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Making the Most of the Digital World

By January 4, 2018 No Comments
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As this article from Think with Google shows, the digital word is gaining ground when it comes to vehicle shopping. If you’ve been waiting to optimize your online presence, the statistics below prove that now is the time to start!

The auto dealer’s guide to moving metal in a digital world

-by Gary Schuller

Fueled by innovations in technology and media, the auto industry is experiencing another period of disruption. In the past few years, we’ve seen the emergence of autonomous vehicles, the rise of ride-sharing platforms, and new entrants like Tesla that have streamlined the retail process. But while the pace of innovation has picked up, vehicle sales are showing signs of slowing down. On top of that, people are holding onto their cars for longer—an average of 6.5 years today compared to 4.3 years just a decade ago—making the bar for selling people their next vehicle even higher.1

And the reality is that today’s consumers interact more with your brand online than they do in person. A few highlights:

  • Ninety-five percent of vehicle buyers use digital as a source of information. In fact, twice as many start their research online versus at a dealer.2
  • 60% of all automotive searches come from a mobile device and some of the top mobile searches are related to dealerships.3
  • Nearly 25% of all automotive searches are related to parts, service, and maintenance.4
  • More than 40% of shoppers who watched a video about cars or trucks visited a dealer as a result.5

When we dig a bit further into the process of buying a car, we see that search is the most commonly used source amongst all sources, including word of mouth, television ads, and even dealer visits.6 But search isn’t the only place shoppers look for information. Through online video, they’re now able to experience parts of the shopping journey that previously could only be done on the lot, including vehicle walkarounds, product demonstrations, and video test drives.

But all of this information that shoppers are gathering online isn’t just helping shape their decisions, it’s driving them into your dealership. So when you’re looking to reach new customers or retain existing customers, you need to reach them where they’re spending time: online.


1 IHS Automotive U.S., 2015.

2 Google/comScore, “Automotive Shopper Study,” U.S., n=3,165 consumers 18+ who purchased a vehicle in the past three months, Jan. 2017.

3 Google Internal Data, 2017.

4 Google Internal Data, U.S., fixed operations queries, Jan.-Aug. 2017.  

5 Google/comScore, “Automotive Shopper Study, ” U.S., n=3,165 consumers 18+ who purchased a vehicle in the past three months, Jan. 2017.

6 Kantar TNS/Google, “The Drive to Decide 2017,” U.S., n=600 online consumers who have bought a new car within the last 12 months, 2017.

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