To understand how consumers engage with automotive content and search online in the 3 months prior to purchase.
Yahoo! partnered with Compete to match clickstream behavior from Compete’s panel of 2 million online consumers to Polk vehicle registration data from January 2010 through December 2010.
11,218 new vehicle retail car registrations were matched to help Yahoo! understand online behaviors leading to an automotive purchase.
Key Findings and Implications
1. Consumers engaging with automotive brands in the 3 months leading to purchase are fickle.
- Search and OEM (car manufacture sites e.g. Toyota.com) visits are indicators of interest, not commitment. Purchasers typically engage with two manufacturers prior to purchase, and tend to engage more frequently with the manufacturer’s site for the brand they eliminate from their consideration set.
- Consumers searching on a brand term are as likely to visit a 3rd party site (e.g. yahoo.autos.com) as they are an OEM, with 51% of purchasers visiting one or both in the 3 months prior to purchase.
- Manufacturers should be aggressive with consumers who seek them out:
- Search and site based retargeting can build on the interest generated from search & site visits.
- Use search retargeting for consumers who search for your brand, but don’t visit your site.
- Use site based retargeting with smart ads to customize messages for users who visit your site.
- Rich Ads in Search can increase the likelihood for a consumer to engage with an automotive brand while searching.
2. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are valuable indicators of near term purchase, but only identify a small portion of purchasers.
- 1/3 of all purchasers perform a lower funnel KPI, while 2%-4% will submit a lead across both OEM and 3rd party sites.
- While viewing photos are not a lower funnel behavior on OEM sites, they are a lower funnel behavior on 3rd Party Sites.
- Upper funnel KPIs are more prevalent on OEM sites, compared with 3rd Party Sites.
Manufacturers should look beyond lower funnel KPIs and behaviors that occur outside OEM sites to identify near-term purchasers.
3. Consumers engage with non-automotive related content online while shopping for their next vehicle.
- Automotive behavior accounts for only 3% of a purchaser’s time spent online in the 3 months leading to purchase.
- If advertisers only focus their marketing efforts on OEM and 3rd party sites, they’re not reaching half of automotive purchasers.
- If advertisers only focus on search, they’re not reaching 70% of those who will purchase in 3 months.
Marketers can increase their opportunity to connect with consumers in their last 3 months prior to purchase through high reach placements outside of endemic properties and search.
- Go beyond autos and engage car shoppers outside of car sites and searches. For example, 66% of auto purchasers can be reached on Yahoo!’s non-endemic properties, such as the Homepage, Finance, News.
- Use search and site based retargeting to reach in market car buyers when they are consuming non- auto specific content.
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