Mobile Auto Shoppers Split Between Conversion And Research

According to xAd, mobile-local advertising, and Telmetrics, call measurement, their Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study shows a 51% conversion rate in the Automotive category of buyers searching for auto parts and services, and shoppers conducting new and used car research.

Monica Ho, vice president of marketing of xAd Inc., says “...the new/used auto shopper is doing a lot of research while the auto parts/service buyer has an immediate purchase need for maintenance or malfunction... these insights... can improve ad relevancy and performance... ”

While mobile auto users generally skew 68% Caucasian, 64% males, with 35% showing a household income of $50-100K, mobile auto user behavior revealed four further subcategories of auto users:

  • Auto Researchers: These users fit the typical auto user profile with slightly higher incomes ($75-100k). The majority of their mobile session is spent on search and general auto information and manufacturer sites
  • Deal Hunters: These non-Caucasian users with average incomes of $35-50k, also spend the majority of their time on general auto information sites and manufacturer sites
  • Circumstantial/Emergency Users: These typically Caucasian females depend on quick access to auto info via search and familiar brand properties
  • Gear Heads: Also known as hobbyists, these users are typically African American males, ages 25-54 with an annual income of $100-150K.



Given the different types of mobile Auto searchers, there is a correlating effect on purchase intent with a fairly equal split among purchase and research activity.

  • 51% of mobile Auto searchers report ultimately making a purchase, with 49% looking to make a purchase within the day. Proximity, right fit and price are the most important factors in the ultimate purchase decision.
  • Smartphone searchers demonstrate a more immediate need as 36% of smartphone users, compared with 25% of tablet searchers, are looking to make a decision immediately or within the hour.

Of the 15% of mobile consumers conducting mobile Auto searches, less than 1% are using apps. Information-based mobile websites, like, and others, are the most popular among mobile Auto searchers, reaching 8% of the mobile audience; higher than the combined reach of users going to auto manufacturer (4%) or auto parts sites (3%).

Bill Dinan, president of Telmetrics, concludes that “... automotive mobile marketers should recognize Auto searchers’ preference for mobile websites over apps to... maximize and monetize mobile ad performance... also... the role of location... is essential to harnessing the 65% undecided mobile Auto audience... “

Additional highlights from the study include:

  • Smartphones are more consistently used for locating and contacting Auto-related businesses, while tablets reign for research and finding pricing information.
  • 44% of Auto searchers looked up a business location or directions, 43% looked up pricing info or compared prices and 36% looked for a business phone number and/or called the business
  • Mobile Auto searchers are most likely to click on an Auto ad with a promotional offer or a targeted ad focused on what they are searching for
  • Mobile Auto searches gravitate toward familiar brands but only 35% knew exactly what they were looking for
  • Tablet users are much more familiar with the brand they want

For more information about the study, please visit here.


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