Gone are the days when a car dealership’s shiny new vehicles would catch a passerby’s eye, prompting them to walk on in, talk to a salesperson, test drive a car, and make a deal. In this digital era, everything – including car shopping – begins online. Before most buyers take a step into your dealership, they’ve scoured the web for information about the car they want, your business, deals they might be able to get, and more. While many consumers conduct this research by querying search engines and poring over blog posts, those aren’t the only ways they learn about your dealership online. Prospective customers also find out more about your dealership and its vehicles on social media.
According to a 2018 article in the International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and technology, “internet and online resources are highly influential on the decision of purchasing a car…the study implies the importance of maximizing the online and internet marketing strategies in the field of automotive industry.” In other words, content about your cars on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and other platforms could significantly impact your buyers’ shopping experiences – and your resulting marketing strategies. With this in mind, what your potential customers like, follow, and comment on could help make or break your business. In the following blog, the Carzato team describes exactly how social media is shifting the car shopping experience and provides our tips for leveraging this trend to your advantage.
The Striking Social Media Statistics
When it comes to the effect of sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube on car shopping, the numbers tell a clear story:
● “92 percent of car buyers research online before they buy,” according to Think with Google. Technology has fundamentally changed the nature of twenty-first-century business, including car shopping.
● “95 percent of vehicle buyers use digital as a source of information. In fact, twice as many start their research online versus at a dealer,” as per a 2017 Automotive Shopper Study from Google. As we mentioned above, most of your consumers’ car purchasing journeys will begin online, and a good portion of their internet investigation may take place on social media platforms.
● Research conducted by Facebook for Business revealed that “63 percent of car buyers discovered their new vehicles… 30 percent [of respondents] discover new vehicles and brands on their smartphones and tablets…[and] 34 percent of women [discover] new automobiles through the Facebook family of apps.” If you want your prospective customers to consider looking at a car they might not have previously considered, you’d do well to feature it on social media.
● “44 percent of auto consumers say they learn about new car launches on social media or messaging services” and, “77 percent say posts on social media would make them consider buying or leasing a new auto model,” as per Facebook for Business. Clearly, platforms like Facebook, or even Instagram or Twitter, can help you achieve a successful launch at your dealership and get customers interested in making a purchase.
● Another Facebook for Business report found that “30 percent of auto consumers say they learn about new model launches from advertising [on] social media or messaging services.” Furthermore, “67 percent of auto consumers say they use Facebook for auto-related activities (among weekly platform users)” and, “69 percent of auto consumers say they use Instagram for auto-related activities (among weekly platform users).” These statistics indicate that not only are social media users coming across car sale information online, but they’re also actively using these platforms for related reasons.
● According to a study described in The Business Journals, “two out of three customers surveyed said they purchased a car they found on social media. Additionally, 87 percent said they research potential car purchases on social media prior to making a decision.” These figures suggest that the majority of social media users leverage these platforms as important sources when researching possible car and dealership options.
● “31 percent of social media users consider Facebook to be the primary platform that influences them to make purchase decisions” and “1 in 4 new vehicle buyers use Twitter as an input to their vehicle purchase decision,” as per an article in Social Media Week. If you use them properly, Facebook and Twitter can help you draw in more customers and make even more sales. In fact, your buyers may have already made up their minds on social media before they ever set foot in your dealership.
● Automotive News recently reported that “28 percent of Snapchat users reported being in the market for a vehicle in the next 12 months. According to the company, the app reaches 20.2 million new- and used-car shoppers every month in the U.S.” While it may be less conventionally thought of as a source of social media marketing than platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or Twitter, Snapchat’s demographics make it a worthwhile platform for dealerships to engage with.
This data tells a clear and compelling story of the online car shopping experience: it often includes, or even hinges on, the information users see on social media platforms. If your dealership isn’t there, you could be missing out on massive sales.
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