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Tim McLain

Tim McLain Senior Marketing Manager

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Your Mobile Marketing Strategy: Mobile shoppers buy within 24 hours

Research: Mobile shoppers buy within 24 hours, prefer websites to apps

Netsertive Mobile Marketing Strategy for Automotive Dealers


It’s time to get serious about mobile marketing. A growing tide of research reveals what digital dealers may already know:

  1. Tech-savvy shoppers using smartphones are low-funnel sales opportunities who are searching “on the go” and are ready to buy (and soon).
  2. Tablet users spend more time researching dealer reviews and special offers from home.

Plus, fresh projections show that mobile Internet use will surpass traditional desktop use in 20142 while more than 25% of Internet users in the U.S. say they are “mobile-only” and rarely go online via laptop or desktop computers3.

The most relevant findings from the xAd-Telmetrics Mobile Path to Purchase Study1  include:

  • Nearly 50% of smartphone users purchase a car or truck within 24 hours of conducting Web searches with purchase intent. (Within this group, more than a third (36%) convert “within an hour.")
  • Nearly one-third of all Web queries using automotive keywords with purchase intent now come from tablets and smartphones.
  • 66% of smartphone users search on the go, with 42% searching in their car. 49% search for auto dealers within local driving distance.
  • Mobile auto buyers use a Web browser to conduct searches over dedicated apps 92% of the time.

Let’s add one more fresh data point to the mix: Google’s Compete-Polk4 study shows that local dealer websites are now the top source of research data for local buyers, surpassing OEM websites for the first time.

It’s not much of a stretch to say that digital dealers with the most robust, sustained sales growth are focusing their online marketing budget on a trio of Internet tactics:

1. Localized search engine marketing campaigns. Running ads on Google, bing and Yahoo! is still the most effective way of converting online searches with purchase intent into phone calls, website clicks and foot traffic to rooftops.

Work with a Google Premier partner who utilizes the latest technology to ensure that you’re deeply penetrating your local market and getting the largest share of voice possible for your budget. (Ask your provider for this data today: "What's my impression share?" If they can't tell you, it's time to re-think your marketing vendor.)

2. Localized display (banner and retargeting “follow along”) ads boost dealer brand awareness on contextually relevant websites. Adding a layer of display with tracked phone numbers and display ad-only offers will help you accurately gauge your return on investment.

3. With Google Enhanced Campaigns upon us, it’s critical to look at your digital marketing mix and move more money into mobile-specific campaigns. Doing so will ensure that you’re showing up in top positions across all Internet-capable devices with properly worded and formatted ads to covert the maximum number of purchase-ready buyers into new sales opportunities.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to be purposeful when designing mobile-optimized website content and landing pages. Mobile buyer behavior and expectations vary greatly from desktop users. Think one goal per page, focus on the single result or conversion you wish to achieve per ad and landing page.

Which begs a few important questions:

Is your website mobile-ready?

  • The new best practice when gearing up for a mobile marketing campaign is to avoid using an m. domain. A "one URL" approach has been officially supported by bing and Google in recent months, while managing two websites presents its own challenges and costs.
  • Your webmaster can employ user agent detection which will automatically display the correct rendering of each webpage based on the device type.
  • Data point: None of the top-performing dealer websites in the xAd-Telmetrics study were using an m. subdomain, but instead directed buyers to a single URL.

Have you added at least one mobile-optimized campaign to your search marketing program?

  • Until recently, running the same text ads across desktops and mobile devices was par for the course. No more.
  • Create unique mobile campaigns with their own strategy (think special offers and calls to action), geography, mobile-optimized keyword categories and budget.
  • The good news? The cost per click (CPC) for a well-run mobile campaign is usually lower than a comparable campaign for desktop results.

Have you optimized your display ads?

  • You’ll need to resize them so they render correctly in smaller sizes on tablets and phones.
  • Remember, display ads are more about brand awareness than clicks. Think “impressions” of your dealership name along with your top makes and models across relevant destinations.

"Automotive mobile marketers should recognize auto searchers' preference for mobile websites over apps," said Bill Dinan, president of Telmetrics, in a press release. "Also, understanding the role of location - specifically the importance of local driving distance - is essential to harnessing the 65% undecided mobile Auto audience and their purchasing power."


1 xAd-Telmetrics “Mobile Path to Purchase Study” 2012

2 Mary Meeker, Morgan Stanley 2012

3 Alistair Hill, On Device Research 2012

4 Compete, Polk and Google "2012 Automotive Buy Flow Study" 2012

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