Auto brands are spending big on their digital advertising. According to a report from eMarketer, by the end of 2016, auto advertisers in the U.S. spent $9.13 billion on digital advertising—12.7 percent of total digital ad spend in the country.
That’s a more than 22 percent gain from 2015’s auto digital advertising spend. Is your auto brand ready to measure up against that kind of industry competition?
5 Key Micro-Moments of Mobile Auto Shoppers
Think with Google recently shared research on the mobile shopping micro-moments of online car shoppers. Micro-moments are those quick research sessions during a lunch break, as well as comparing prices online when at a physical dealership (and everything in between). Let’s see what Google has to say about this for mobile auto advertisers.
1. Which-Car-Is-Best Moments: Be Seen
The first moments of an auto shopper’s journey are often about figuring out which car is best for their needs. A Google search on a mobile device tends to be the first step of those moments, so that is where you need to be as an advertiser.
Because the research sessions are brief, shoppers aren’t going to examine every auto brand, but instead check out the websites and reviews of a small selection. If your paid search ads play up the key information they’re looking for in the beginning, you’re far more likely to be part of the final consideration set when the shopper is ready to buy.
2. Is-It-Right-For-Me Moments: Provide the Right Info
When auto shoppers want to get more in-depth information about particular vehicles, they continue to shop in spurts on their phones. This step was traditionally taken by visiting a dealership and looking at the cars themselves, but all of that information is now available online. In fact, according to Google’s data, today’s average auto shoppers only make two trips to dealerships.
For advertisers, this means it’s vital to not only highlight features in ads that drive traffic, but then provide the right information on a mobile-optimized website when shoppers get there.
As an example, Think with Google presents Glori, a car shopper who researched Hyundai Accents on her phone during her child’s swim lesson. She got good information on gas mileage, suggesting that Hyundai’s site was optimized for her mobile shopping experience.
3. Can-I-Afford-It Moments: Share Price Reviews
Most auto shoppers are highly concerned with price, and this is where their next set of moments takes them. Further, according to Google data, 70 percent of searches for auto list prices and manufacturers’ suggested prices are performed on mobile devices.
Again, the shopper tries Google searches, and then looks at reviews, dealer sites and information on deals.
Don’t assume that just having your vehicles in the right price range will get them seen. Ensure the good reviews about your automobile and value are out there, and ready to compete with all the brands a mobile shopper will see when researching affordability.
4. Where-Should-I-Buy-It Moments: Be Locally Accessible
As we mentioned earlier, the average car shopper only visits dealerships twice, so the competition is heavy to get them through the physical door, since we’re not quite in an age of buying vehicles online (yet, anyway).
Some of the best advertisement for auto dealerships happens on the road—where shoppers see cars, dealer license plates and the lots themselves. Google references data that says one in three mobile auto shoppers will use their device to actually locate or call a dealership. But first, they’ll check you out online.
Think with Google presents auto consumer Garrett as an example here. He noticed a vehicle he liked on the road and its tags from a local dealership. From his own parked car, on his mobile device, he checked out that dealer’s prices, found contact information, called the location and said he’d likely visit them.
If that specific dealer hadn’t been so easily found, Garrett may have gone in an entirely different direction.
5. Am-I-Getting-A-Deal Moments: Outshine Local Competition
Even when you have a shopper on your lot, about to buy, you’re still competing in the mobile ad space. Google’s data shows that most searches for competing dealerships happen at other dealerships. Shoppers want real-time information on value, right to the last minute.
As an advertiser, know that the journey doesn’t end with a lot visit or even a specific vehicle at a specific lot. Know what your competitors are offering, and highlight what you can do better.
These days, auto brands need to have mobile ad strategies. It’s not an easy space to master, but if you’re optimized for mobile, providing the right information and measuring the important metrics, you’ll meet customers in their shopping moments.
For more insight into developing a mobile ad strategy, check out this collection of pieces from Think with Google on mobile and micro-moments.