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5 Key Findings in Google’s Digital Drives Auto Shopping Study

In November 2013, Google Think Insights released Digital Drives Auto Shopping, a new research study for the auto industry made to answer the following question: “How does digital drive auto research and purchasing decisions?” (See the original PDF of the study here.)

As a side note, if you’ve never explored Google Think Insights, then you’ve been missing out. (The site has an entire section of studies and articles dedicated to the auto industry.)

Why should you care? Digital Drives Auto Shopping brings forward five key findings that can help you understand what your customers will be doing in 2014:

  1. Today’s auto shoppers are open to influence.
    72% of search sessions involve cross shopping. For you, that is an opportunity to steal leads straight from the competition’s mouth.
  2. In-market shoppers are researching more than ever before.
    Today’s car shoppers access 24 research touch points on average including things like:

    • Dealer websites
    • OEM websites
    • Comparing models
    • Watching a video
    • Search Engines
    • Social Media Sharing
    • Consumer Review Websites

  3. Connected devices are driving greater research activity.
    Over 35% of purchasers are looking for information on their mobile devices. No surprise here. Mobile usage is increasing, so you need to be sure you’re giving your consumer a great mobile experience when they’re searching on the go. Check out Our Mobile Website Service
  4. Video influences auto brand discovery and consideration.
    Like mobile, video is on the rise. Over 34% of customers were prompted to start researching by a video ad. How are you taking advantage of video and using it to engage your consumers? Here at Strathcom, we take video seriously. Check out how we made the Dodge Caravan even cooler for one dealer.
  5. Dealer interaction and post-purchase experiences matter.
    62% of vehicle owners said customer service could influence future purchases.

Cool Stats You Can Use

Time is of the essence:
• 82% of purchasers are in-market for three months or less.

Online presence is essential:
When asked what online resources and devices they used to look for information on cars and trucks, responses indicated customers used the following:



  • Consumers have a ton of information at their disposal online. You need to be giving them what they want right away, or they will be forming relationships with the competition.
  • Of all the online influences, a car dealership’s individual website has the biggest impact – more than manufacturer’s websites or even search engines.
  • This is all happening on your lot. The next time you see a potential buyer on your lot and he or she is on their phone, they’re probably not texting. They could be looking at reviews or checking the price elsewhere.

Consumers are researching more. They’re doing it quicker, in more places and from a larger variety of devices. As a dealer, you need to provide consumers with the information they’re looking for: that includes great pictures, descriptions and up-to-date pricing and offers.

Can they access all this information from their phone or tablet? Are you filming engaging videos? Do you offer free Wi-Fi? Do you have a plan for a great post-purchase experience?
If you’re not asking yourself these questions, start right now—or start thinking about retirement.

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