Digital Marketing Stats Every Auto Dealer Should Know

One Billion: Websites on the internet. 

One Hundred Billion: Google searches per month. 

One: Dealership site you care about. And we don’t blame you! But beating out all your competitors to the top of those billions of searches and websites is no cakewalk. As you decide how to best position your dealership for continued success, consider these digital marketing stats and how they affect you (if you aren’t sure, it’s time to speak with us). 

80% of Shopping Touchpoints are Digital

Customer Journey Digital Touchpoints

About 24 touchpoints stand between the user’s initial car-shopping phase and a visit to your dealership lot, and 19 of them are digital. The major online touchpoints include the following: 

  • Google or search engine query
  • OEM website
  • Financing calculator
  • Google reviews of a local dealership
  • Dealership website
  • Ads

$13 Billion Ad Spend

Industry experts estimate that the average digital ad spend for automotive will close in on $13 billion by 2023, representing a nearly 200% increase since 2015. By optimizing and enhancing your paid search strategy now, you can potentially save thousands or millions on poorly positioned ads.

2 Dealership Visits

A decade ago, shoppers would visit an average of five auto dealerships before deciding on the right make and model. Today, it takes just two to tango. The reason? You guessed it—the internet, as 62% of purchasers would rather spend time online researching vehicles than speak with a salesperson (29%).

4 Phases of Car Buying 

4 Phases of Car Buying

The shopper’s purchasing path is no longer a linear progression from “need a car” to “let’s head to the dealership.” In fact, 75% of shoppers go through four online phases before driving home in a new car:

Phase 1: Awareness – Drivers become aware of the fact that they might need to be driving another vehicle. Whether it’s due to an uptick in car problems, distaste for certain features, poor performance, or an interior that smells like toes, this is always the starting point. As a dealer, you can target these potential customers by focusing on quality keywords, knowing that the average car on the road is over 11 years old and 58% of drivers expect to run their car into the ground before buying another. 

Phase 2: Interest – Part of the audience’s research phase is spent gauging interest—60% of shoppers have no clue of what type of vehicle they want—and this is where you can thrive as a deliverer of the digital goods. Step into their shoes and answer their questions when crafting content or planning auto dealership paid ad campaigns: 

  • What kind of vehicle would I like? 
  • Should I buy new or used? Lease or purchase? 
  • Can I finance? 
  • What features are important to me? 
  • What is my budget? 

Phase 3: Consideration – Phase three of research begins once the shopper has narrowed down the list of potential winners. They’ll begin researching safety ratings, reading critic reviews, comparing different makes and models, and—most importantly—deciding where to buy. Your dealership reviews will play a large part in how you’re perceived by a potential customer, even if you’re offering better prices than competitors. 

Phase 4: Purchase – When the shopper begins searching for deals on certain models—45% of users who look for online deals typically purchase—they’re probably ready for primetime. They’ll also start requesting quotes online and reaching out to schedule test drives. (Congrats—you’ve done it!) 

Over 75% of Shoppers are Influenced by YouTube 

Online Video Stats

Model reviews, test drives, feature outlines, and walkthrough videos influence more than seven out of ten car shoppers—far more than TV commercials, radio spots, and print ads combined. The growth of high-speed internet access has accounted for a 230% increase in video view times, year-to-year, with up to 50% of those minutes cast on mobile devices. When possible, publish your own model videos on YouTube. 

18% of Shoppers Prefer to Only Purchase Online  

As an aftereffect of the pandemic, more car shoppers have shifted their buying preference to reflect that of the typical retail experience. That is, they are more likely to buy a vehicle immediately if they are provided with an online-only purchase option. The modern path to purchase has now started to come full circle, with search and purchase both beginning and ending online. 

34% Start with a Google Search 

Search is still the #1 source for car shoppers to begin their research into a new car, beating out social media posts, regional dealer sites, and ads. SEO for auto dealers remains a lucrative and very necessary marketing strategy.  

71% of Touchpoints Occur on Mobile 

In 2014, mobile searches accounted for more traffic and clicks than desktop not just in the automotive industry, but across the web. (By 2020, mobile search queries outranked desktop searches by a 2.5-to-1 margin.)  

78% Increase in Click-to-Calls 

Running parallel to the above stat, a 78% surge in mobile click-to-calls has also occurred since 2014. 

200% Growth of Local Dealer Searches 

The rise of mobile can also be seen in the growth of local “near me” searches for car dealerships. A staggering number of shoppers have taken to voice search over the last five years, and that’s led to an upsurge of local SEO, too. An incredible 7 out of 10 consumers who perform voice and local searches tend to visit businesses and dealerships within 5 miles of their location. 

3 Seconds of Page Load Time 

Slow Sites Increase Bounce Rate

A slow-loading site (up to 3 seconds) will see bounce rates increase by up to 32%, according to Google. Sites that take more than three seconds to load results in an average abandonment rate of over 40%, with 80% of those users never returning. If that’s a wake-up call to you, it’s time to optimize your dealer website to perform better. 

1 in 10 Blogs Compound Traffic 

Much like your savings account’s compounding interest, blog posts can also amass recurrent visitor traffic exponentially. Compounding blog posts can account for an average traffic increase of 38% (overall traffic). Regular blogging activity produces new content, provides information, and is an exceptional return on investment should one piece strike the motherlode. 

73% of Users Hate Pop-Up Ads 

No one likes pop-ups—they’re obnoxious, plain and simple—but it may be a surprise to know that an average of four in five users would leave a website due to an obtrusive ad or loud autoplay videos. Ditch ‘em! 

4 out of 5 Millennials Search Online for Repairs 

Online Car Repair Search

For every one DIY Millennial, there are four in the shadows who need a hand with their routine maintenance. Target younger drivers of older vehicles with your fixed ops responses and PPC campaigns, and build up service and repair content for better local and organic placement. 

If you’re struggling to make the grade, let the digital marketing experts at Maritz Automotive guide you to the top. We offer a wide variety of automotive marketing products and services, including SEO packages, PPC management, and virtual coaching solutions to help your sales team start converting like the pros they are. For more information about our solutions, all of which are backed by data and behavioral science, please feel free to connect with us.