Auto industry queries continue to rise, even during the pandemic. While search volume for “near me” queries rose 22% between March 13, 2020 and April 11, 2020, compared with the period from Feb. 12 to March 12, searches for new sales dealerships "near me" rose 87.7 times, according to Microsoft Advertising.
Queries on Bing for buy new truck dealer sites "near me" rose 33.1 times, lease new dealership near me rose 30.2 times, and looking for a specific model near me rose 26.6 times in the past 30 days.
When it comes to auto brands, shoppers are showing an increased interest in affordable models, rising 85% year to date (YTD) despite the recent pull back in car purchases. Queries for affordable new mid-size SUVs in the past 30 days rose 25.6 times, affordable luxury cars 3.3 times, and affordable luxury crossover SUVs 2.1 times.
Queries relates to leasing rose 51% in the last 30 days, compared with the prior suggesting consumer interest in more affordable payments.
The top queries on Bing include a brand name, but focus on finding a dealership to lease a new model, other terms include dealer deals, and SUV lease deals.
While searches for buying cars online remain nascent, they indicate an evolving trend as shoppers adjust to the new environment. Since the pandemic has car most car buyers at home, queries for order car online rose 59.2 times during the past few months, dates ranging from January 1, 2020 through April 11, 2020. Consumers are also looking to buy specific models online, with searches focusing on buying online rising 13.5 times, dates ranging from January 1, 2020 through April 11, 2020.
Auto insurance clicks and auto vehicle clicks closely follow the others, with the relationship between them 99.9% statistically significant. Auto insurance searches are up 43.6% year to date, driven by consumer comparison shopping to reduce premiums
As of April, about 40 U.S. states permit vehicle sales with restrictions. For shoppers, dealership operating hours and availability remain uncertain and changing.
Searches on Bing for “cheap” vehicles also continue to rise. In fact, they are up 71.4% YTD with a particular emphasis on “used cheap” vehicles.
And as consumers search for specific cars and leasing options increase, queries for recession are up 296% YTD, as consumers want to understand what constitutes a recession and whether we are in one now.
Searches for debt also are up 56% YTD, as financial concerns become top of mind for consumers.
Microsoft also makes recommendations. Tier 2 and 3 dealership advertisers should include and prioritize “near me” in keywords for incentives and dealership queries and reflect proximity in ad copy. Adjust ad copy to highlight affordability and financial considerations for specific brands, and highlight any incentive offers for leasing.