Mobile Social Media and the Automotive Market

I was amazed and delighted to hear that in a recent Facebook study, 71% of all respondents use mobile during the purchase process of a car and that in the future, 58% said it will be the only device they use for all their vehicle research –  we’ve come a long way.

Many years ago, I ran a PPC campaign on Google AdWords for a prestigious German car manufacturer. The scepticism back then is non-existent and PPC is a core part of any car dealer or manufacturer’s marketing efforts.

Most of the scepticism didn’t come for the fact that search was not being used by prospective punters but more that as an execution to deliver sales leads, it may not be as effective as traditional methods being deployed at the time;  mainly Print, Radio and TV.

When looking at the analytics available in that period, the traditional markets were a key trigger to search activity. The search activity then triggered the KPIs in place:

  • Test Drives
  • Brochure request
  • Finance Quotes
  • Showroom visits
  • Etc.

The two worked well together and fulfilled a purpose of hitting various touch points not always visible back then in the buyer’s journey:

  • Motivating
  • Research
  • Purchase

Fast forward 5 years and similar but milder dissident voices can be heard when the automotive market looks at Social Media and the channels, sometimes being used purely as a direct marketing function. I say mild, because there are fundamental differences today that help us shape opinion and finally part with our hard earned cash. This is down to one device – the smartphone.

Why Targeting Mobile First Auto Consumers is important

According to the Facebook iQ Industry Research in January 2016, the Mobile first customer is fast becoming the

Main Concerns of the mobile first consumer are vehicle, make, type, price, style, size, features and car reviews. This can be then broken down thus and is known as the ‘purchase path’.

  • 44% of mobile first auto consumers plan to purchase in less than 3 month (v. desktop)
  • 50% of mobile first users shop during the day
  • 24% of mobile first users have requested a quote online
  • 76% of mobile first users know the exact vehicle they want, before going to the dealer

There is further data available from the research conducted by Facebook but what is clear is that auto manufacturers and dealers need to create a ‘mobile first’ strategy using social media to reach and engage with these future buyers.

To learn more about developing successful social media strategies please contact us.

Reggie James
Having built and sold various technology businesses over the years, Reggie heads the consultancy and commercial side of the business. Approachable and pragmatic, Reggie previously ran the first dot-com to list on the Singapore Stock Exchange as well as developing business strategies for brands whilst at AltaVista and Yahoo! before launching Digital Clarity. As a passive investor, he is also involved in the US public OTC markets.