According to the Fall 2012 Automotive Social Media and Reputation Trend Study by Digital Air Strike, car buyers are increasingly using social media in the vehicle purchasing process. And, they are relying on review sites to determine which dealer to visit when shopping for a vehicle. Review sites, dealership websites, and Facebook were named as the top three most influential digital mediums used to help buyers make their dealership selection.
Car buyers are willing to drive longer distances to get to dealers with positive online reviews:
- 24% of car buyers said they would drive 30 miles to a dealer with positive reviews
- 15% said they would drive as far as 40 miles
- 31% said they would drive 50 miles or more
Alexi Venneri, co-founder, CMO and COO-Social Media of Digital Air Strike, observes that "… the study found evidence that car dealers actively engaging in social media and reputation management have the potential to increase both their market share and their market reach… “
The study results showed that 67% of consumers had used a review site when selecting a dealer. Of that group, 70% said that if dealers had equal star ratings, they would be more likely to buy from the dealership with the most recent reviews. The majority of car buyers (71%) used Google search to locate a dealer, and 49% of that group said they clicked on a review site found in the search results.
The top five review sites used in dealership selection, as named by car buyers, are:
- Cars.com (55%)
- Edmunds (50%)
- Google+ Local (40%)
- Yelp (14%)
- Yahoo! Local (11%)
The vast majority of car buyers are using photo/video sharing social networks and named the top five used as YouTube (70%), Pinterest (21%), Flickr (18%), Instagram (17%) and Photobucket (14%).
Dealership Facebook fan counts are increasing; the average count rose to 719 likes, up from 560 likes in April 2012:
- 77% of dealers' Facebook fans live within a 50-mile radius, making Facebook a valuable targeted marketing tool for dealers to increase awareness and reach to potential car buyers.
- 32% of car buyers said they recalled seeing dealership ads on Facebook
- 16% said they clicked on the Facebook ads
When visiting dealer Facebook sites, car buyers have clear ideas about what they want to see. The top five items cited as valuable on Facebook pages included, in priority order:
- Dealership service promotions such as coupons or discounts
- Pictures of cars
- Sales promotions
- Reviews from consumers about the dealership,
- Articles about cars and/or car care tips
To learn more about Automotive, check out the Auto Buyers Forecast — New Vehicles report available on the Research Store at ad-ology.com.[Source: "Fall 2012 Automotive Social Media and Reputation Trend Study." Digital Air Strike. 5 Nov. 2012. Web. 1 Dec. 2012.]