Mobile has changed the in-market car buying journey

car purchase journey in india

It used to be that when people needed to buy a car they would go to the dealer, walk down the rows of brightly coloured models and listen to a salesperson talk about the latest and greatest makes and features. Today’s auto intender can bypass the car lot altogether and gather information from sites, apps, friends, family members and even experts, all at the touch of a button or scroll of the thumb.

Today, in-market audience is visiting lesser number of dealer locations  as they are spending a lot of time discovering through their Mobile for their dream vehicle. Most of the time in-market customer has already made the decision before setting their foot inside the dealer location as they have the answers to most of their queries.

From a media standpoint, Mobile has captured maximum share of voice & share of mind across owned, earned & paid media, i.e. Brand’s Website, Organic & Paid Search, Social Media & Auto Reviews Portals, that influence & shapes audience decision making process for automobile purchase.

Current share of mobile queries across both organic & paid search is consistently touching 60% (the trend is common for all automakers as mentioned by Google in their auto insight report last year) which has further impacted all other connected channels like auto content portals & social media.

When it comes to social media, majority of the audience is engaging with the brand through their mobile devices. According to Facebook, almost 90% of the active audience in India in the age group of 25-45 are Mobile First. This trend is reflected in the audience data for auto portals as well, where most of them are seeing up to 50% and more entry referral traffic coming through Mobile (App & Wap) only.

Mobile truly cuts across the entire audience consideration funnel i.e (Awareness or Discovery > Consideration > Evaluation > Purchase), and further intercepts audience car buying journey at regular intervals with high degree of share of mind.

Digital Trends for Automotive in 2015

digital automobile purchase trends

According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, an overwhelming 90 percent of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions, while 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews.

 

has-reading-online-reviews-impacted-purchase-decision

 

Without doubt, we can now say that the conventional purchase lifecycle has changed (and continuously changing) with the ever increasing dominance (& relevance) of social media in our daily lives.

For those who are new to digital marketing, here’s a simple video that compares the purchase lifecycle back in 1990s vs 2014.

Unlike mediums like television or radio, internet audience can stumble upon your brand / product from anywhere. In today’s complex digital environment, there are more than 24 possible touch points that any auto buyer can go through in order to make a purchase decision. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the fortune of a brand gets decided somewhere between those never ending twitter feeds & Facebook timelines.

24 research touch points for auto purchase
24 research touch points for auto purchase

Take an example of car buying which is one of the most dynamic purchase life cycle concept in the modern day marketing.

Last year, Google Insights released a report according to which In-market auto shoppers are doing their digital homework. Auto video research is on the rise and mobile usage has increased 35% year over year. ( Read how digital drives auto shoppers in stores)

In this Google infographic, you can learn some of the digital automotive trends showing how consumers use the web to search for and buy cars.

Google_Auto_Trends_Infographic_2014

 

Key Digital Automotive Trends from the above infographics:

  • With more than 48% of car dealer search queries are now coming from mobiles, smartphone is increasingly becoming an important platform using which auto shoppers are doing their research.
  • Digital Search & Product Reviews are becoming an integral part in the auto purchase lifecycle.
  • Auto shoppers checking for product videos & video reviews is on the rise year on year.
  • Online Video is becoming most critical content piece in the entire buying decision.