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IAB Research: Digital Influence on American Car Buyers - Automotive Digital Marketing

Executive Summary - (use link to see over a dozen charts)
14% of US adults are planning to buy an automobile in the next 6 months.
Half will buy new, one-third will buy used and the rest are undecided.
Nearly two-thirds of Auto Intenders plan to buy a car
1 in 4 say they're going to get an SUV
2 in 5 say they want a truck
1 in 10 report they intend to buy a minivan or Crossover
Average prices Auto Intenders plan to pay are between $20,000 to $25,000
Auto intenders are young (half are under 35), male, married parents, ethnically diverse, higher earners who are more likely to be Business Owners or Professionals and more likely to live in the South.
Dream car delayed, but not denied... Many Auto Intenders say they have deferred their auto purchases in the past month (26%).
The most frequently deferred vehicle purchase were Crossovers (42%)
Auto Intenders are positive about their economic situation and ready to buy
Auto Intenders are more likely than general population to feel the US economy is strong (56%)
Auto Intenders report that their personal finances have improved compared to last year (38%).
Auto Intenders are more likely to do online research for products before buying (96%), especially cars (29%). While researching vehicles online, auto intenders are likely to be swayed by auto ads. Auto Intenders are more likely to be swayed by internet ads across categories than the general population and 71% more likely to be swayed by automotive advertising on the internet.
All media types influence Auto Intenders' vehicle purchases, emphasizing the importance of a good media mix that includes digital. While taking in various forms of media, these media often trigger Auto Intenders to do product searches online. They do searches for autos and are highly influenced by sponsored search results (twice as influenced as the general population). In other words, a magazine article or TV commercial might influence an Auto Intender to do an online search or research, where they're more likely to be influenced by sponsored search ads and other digital display ads.
Auto Intenders are more likely to own a mobile device with higher smartphone ownership (75%) among Truck, Minivan and Crossover shoppers. Hybrid, SUV, Electric, Minivan or Truck shoppers are more likely to own a tablet (42%). Auto Intenders are more likely to comparison shop, online (34%) or on a mobile phone (14%) and to search using a variety of devices.
Auto Intenders are also heavier video streamers both online (69%), where they're more likely to notice a video ad (66%) and on their Mobile devices (52%), in which 8% report being influenced by mobile video, which is twice the purchase influence of General Population (Adults 18+).
Auto Intenders are more likely to do a wide range of online activities more regularly than the general population. Since Auto Intenders are more regularly online, and more likely to own and use mobile devices, the internet is the place to reach them across all their devices.
Why Join The PowerDealer Network? - Automotive Digital Marketing

"I use all the Power Information Network reports, but I concentrate on those that give me real time comparison numbers. Some of the reports, on both new and used deals, tell me if I am competitive or leaving money on the table. I recently altered my advertising because these reports showed my “Age of Buyer” was getting older and I was not reaching that critical younger buyer."

Right Data - Right Now

THE Go-To Information Source for Running Your Dealership More Effectively

PowerDealer is a highly accurate and online source for analytical tools and decision-support products that enable your dealership to compare your operation to your market region; improve your dealership profitability; and help you make effective business decisions... The PowerDealer Program is endorsed and funded by most major OEM's and joining the network is at no charge for franchised U.S. based car dealers.

PowerDealer gives you the ability to…

Set a customized goal and threshold for up to 32 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor your progress over time.


Find out how the KPIs your dealership is meeting or trending over a specific time period to evaluate how your business compares against marketplace trends.


PowerDealer gives you the ability to…

Identify model-level opportunities in your market. Are you stocking the right model lines? Is there a missed volume or gross opportunity?

Return on Inventory

Rank your dealership and compare your sales, financing, profit, and inventory performance by brand with dealers in the same market.

Average Deal Recap

PowerDealer gives you the ability to…

Track your sales on a map. See the classes of vehicles that are selling in specific areas and determine

the areas where you are pulling customers from your competitors.

Customer Sales Google™ Map

Integrate and understand the terms and rates from your lenders that help you close deals.


PowerDealer gives you the ability to…

Select a specific used vehicle and see its sales performance during a selected time period in your area.

Appraise a vehicle you are unfamiliar with and determine if you should sell it at a retail or wholesale price.

Booking Tool – Select (or VIN)

Recognize which used vehicles are generating the highest sales return for other dealerships in your area.


