Back in the fall, we attended Google Think Auto and gave you our key takeaways. Now Google has given us their top 5 principles from their 2016 Think Auto research!
Google talked to 5,000 Canadian car buyers while they were in the “thinking”, “researching”, and “buying” stages and found out how Canadians shop for cars and how dealers can reach them in the key moments of their buying journey. We have summarized the results of their research and what these results mean for Canadian car dealers.
1. Millions of Canadians are looking for a car right now
Google’s research showed that at any given moment, one-third of Canadian adults are thinking about buying a car. So make sure you are actively advertising all the time, not just during key sales events.
2. Digital is the engine that drives the consumer purchase journey
9 in 10 car shoppers use the internet as a source of information when doing their vehicle research. The internet has become the new showroom, so make sure that you pay as much attention to your online presence as you would your physical, offline presence. Also make sure you are providing immersive videos like walk-arounds and virtual test drives.
3. Car buyers are open to new brands throughout the path to purchase
About 1 in 4 car shoppers said they consider a brand based on finding a better option through research. Even though the OEM will be defending the brand, individual dealerships can still do their part by serving ads that not only drive awareness but also drive action.
4. Mobile is critical and cross-device a necessity
1 in 3 car shoppers switch between devices while researching vehicles, and 87% say that a positive experience on a website is likely to influence their purchase. Dealers should make sure that their sites are not only mobile friendly, but also responsive to make sure that the site looks great and is user friendly on all devices. Google actually has a tool that can test how mobile friendly your site is; and if Google has a tool for it you know it’s important.
5. Car buyers who rely on digital will do more for the car they want
One of our favourite stats from Google’s study is so valuable I wanted to quote it directly:
“Our research showed that not all customers are created equal. We
looked at what differentiates car buyers who get information mostly
from traditional sources (such as print, radio, and TV), from consumers
who used five or more digital sources. Digital people skewed slightly
younger, had higher household income, and actually budgeted 7% more
on their vehicle.”
Also, digital car buyers are willing to travel 30% farther to buy the car they want. If you are not already advertising online, you need to spend your money where people are spending their time. If you are advertising online, perhaps consider expanding your campaign’s location reach.