your prospects.

2. 56% of all car buyers were influenced by the dealer’s website to visit the dealership

This is another stat to reinforce the importance of developing a strong online presence. Much to the first point, having landing pages dedicated to the specific products and services you offer is important to generate trust and engagement with your audience. This does not mean building a page for every car in your lot, but for example, creating buyer’s guides and tips for the type of vehicles you sell.

If your prospect is looking to buy an SUV and finds a guide on the best ways to choose it on your website, not only can you retarget them with the SUVs you have to sell, but most importantly, you just became a trusted advisor. It may be time-consuming, but the return on investment can also be very high.

3. Car buyers visit on average 5.5 websites over the span of 2 months before making a decision.

The 2 month period gives you a huge window of opportunity to start a retargeting campaign. Because let’s not forget that every online session your customer will spend looking at cars and related services will lead them to visit other websites as well. That’s where, through retargeting, your ads will be to remind them of the products they’ve looked at.

In this case, you should plan your campaigns to run for at the very least two months, as a way to have subtle but constant reminders of the products you are offering. 3 out of 5 people say they notice ads for products they have previously looked at and 70% of your returning clients are likely to convert (i.e. come visit your dealership).

4. 53% of car buyers used multiple devices to do their online research – specifically, 79% on desktop, 56% on mobile, and 32 % on tablet.

Launching a multiformat campaign is always a good strategy but given those stats, it is a must for the automotive industry. Since more than half of your shoppers will visit your website through their mobile phone, make sure you build a mix of desktop and mobile formats, such as IAB standards or Swipe, to reach your customers on every device they use.

If you want to learn more about other tools to build your online presence, check out our guide for online advertising acquisition tools or speak to one of our experts!


Source: 2017 Car Buyer Journey Study