PowerDealer Data Defined

Timely and reliable data that covers the market with:

  • – Competitive Market View

  • – REAL Transaction-Based Data

  • – New/Used Vehicle

  • – F&I Performance

Derived from real-time, transaction-level data for new and used vehicles from over 12,000 automotive dealership franchisees in North America...

  • Among the most accurate source of real retail pricing in the market today.

  • A unique quality-control process standardizes and validates sales figures.

  • Dealer-specific reports updated daily, available 24/7 via secure Web interface.

  • Strategic alliance with NADA promotes dealer interests.

Why Dealers Choose To Join The PowerDealer Network

Shown below are actual comments received from dealers currently using their PowerDealer online applications to better manage their dealerships...

"It’s terribly essential for a dealer to know the kind of information the Power Information Network provides. I depend on PIN data for numbers I can’t get anywhere else, certainly not from my manufacturers. I depend on PIN to show me how my store and people compare with other same franchises in my market, in real time."

"I use the Booking Tool quite a bit and find it good information. As a matter of fact it’s part of my normal appraisal process and all in all it’s quite helpful as a measuring stick with real life barometer than some other tools out there."

"I use PowerDealer all the time. I use the general data and marketing data to get a better snapshot of who our customers are."

"I find the PIN reports useful in giving me a measure of what is selling in the marketplace. The UV tools are great! The data enhances our decision making process."

"I love the PowerDealer tool and use it weekly to better understand dealership performance. The KPI dashboards and the Google maps feature are most valuable to me. The new and used car trends charts are great as well."

Quicktip #2 - Misperception About Miles - Automotive Digital Marketing ProCom

Jasen Rice nails the high mileage issue! This is something I started noticing a few years ago... Every dealer I worked with, from California to New York seemed to have an aversion to high mileage used cars, yet whether at wholesale or retail they always seemed to sell faster! You definitely hit it right on about the retail factors, plus let's face it, when someone is trading in a car with high miles they know it has high mileage which will negatively impact the value they are willing to accept. This sets the stage for us to make a better deal on the trade-in and then when the deal is done, these high mile vehicles that we "steal" are always the ones that employees at the dealership want to buy!
I have seen cars that were 3 years old come in on trade with over 100K on the odometer because the owner drove the Interstates for his profession, we hammer the ACV with a 300% of book mileage deduction because the used car manager professes that "Long miles kill these things in the market"... Then three sales people are arguing over who gets to buy it from the dealership, only to miss out when one of the managers scoops it up for his child going to college. Yeah, high mileage vehicles can be a lot better than we tend to think, as you point out.
Is the Internet An Enemy To Car Dealerships? - Automotive Digital Marketing ProCom

In the end, the Internet is not a dealership’s enemy.
It provides us all with much needed information and services that can be much harder to find elsewhere. Consumers will use it whether you want them to or not. Embrace technology and find a way to use it to your advantage. If you still don’t agree, just remember the old saying: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."


To App or not to App?..... That is the question my fellow ADM`ers - Automotive Digital Marketing ProCom


I want to throw this out there for the ADM Group to mull over......please share your answers here.

The subject is Apps....... Does a Car Dealership really need an App? We have had two different App companies in the past four years & from my personal experience, the results of having an App are very few and far between.

I have promoted our Apps everywhere imaginable and then some.......... I even try using a "hook" to give you a reason to download our Apps........ hence our "App Only" Offers" -

I`ve posted everything from Sales/Service/Parts "App Only Offers".............. still crickets.

Personally this is the way I see it............. I love shopping on Amazon & eBay....... & guess what? I have those Apps on my phone, because of my frequent visits to those sites. I believe the keyword is just that...... "Frequent"  -

Now think about a few things......

How often do you actually bring your vehicle in for service? Every month? Nah....

Every three months? Nah........


How often do you buy Parts at the dealership?


How often do you buy a vehicle at a dealership?

Again....... how often do you really "Frequent" a dealership???

We have had a little success with the App......... very, very little. Not enough success to justify having one in my opinion.

I`m not implying that our customers have not downloaded our APPs....... Some have.

However the results........... simply put... suck.

I believe if you have a nice Responsive website and because it`s so mobile-friendly, you really don`t need an App as a dealer.

