Finding & Segmenting Car-Buying Audiences in 2022
Mar 24 2022
The market for both new and used vehicles is a hot topic. The average used car price grew by nearly $8,000 in just 12 months last year, and with demand for vehicles still on the rise (and supply still impacted by chip shortages and other supply chain hiccups), there’s never been a more crucial time for dealers to reach their most qualified audiences.
Here’s how dealers are winning through smart audience segmentation in 2022.
Why Trade-Ins & Trade-Ups Represent Huge Upside
Cash compensation is a powerful motivator for shoppers in the market for a new vehicle. The trade-in crowd presents dealerships with both an effective method of acquiring inventory outside of the traditional auction and a reliable pool of qualified sales leads. That makes trade-in incentives and instant cash estimates for used vehicles one of the best functions auto dealers can incorporate into their brand websites and marketing messages — even for car-buyers who claim to be shopping new.
An in-house study conducted in September 2020 found 56% of individuals in the market for a new car say they haven’t given up their search for a vehicle, but instead shifted their focus from new to used. This is the key audience dealers need to reach with trade-in, trade-up messaging.
Whether it’s a full-on blitz across social platforms, expanding the dealership’s digital presence, or establishing an online KBB buying center, dealerships need their most qualified buyers to know what their current car is worth and how to successfully trade it in for an upgrade.
Other Key Car-Buying Segments
There are plenty of would-be car shoppers beyond those actively looking to trade in their current vehicle for something new. Successfully targeting different markets can open up entirely new avenues for dealerships previously restricted to their local demographics. With car prices climbing, the average shopper is willing to expand the scope of their search for a better deal beyond city limits — which is great news for dealers offering prices worth crossing town for.
There are several other useful data points indicating potential leads marketers can explore. A user who recently searched for auto repair shops online or frequently uses rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft is plenty qualified for a top-funnel ad to gauge further interest.
Why Online Dealership Content Matters to Younger Car-Buyers
Auto sales’ defining trait since the pandemic altered the landscape is the need to provide quality digital experiences. Online car vendors like Carvana and Shift have seized opportunities presented by a younger clientele’s willingness to make major purchases online, and dealerships would be wise to follow.
Millennials in particular have shown a growing interest in discovering and experiencing the digital showroom via personal devices. That makes every aspect of a dealership’s online presence a critical element of the new car sales process, including these basics to a strong digital storefront:
Up-to-date Inventory: If customers can’t easily locate a dealer’s current inventory, they can’t move forward with a purchase.
Easy Site Navigation: Car shoppers generally ask a lot of questions when they shop in-person — dealership sites need to be prepared to answer the big ones, including sliding-scale payment estimates and available financing options.
Tons of Pictures, and a 360-Degree View: Online car-shoppers don’t like surprises. Many dealers have incorporated high-res images of their inventory, complete with marked imperfections, to better replicate the in-person shopping experience.
Offer Online Buying: Make sure online prices and inventory are accurate and include a contact dealer/reserve vehicle function for serious shoppers.
Performance-Driven Social Efforts: Younger audiences check social platforms multiple times a day on their personal devices. Get in front of qualified customers with dynamic retargeting on social platforms to get the most out of your digital efforts.