Digital Marketing Strategies for Automotive Industry

Digital marketing in the automotive industry has progressed over the last few years but it’s still behind other large sectors. In this post, We’ll discuss some best practice digital marketing tips that can be used by companies in this sector.

  • The automotive industry is one of the biggest industries in the world, and its economic contribution is enormous.
  • In the UK alone, the SMMT reported that in 2016 the automotive industry turned over a staggering £71.6bn.
  • There are two traditional groups of organizations in this sector, manufacturers and retailers, and they both contribute to this turnover.
  • Many organizations in the sector are innovators in different areas and are trend setters too. However, when it comes to digital marketing, they are quite a way behind.

How Important Is Digital Marketing in the Automotive Industry?

  • User behavior when researching and purchasing products has moved at great pace over recent years, and the use of digital media in this journey is continually increasing.
  • Although most vehicle purchases are still carried out in dealerships, the research carried out online beforehand is rising.
  • Because there is a huge amount of content online covering everything from product specifications and customer reviews to product comparisons and pricing.
  • Many purchase decisions have been made before the customer visits the dealership. These decisions are significantly influenced by the marketing content consumers are presented with during the buying process.

Benefits of Digital Marketing for Automobile Industry

  • Digital Marketing helps to enhance online reputation management. A recent study suggests 84% of customers buy automobiles on recommendation and online reviews, rather than by personal choice.
  • Constant customer engagement on social media helps to retain brand loyalty.
  • Digital marketing can help you dominate the search engine results. Interested buyers search for the potential automobile brands online by using generic keywords.
  • Digital marketing helps to measure the results and outcome of your ad campaign.
  • Digital marketing helps to identify potential automobile influencers on social media.
  • Social media marketing can boost automobile sales. A recent study indicates that 84% of the automobile consumers are active on Facebook, while 66% of the car owners/buyers responded to the Facebook ads.

Fact Check
Recent statistics indicates 97% of buyers conduct an online research to select the potential brand before approaching the dealers.

Engage Your Audience

  • Creating an engaged community gives you an opportunity to keep in touch with people and listen to their concerns.
  • Just setting up a Facebook page can provide you with a valuable tool.
  • You can share articles and post original content, then gauge your fans’ opinion by their reactions.
  • It’s also a place for satisfied customers to leave good reviews; even bad reviews are valuable feedback.
  • Facebook says 53% of people are more likely to shop with a business that they can message directly.

Fact Check
Facebook says 53% of people are more likely to shop with a business that they can message directly.

Know your audience and how they behave online

  • It’s crucial that manufacturers and retailers have a good understanding of their audience and how they behave online.
  • They shouldn’t just focus on previous customers and their typical target market but should aim to understand those who are consuming information and engaging with brands digitally.

Create content for increased organic visibility

  • It’s important that you have an understanding of how search engines sources and shows information, and that you’re continuously creating the content that meets these requirements.
  • So many questions are asked during a buyer’s research process and this is one way businesses can engage with them early on.
  • The first example below shows the manufacturer, Land Rover, answering a question in an article, which is likely to be asked by those interested in their core product range.

Digital Marketing in the Automotive Industry

  • The second example shows the aggregator, Carwow, populate Google’s answer box by simply offering an answer to the search query.

Be present on the relevant social media

  • The automotive industry is likely to have typical touchpoints across all social media.
  • Twitter houses discussions on the relative pros and cons of most vehicles.
  • Pinterest is renowned for being an aspirational brand – it’s where people save images of things they want, and so it cannot be ignored in the customer journey.
  • Even LinkedIn, typically known as a business network, is relevant because people use it to search for company car and commercial vehicle advice.
  • The automobile industry must catch up when it comes to social media. Being present on it and engaging with their audience is hugely important.

Social Video Sharing

  • Live streaming videos are watched 3x longer than prerecorded videos.
  • YouTube is one of the most influential tools for vehicle shoppers.
  • 69 percent of people who used YouTube while buying a car were influenced by it.
  • Expect users to watch videos on mobile more than a personal computer.
  • This means, not only do you need to be sharing videos on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more, but your videos have to be mobile friendly.

Target Consumers with Facebook Ads

A study by ComScore found that Facebook ads increase vehicle consideration and also decreases consideration of other competitors. According to the study, actions after seeing Facebook ads include:

  • 37% increase in dealership visits
  • 17% increase to dealership and automotive brand sites
  • 11% increase in brand search activity
  • 14% decrease in competitive model searches
  • 3% decrease in competitive brand searches

Facebook has become much more sophisticated in the way consumers can be targeted with ads. In the “Automotive” behavioral category alone, consumers can be targeted by the following areas:

  • New Vehicle Buyers (“near market” thinking about buying in the next year)
  • New Vehicle Shoppers (“in market” looking to within next 180 days)
  • Owners
  • Purchase Type
  • Used Vehicle Buyers (in the market to buy now)
  • Motorcycle

Other popular segments include:

  • Vehicle Type (car, SUV, truck, van)
  • Make
  • Model
  • Year
  • Financial (i.e. median home value and credit score range)
  • Segments such as vehicle history data and garage data

Email Marketing

  • The direct communication with your customers and audience is email marketing in the simplest form.
  • Studies have shown that you’re 40x more likely to gain customers through email than through Twitter or Facebook.
  • The personalization and segmentation can make or break your email marketing strategies.
  • Segmentation can increase the revenue by almost 760%. Segmentation allows you to split your user base into groups that allow you to send them with specifically targeted content.

Affiliate Marketing

  • Affiliate marketing, in the simplest terms, is basically a word of mouth review that you get paid for.
  • For dealerships, this could be anything from a certain brand of vehicle cleaner to a brand of floor mats that are offered through the dealership.
  • This allows you to get some extra cash each time your referral leads to a sale. Blogging is a great way to drive affiliate sales through the recommendations of certain products.

Add Pinterest to Your Social Strategy

  • Most marketers think of some of the more popular social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as channels for social marketing.
  • Pinterest is known for having a larger female base, with recipes, beauty tips, and decorating ideas. However, Pinterest is great for the automotive industry in several ways.

Bid on competitor keywords

  • While we’re talking about search engine marketing, it’s important to not only be bidding on the obvious keywords like “New Honda Accord.”
  • You should also set up an automotive marketing campaign to tackle your competition.
  • It is a fierce and competitive world in automotive marketing, so being able to show up every time your competition does with compelling ad copy is key.
  • You should bid on your top competitor’s brand names, and create highly persuasive ads to get leads to visit your website over your competition.  

digital marketing strategies for automotive 1

Send Out Press Releases

  • Press releases that link back to your website about services, products, events and news are great ways to increase web visibility and traffic through organic search and search engine optimization.
  • Many of these press releases aren’t written with the intent that they’ll get picked up by local news organizations, although some of them do.
  • Instead, their purpose is to be distributed through the web, boosting keywords, sharing links, thus spreading site and brand visibility.

With these digital marketing tactics at your fingertips, you’ll have more ammunition in the war for customer eyeballs and dollars. You may find some are slightly more effective than others, but there’s no such thing as a silver bullet, you can’t expect a significant bottom-line impact from just one channel. Cars are high-involvement and high-investment products, so you’ve got to hit multiple customer touch points.