Smartphones Continue to Transform Vehicle Purchase Process

Sujata Sontakke

The vehicle purchase as an interactive experience with mobile Web and mobile Apps was explored by Dane Holewinski, director of marketing at Greystripe, a brand-focused mobile ad network that is a division of ValueClick. He told participants at the recent 2011 Automotive Internet Roundtable that in the next year, between 5 and 7 million new vehicles will be purchased by owners of iPhones and Androids, and 80% of these iPhone and Android owners will use their smartphones for their auto purchases.

Holewinski provided a few details from a study of 850 iPhone users who were recruited using ads through networks and he also presented highlights from two specific brand phone ad campaigns. A few key points are summarized:

• A majority (80%) of study respondents (iPhone users) who are in the market for a vehicle will use a mobile device extensively for their auto purchase.

• Some 50% said they will use it on the lot, while 30% will use their phone to search for a dealership and 20% will contact the dealership by smartphone.

• An interesting data point: Over 50% of these prospective buyers are in the market for foreign brands.

Interactive Mobile Ads Increase Awareness:

Buick LaCrosse

• The average interaction time with an interactive mobile ad for the LaCrosse midsize conventional sedan was 2.42 seconds, and there was a 4% click-thru rate to Buick’s mobile site.

• Brand awareness improved by 21% and there was a 33% lift in purchase intent with a 29% advocacy level.

Kia Soul

Kia used a full-screen interstitial (interlude) for the Soul compact MPV that achieved a 25% interaction rate with an interaction time of over one minute.

• There was a 100% lift in brand awareness, purchase intent and advocacy.

Five Takeaway Points:

– Mobile marketing is not optional. Clients are deeply engaged with mobile devices. If marketers don’t engage their clients, someone else will engage them.

– The iPhone and Android dominate.

– 50% of all new-car purchases will be by Android and iPhone users.

– Auto buyers are using mobile throughout the purchase process.

– Mobile advertising has proved to be effective for brands in the auto purchase cycle.

Sujata Sontakke, senior research manager, Automotive Global Research Operations at J.D. Power and Associates

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