70% Of Car Buyers: Influenced By Online Video

The average car shopper today makes just two dealership visits in the search for the perfect vehicle. That’s because today car shoppers turn to mobile to research models, find deals, and get real-time advice.

A new Google report titled ‘5 Auto Shopping Moments Every Brand Must Own’ highlights just how important online video (& YouTube specifically) is when it comes to a car buyers sales journey. One key takeaway stat: 69% of people who used YouTube while in the process of buying a car were greatly influenced by YouTube video more than TV, newspapers, or magazines.

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In the moments before they take a single step onto the polished floors of your showroom, car shoppers are making decisions and forming opinions by doing their own research online. It’s essential that you be there and be useful in these moments, if you want to be one of the two visits to dealerships they make when ready to buy. Here are the five digital moments that matter most:

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No matter the source, data shows these early research moments are increasingly influenced by video. In fact, of people who used YouTube while buying a car, 69% were influenced by it — more than TV, newspapers or magazines. We’ve seen a huge increase in searches for car reviews on YouTube — everything from in-depth expert reviews from YouTube creators to more traditional industry reviewers that compare two models head-to-head in the same video. Auto review videos on YouTube have been watched more than 3M hours in the first 9 months of 2015, of which more than 1.2M were on mobile, more than 2X as many as last year.

Three of the top types of video content auto shoppers search for: vehicle test drives, highlights of features and options, and walkthroughs of the interior or exterior of the vehicle. Time spent watching these kinds of auto videos is up nearly 2X in the past year alone.

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Seasonality also plays an important role. Every February, for instance, we see a spike in search interest for cars “for sale under [given amount],” possibly due to people anticipating a big tax return. Summer is another important seasonal moment. When the temperatures rise, so does interest in car shopping. Search interest for “lease deals” peaked this summer, up 20% compared to last year.

Master These Digital Moments Changing the Auto Industry

This is a time of increasing opportunity to connect with automotive shoppers. They’re researching more and adding more and more vehicles to their consideration lists. The first brand searched is the same brand purchased only 22% of the time. But, more often than not, your chance to win over a shopper isn’t just happening in person, it’s happening online — often on a smartphone, and very often with online video.

Here are three things to keep in mind to make sure it’s your brand and dealership they choose when they’re ready to buy:

Being There in Micro-Moments, Especially on Mobile

BE THERE: With the majority of the car shopping process moving online, it’s crucial that you be there when and where people are looking. Try going through each of the above steps yourself, as though you were in the market for a new car. Are you there at each step? Increasingly, that means being there when people are on the go. One in four car purchasers turn to mobile EVERY DAY to research vehicles.

BE USEFUL: Beyond being there, consider how you can best meet people’s needs at each step. If you work at a dealership, help make it easy for customers to do the things they do most, like value their trade-in, search for prices and inventory, or find your store. If you’re a manufacturer, help when people are looking for videos and images of your cars, exploring configurations and building their own, or comparing your brand to competitive vehicles. And don’t forget to make it all as easy on mobile as it is on desktop.

BE QUICK: Mobile phones have made us all impatient. We expect to find anything we need at the tips of our fingers. As a result, marketing cars is a bit like playing Jeopardy. It’s not just about who has the right answer. It’s also about who answers it the quickest. And the stakes for getting it wrong are high. If you aren’t there with the right answer, the moment shoppers are looking, chances are someone else will be.


You can access the full Google Report  here.