Would You Buy a Car Online? The Auto Industry Works to Adjust to Their New Normal

Over the past year, consumer expectations and behaviors have shifted as convenience and accessibility are now critical statuses. Marketers must start responding to engagement faster and must find valuable audiences outside of key areas.  The way to achieve both is by incorporating brands into “micro moments” and adjusting how we measure success.

Ecommerce behavior accelerated during the pandemic.  As a result, marketers will need to learn to shift to direct-to-consumer relationships going forward.  Additionally, consumer satisfaction is boosted through digital shopping experiences.  This has carried over to the auto industry:

  • 75% of new car buyers are satisfied with their online shopping experience.
  • Full online transactions increased 60% over the pandemic for the auto industry

Consumers are unlikely to fall back into pre-pandemic behavior types.

Ad Personalization will be paramount for effective advertising. Brand recognition is essentially required to do business with consumers:  91% of people are more likely to shop brands they recognize and remember. Consumers have a more favorable opinion when they are targeted with meaningful, relevant messages that inform, include good deals, and include concise content.  Advertisers will have to consider and respect the customer’s buying journey.

As cookies go away, digital marketers will need to get creative by identifying early buying signals and leveraging predictive technology to anticipate consumer movement. Advertisers must find  ways to reach consumers with personalized experiences that also gives people more control and transparency. Membership and exclusivity will continue to grow, as it’s also a data exchange for the advertiser as members sign up.

Advertisers are in a rush to find the best data and analytics to build new audiences and target the most quality audiences that will convert at high rates.  Marketers will have to be intentional and will need to look at key signals of data sources, and verify the quality of that data.

Transparency will be key with data gathering when building trust with your brand.  Seven in ten people are worried about how big tech companies use their data.  Baby Boomer and Gen X are very concerned about transparency while Gen Z and Millennials tend to worry less how their data is being used.  Data origin will be key—where are marketers collecting this data (email, phone number, cookies, or IP addresses)?

The challenge, then, is finding a method to serve relevant messaging to the right consumer at the right time. One of the best ways to do this, as cookies go away, is the tried true method of contextual targeting. While people are researching products related to the brand, join the consideration set. The next step, though, is having break through creative and an offer or content that is compelling to a consumer to start that relationship. It will always be a value exchange.

This blog post was written by Angie Laxson, Market Manager

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