I know I know........ one of you vendors out there will probably throw this out, "It`s about customer-retention Ken"........ There are much more effective ways to harness customer retention other than an App.

It`s just a cool 10g`s a year(for two stores) that I could shift elsewhere in my overall digital-marketing-mix.

So what are your experiences & thoughts on Apps at dealerships gang??

Would appreciate a lot of input from everyone.


Ken Beam

Digital Marketing Director

Douglas Auto Group

Facebook Marketing Tips for Car Dealers From The Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Car dealerships need to be creative with their Facebook marketing so customers are encouraged to return to the page, as well as invite their friends to become fans. Valuable incentives and special giveaways for checking in are among the many things you can offer to your Facebook audience. The more value you give to your fans, the more they give back in the form of positive reviews and referrals. Take a step away from traditional marketing methods, and build your presence on Facebook with regular customer interaction and creative deals, so your fans are more likely to stay loyal to your dealership.
Google and Apple Catch Up To Ford In Auto Industry Influence - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Google and Apple Join Ford as Key Influencers in the Auto Industry

Ask average consumers or professional marketers who is most influential in the automotive sector and their response would most likely be Scott Monty of Ford or Ralph Paglia from Automotive Marketing Group (AMG).

Alternatively, they may point to popular industry publications such as CAR and DRIVER, Edmunds or Auto Trader. Certainly, all are very popular people and media outlets. In fact, a Social Media Today report lists them among the top auto industry influencers on Twitter. However, does social media amplification make one influential? Most social influence scoring platforms use amplification as major metric in identifying influencers but is that enough?

A lot of focus has been directed towards influence marketing this past year by car dealers and other businesses seeking to sway public conversations and advocacy in their favor.

In response, there's a growing list of social influence platforms and strategies professing to hold the key to identifying and measuring social influence. One of the leaders in this space is Appinions, an opinion-based influence marketing platform that identifies and measures the opinion leaders in various industries that form online conversations around products, brands and businesses.

During the 2013 New York Auto Show, Appinions released a study entitled "Is Tech Swallowing Auto?", which offers some surprising insights.

The report explores what is shaping influential conversations at the intersection of new vehicle purchasing and technology and identifies the major players in each category. The results confirm what many already know; luxury, safety, design, value and performance are all hot buttons in any discussion around marketing automobiles. What's surprising is the role that auto technology has played in shaping influence and who is driving that influence.

Apple Catches Up to Ford as Auto Industry Influencer

Apple Computers has made its mark on history as a market disruptor and, thanks to SIRI's "Eyes Free" mode, it's continuing that tradition in the auto industry. The report identifies other technology players who are joining the ranks of key influencers. Google, because of Google Maps and the data it collects on driving patterns, has become a major player in generating opinions in this market. As of Dec 2012, Google Maps was the second most popular mobile app, just behind Facebook. Microsoft, thanks to the SYNC technology installed in Ford vehicles, and AT&T with partners GM and OnStar round out the top influencers.

Tech Trumps Performance

Given that these technology companies have become as influential in the auto industry as car manufacturers, it's no surprise that the topic of auto technology represents the lion's share of interest in online conversations. Technology represents 35% of the share of influence, followed by performance at 22%, value at 19%, design at 12%, safety at 8% and luxury at 4%.

The Appinions platform and research team identified that fuel economy (44%) and connected cars (32%) were the dominant topics driving opinion and influence with discussions on automotive technologies.

People over Brands

Another interesting insight was how highly GM executives ranked as influencers even though Ford, Toyota, Audi, Google, and Telsa all ranked as more influential brands. Appinions identified that GM's executives were more outspoken in sharing their opinions publicly, especially on the topic of innovation.
This study highlights the importance of identifying the opinions being shared by people and businesses, and measuring their impact on public conversations. The opinions of these market leaders are generating public dialogue, which creates social proof that impacts the purchase decisions of consumers. Further, the source of those opinions and eventual influence may be generated from unlikely and unexpected sources.

"Clearly, influence has become a powerful currency for brands when properly understood, identified and managed."
--Sam Fiorella

  • Share your thoughts... Has social influence become a new currency for brands?

  • Are you surprised at Apple and Google's surge in influencing this market?

  • Or that GM's executives rank so highly on automotive influence?

Follow Sam Fiorella on Twitter: www.twitter.com/samfiorella

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