Can YouTube clips and mobile websites replace test drives and in-person experiences?
Increasingly car shoppers are using online resources to find their ideal vehicle. In a recent interview, Kimberly Stonehouse, automotive industry development manager at Google, shared her perspective on some of the factors currently influencing auto shoppers’ behavior.
The internet is an essential source of information for car shoppers. While test driving vehicles remains an important part of the process, a car dealer’s website is ever more crucial in the buying process. Web searches also make it easy to find a completely new dealer. The internet is also used to find a dealer’s location, to check out automotive videos, and to gather information about sales and promotions. The list goes on.
YouTube is another significant resource used by many auto shoppers. More than half of vehicle buyers access YouTube auto clips prior to purchase. This popular video-sharing site allows the vehicle to come to life by intersecting the active engagement of users with any particular video.
Auto shoppers rely on their mobile devices in everyday life for daily tasks and when researching vehicles. While mobile traffic is not as great as that of desktop traffic, they complement each other well. Mobile platforms are particularly important because consumers use them to find dealer locations. Recently, Google created hyper-local search ads that tell mobile users their exact distance from an advertiser. This allows advertisers to send messages targeted to specific consumers.
Stonehouse observes that there are many factors that influence auto shoppers’ final decisions. But dealers who ignore the trend toward greater reliance on information from the web do so at their own peril.
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