Driving Online Results for Auto Dealers | Adtaxi

Driving Online Results for Auto Dealers

Digital Marketing

Jennifer Flanagan

Mar 02 2021

Car buying today has changed, particularly over the past year. Now so much more of the car buying journey happens online. Starting with product discovery and sometimes all the way to the final purchase, automotive shopping can now be done almost entirely remote for some dealerships while others may never require you to step on the lot to complete a purchase.

The pandemic has only sped this up. Only 10% of people feel safe in ride-shares or public transportation. Today, buyers research online, are swayed by digital ads, go on virtual test drives, and buy online. Americans are now 40% more likely to buy a car online than they were before the pandemic.

Many of today’s car buyers are living in urban centers, are first-time car buyers and are disproportionately more likely to use digital channels as a part of their car journey. They are using YouTube to research, search for digital content to compare vehicles and learn more about features and specs and are more likely to complete the purchase online. This audience has driven the recent surge in demand for used cars, especially. 

The Path Moving Forward

The changes to the market have altered the way dealers must think about the car buying journey. With shopping being done predominantly online, the journey is not a linear process. Digitally nurturing your customers throughout shopping can help your dealership find success in a crowded market.

.Dealerships should adapt to accommodate the change in customers’ needs. Extend service offerings to include pick-up and delivery for sales and service with no contact payment options. Offer at home test drives and vehicle delivery for buyers to make the process easier. Facilitate business online as much as possible for things like trade in value, processes for applying for financing, and sales paperwork. This should all be clearly and prominently communicated on your website. 

Additionally, shift more advertising budget to digital channels where consumers are spending the most time. Streaming consumption is at an all-time high. Channels like YouTube, streaming apps, Connected TV (CTV) are incredibly popular, and many consumers are browsing these to compare makes and models and get details on spec offerings. Advertising directly on these channels can help improve brand awareness and draw consumers to your website for more information on your inventory.  Better yet, use your own first party consumer data to entice former buyers to upgrade to new inventory or target similar audiences to your current customers for a more strategic approach.

Shifting Platforms and Channels

Connected TV (CTV) will be the new car marketer’s best friend. Replacing some of your local TV ad buys with CTV ads will help capture more of your relevant consumers. There are ample benefits to switching over. Reach this engaged audience with relevant messaging and inventory when they are watching and influence consumer’s next step. You can also boost your video strategy with the help of the second screen. Over 70% of streaming TV viewers say they use a mobile device to look up a product they see related to the ad or content they are watching. Use this additional platform to drive brand engagement and increase conversions.

Connect your data feed to your CTV campaigns to truly leverage their power. Not only can you hone in on the most relevant audience, but your data feed can ensure that the most current inventory information is included in your ads; specific models and makes that each consumer is interested in can be advertised in the ad, and it allows marketers to use the campaign data from previous campaigns to inform these (and use the CTV data to inform future campaigns).

There are a number of other strategies that can aid marketers in capturing digital-native consumers. One is rearranging your site navigation to help these consumers in the journey. Highlight key points that you want to convert on, such as a resource center for information throughout the car buying journey, virtual test drives, and the buy button. Additionally, you should employ tools that customers can take advantage of, such as make and model comparisons to improve the online shopping experience.

Marketers need to shift their strategies to leave an impression on the new audience of car buyers. Digital marketing is the key to success moving forward and dealerships must know that to win the new buyers, they have to meet them on the channels they prefer.

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