The "results may vary" disclaimer applies when it comes to mobile strategies for auto shoppers. A new study by mobile-local ad network xAd and call measurement company Telmetrics, based on Nielsen data, shows a lot of variation in how shoppers use mobile devices. But the study makes a few generalizations: 68% of auto shoppers using mobile devices to shop are Caucasian; 64% are male; and 35% have a household income from $50,000 to $100,000.
And there are sub-categories: the slightly higher-income cohort that does its searching around general auto information and manufacturer sites; non-Caucasian deal hunters with average incomes of $35,000 to $50,000, who spend the majority of time at general auto information sites and manufacturer sites; circumstantial and emergency users, typically Caucasian females who depend on quick access to Auto info via search and familiar brand properties; and gear heads who are typically African American males, ages 25-54 with an annual income of $100,000 to $150,000.
But there are big variations in how consumers use mobile in their hunt for wheels. The study says about half of all mobile auto searchers make a purchase and slightly fewer want to do the buy that day. The study says proximity, right fit and price are the most important factors. And while smartphone users tend to want to buy a vehicle within the hour, tablet searchers are less impulsive.
The firms says that of the 15% of mobile consumers conducting mobile Auto searches, fewer than one percent are using apps. Rather, mobile versions of research sites like KBB.com, AutoTrader.com and edmunds.com are the most popular.
The takeaway: don't make apps for bottom-funnel consumers. “Automotive mobile marketers should recognize auto searchers’ preference for mobile websites over apps,” said Bill Dinan, president of Telmetrics. “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.”
Forty-four percent of auto searchers looked up a business location or directions, and 43% looked up pricing info or compared prices; 36% looked for a business phone number and/or called the business. Thirty-five percent of mobile auto searches involved people who know exactly what car they want. Tablet users are much more familiar with the brand they want before conducting a search.