As the frenzy of customer interest generated by Cash For Clunkers saves the auto industry from the year-to-date sales plummet, automotive marketers at all levels from OEM to single point dealership are being tasked with convincing consumers to buy from their dealership, or to buy their brand of vehicle... while proving that every dollar is used wisely. Tie that to reduced marketing budgets, and the challenge to tie offline consumer behavior with online digital marketing has become somewhat overwhelming.
While car sales declined for the majority of the brands in the first quarter of 2009, automotive related search queries rose on Google. In fact, vehicle shopping-related queries rose 14% during the three months, spurred on by people looking for specific makes, models, prices and new vehicles that contain integrated technologies, such as Ford's Sync supplied by Microsoft.
While greater adoption of digital tools, longer search queries and user-generated content have prompted great change, the biggest problem that automotive marketers face has been connecting offline purchases with online efforts. "We now understand the types of keywords people use at specific points prior to purchase," says Davang Shah, head of automotive marketing at Google. "Six months prior to the purchase, we see roughly 56% of the auto searches buyers conducted were on non-branded search terms such as fuel efficient or hybrid sedan."
Interesting is the shift from six months to one month prior to purchase. Fifty-two percent of auto searches were branded, meaning search terms shift to specific makes and models. It can guide the process by which marketers are connecting with consumers at different points within the purchase process.
Search plays a critical role throughout the purchase process. About 25% of new vehicle buyers who visit an OEM Web site six months prior to purchase were referred by search at least once. One month prior to purchase, 43% of new vehicle buyers who visited an OEM Web site within the month of purchase were referred by search at least once.
The data, related to paid, organic and display advertising as well as online marketing, includes the facts that 68% of buyers visit a manufacturer's site in the six months prior to purchase, and 77% visit a third-party site. In aggregate, 84% visit at least one or the other.
About 70% of new vehicle buyers who visited an OEM site in the six months prior to purchase used the "build-your-own" feature. Marketers can analyze their online marketing strategies to drive more consumers to complete these actions knowing that buyers perform this function online.
Shah says Google will cut the data by brand and provide the information to manufacturers, dealers and third-party companies. Polk, which captures data from U.S. vehicle registrations -- as well as Compete, which compiled the click-stream data from about 2.2 million people who opt into the panel -- comprise the findings. A third-party company compiled the information. The two years of data in aggregate gives carmakers data to make more informed advertising decisions. The findings consider consumer behavior six month prior to confirmed purchases for about 60,000 matches.
The Automotive Digital Marketing (ADM) Professional Community website is built on a perpetually growing"Viral Expansion Loop" Networking Platform and serves Car Dealers, Dealership General Managers and their management teams, including Internet Sales Managers, BDC Managers, Marketing Managers, Sales Managers, Service Managers, Service Advisers, Parts Managers, Fixed Operations Directors and their teams. Launched at the beginning of January 2008, ADM has emerged as a valuable and proven resource for the entire spectrum of automotive marketing and Internet sales related professionals. Interactive Media and eCommerce Professionals at car companies (OEM) and tier 1 and 2 advertising agencies who want to see, hear and read what the best Digital and Interactive Marketing professionals in the automotive industry have to say about relevant and timely topics visit ADM on a regular basis or subscribe to the many RSS feeds and content syndication services available within the ADM community.
Did you know there are now over 2,100 members on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? Have you reached out to connect with important ADM member contacts by asking them to be your Friend?
AUTOMOTIVE IMAGE AND PHOTO RESOURCES
Did you know that there are over 4,000 photos listed on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? And, do you know that many of these images are actually charts and graphs of the latest marketing trends and research? Did you know that many of these photos are actual ads used by dealers that worked exceptionally well? There have been over 4,000 photos uploaded and made available for use by all ADM members.
AUTOMOTIVE VIDEO FILE HOSTING
Did you know that there are more than 750 videos on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? Have you seen how many of those videos are actual examples of marketing campaigns and business processes used successfully by some of the leading and most successful dealers in America?
GET ACCESS TO AUTOMOTIVE ARTICLES AND PUBLISH YOURS
Did you know that there are over 500 blog posts on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? When was the last time you posted a blog entry and let important ADM industry professionals know what you are up to? Have you checked ADM for the latest articles published by writers who walk the talk? Members have created more than 500 blog posts within their ADM provided websites that feature online file storage and personalized blog hosting at no cost to ADM members.
SOMETIMES CONTROVERSIAL, BUT ALWAYS FASCINATING AUTOMOTIVE DISCUSSION FORUM
Did you know that there are over 500 forum topics on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? Have you checked the forum lately to see what your associates, clients and colleagues are saying?
Have you posted a forum discussion to see what other professionals have to say about the topic?
There have been over 500 discussions started and still active with ongoing comments and information being published daily within the ADM Forum.
SPECIALIZED AUTOMOTIVE PROFESSIONAL GROUPS
Did you know that there are more than 25 professional groups on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? Have you joined any groups so that you can send messages to all other group members?
EVENT CALENDAR FOR AUTOMOTIVE PROFESSIONALS
Did you know that there are Important Upcoming Automotive Digital Marketing Events listed on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? Have you posted what you or your organization considers to be important upcoming events on the ADM calendar so that other professionals will know about them, consider attending and register their intent? ADM members can create calendar events using the ADM site application that allows image and logos, links to registration pages, location maps that integrate with Google Maps, Outlook Calendar integration, invitation mailings using uploaded email lists, RSVP tracking and event management features and a whole lot more.
RADIO SPOTS AND AUTOMOTIVE PODCASTS
Did you know that there are more than 500 MP3 audio files on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? Have you checked out what other automotive professionals are listening to? Did you know that many of these MP3 files are automotive marketing and Internet sales best practice Podcasts, and examples of highly effective radio spots, along with powerful and engaging dealer website soundtracks?
ADM was created to serve as a resource for Automotive Internet Sales and Marketing Professionals working in the digital and interactive media space for dealers with automotive franchises, car companies and the associated suppliers and technology providers serving the auto industry. Both OEM and Dealer associates are among ADM's most prolific members.
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Please use the "Sign Up" link above to complete your registration form and become a member of the industry's leading Automotive Marketing and Internet Sales Professional Community. ADM members have access to resources, connections and private events that provide them with a competitive advantage.