Auto brands are often among the first to push into new forms of media and advertising. That appears to be the case where mobile is concerned, too. Traffic to the mobile sites of automotive companies is growing much faster than to their PC-based Web sites, according to new study by comScore commissioned by mobile ad network Jumptap.
While traffic to traditional auto sites is increasing 30% annually, the number of visitors on the mobile side is up 463%, or 15 times the growth rate of online. Given the smaller base of mobile Web users, it's not too surprising that mobile traffic would be growing faster at this point.
People visiting mobile auto sites were also more likely to own a smartphone or a tablet than the overall mobile population. Seven in 10 (69%) who go to auto sites via mobile have smartphones, compared to 33% of U.S. mobile users overall who use smartphones. Automakers are trying to capitalize on the growing consumer adoption of high-end devices.
"At Ford, we moved aggressively to mobile marketing, prior to the shift in consumer behavior of using smartphones and tablets to do auto research. This recently published study from Jumptap and comScore further validates that this is where the market is headed, and our assumptions were correct," stated Brian McClary, social & emerging media specialist for Ford Motor Company.
A mobile advertising study released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau today based on a survey of 300 top U.S. marketing executives across different industry categories also shed light on the auto vertical. Auto was among the segments including restaurants and retail where the majority of companies are either still at an experimental stage or have adopted a fully integrated mobile strategy.
Once committed to mobile advertising, companies in these categories quickly gained confidence and migrated to more advanced mobile operations. At the same time, the IAB survey (conducted by Ovum Consulting) suggested that smartphones had not pushed aside features in auto marketing via mobile.
In the financial services and auto categories, regular phones were ranked as a higher priority than smartphones -- likely because the former still represents wider reach on handheld devices.
According to the Jumptap study, Edmunds.com is the most accessed auto site on mobile, with 17.1% of mobile consumers who access auto content visiting the site. Stephen Gandee, vice president of mobile and emerging technology for the car shopping site, said mobile has disrupted the auto-buying process by putting a wealth of information at users' fingertips right at the dealership. The mobile auto shopper skews male, and two-thirds are men compared to 48% of the mobile audience as a whole.