Google Reports What Drives Auto Shoppers

According to Kimberly Stonehouse, automotive industry development manager at Google, “We’re really starting to see automakers recognize the importance of mobile in the shopping process. Within automotive specifically, it varies among brands, but up to 20% of search traffic to OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) comes through a mobile device.”

Google released a report through emarketer that details the positive effects of automotive marketing on the internet. The report covers all aspects of users using the internet to find a car of their choice. It turns out that mobile is one of the biggest consumer trends used this year to find and purchase a car.

According to Kimberly Stonehouse, automotive industry development manager at Google, “We’re really starting to see automakers recognize the importance of mobile in the shopping process. Within automotive specifically, it varies among brands, but up to 20% of search traffic to OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) comes through a mobile device.”

Google has also seen that mobile traffic doesn’t replace desktop. Nevertheless, mobile is additive and complementary. “Through our search data, we see more desktop search traffic in the middle of the day, but mobile will spike in the evenings.”

The increase of mobile traffic in the evenings is valuable data that any business or marketing company could put into use, not just automotive dealers. “We know that, in general, one in three mobile searches is local. When a mobile device can recognize a consumer’s location, it becomes a much more powerful tool. One thing Google has done recently is to develop hyper-local search ads that tell mobile users their exact distance from an advertiser,” says Stonehouse.

Traditionally, the test drive at the dealership is the number one offline research source. “That means it is important to have both those online and in-person experiences,” says Stonehouse.

Backing up that claim to demonstrate the handoff between digital and the dealer, 31% of 2010 auto purchasers visited a dealership site during the six months prior to purchase, representing a 50% increase from 2009.

Google’s research also touched upon the use of YouTube as another device to shop for a vehicle. Dealerships need to have a video platform on their site in order to help their potential customers decide on their product. According to Nielson, more than half of the buyers will have visited YouTube.

Google’s marketing research is impressive for the automotive market. The results will pay handsomely for their advertising space. I would like to see similar reports focus on other markets like fashion, electronics or food service. What other valuable data does Google have to share about their users?