The mobile platform has become indispensable for people in the market for a new car. According to local mobile ad network Verve and its survey of 235 people traveling across 1700 publisher sites, 71% say they are interested in using mobile (smartphone or tablet) as tools in shopping for a car.
And mobile advertising already has some high visibility. Almost half (47.4%) from this admittedly small sample say they recall seeing an auto industry ad on their device in the last 30 days.
But what do consumers want from this category on their devices? For marketers who still think that dealer locators are the chief order of the day, think again. This survey finds that 40% search for model information, followed closely by a need for model photos (38%). In fact, only a quarter of mobilistas are looking for a dealer location (25%) and even fewer for hours (15%). And yet, despite the robust nature of many mobile sites and apps in the auto category, only 9% are looking for a car builder feature.
The auto category is already among the strongest for Verve, which serves mobile ads to sites from AP, Hearst, Advance and McClatchy. The company says that the local dealership tier has been one of the top five segments in terms of volume and overall spend. In 2012 they are seeing strong demand on the top tier of national auto advertisers as well as the regional and local levels. Regional and local sales events as well as local dealerships have doubled their level of mobile advertising with Verve in the last year, reports CMO Greg Hallinan.
"Our automotive clients are very forward-thinking in their use of mobile -- particularly as it relates to other areas of their media mix," Hallinan tells Mobile Marketing Daily. "This study was conducted to help them better understand how mobile is currently being used in the vehicle purchase process, and more specifically to offer some insights into how certain tactics should be reinforced to provide even more value to the 'auto intending' consumer."
For instance, car shoppers are ready to be incentivized. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they would be willing to visit a dealership or take a test drive in exchange for some kind of appropriate incentive received on their smartphone or tablet.
And consumers are looking for their next car also to be more fully mobilized in terms of media. More than half (52%) of respondents said they felt it was important that their next vehicle be more mobile-friendly.