Some 76% of participants of a recent survey remember seeing an online car ad in the past year, with 81% of male respondents more likely to remember the ad than 70% of female respondents.
But rather than clicking through, the consumer will eventually go to the dealer’s or manufacturer’s website, said Joel Sesco, national director of automotive at Adtaxi, a digital agency.
Just seeing the ad helps to prompt a purchase in the future, he said.
Adtaxi released the results of its first Auto Shopping in America survey, which analyzes consumer auto shopping habits, behaviors and preferences nationwide.
The study reveals that today’s shoppers favor website visits compared with dealer visits.
About 96% of the 375 U.S. participants who had been in the market to purchase or lease a new or used car during the past 12 months found dealer websites useful, with vehicle description pages picked by 42% as the most helpful.
Consumers cited convenience at 53% as the biggest advantage of shopping online, followed by avoiding salespeople at 25%. Some 22% cited the ability to shop based on price.
Those looking for a car typically start at a search engine or an aggregator site like Autotrader.com. Many times consumers will start at an aggregator site to see different models before searching on Google or Bing to find a local car dealership or special offer to type in keyword phrases such as “Ford 150 discounts.”
About 42% of shoppers listing the Vehicle Description Page as the most helpful part of a dealership’s website, more than double the next two closest website features of a Specials page at 20%, and an hours and directions page at 19.6%.
Dealerships tend to focus on price in advertisements, but most people don’t shop online because they are looking for a specific price, but are first looking for information about car features.
Men were twice as likely as women to say that a dealership shouldn't call them. They just want to do their research and show up at the dealership when ready.
Overall, 45% of respondents do not want any contact with a dealership before visiting in person.
For consumers, the 10 top trending search terms for auto brands in 2017, per Google, were Ford, Lexus, Kia, Toyota, Honda, Buick, Acura, Tesla, Hyundai, and Dodge.
“There are 24 average touch points from the time a consumer gets the idea that it’s time for a new car and when they actually drive off the dealership lot,” Sesco said. “About 86% of those opportunities for a dealership to influence the consumer occur on the lot, so it becomes parity.”
Adtaxi used Survey Monkey to conduct the poll. The demographics of those polled represented a broad range of household income, geographic location, age, and gender.