That’s according to Alex Rose, associate industry manager (automotive) for Google, who gave a fascinating insight into the workings of the international internet and software corporation recently.
Rose, based at the company’s London office, works mainly with manufacturers but increasingly large dealer groups too. His job is to make sure people get the best out of Google’s products: mainly the search engine but also offerings such as YouTube and display banner advertising.
Underpinning the modern way of doing business is the slogan: ‘Content is king’.
As the company says, marketing content used to be your ‘ad creatives’ and product information. But in a digital world, content needs to be completely redefined to include forums and communities, product reviews and surveys, games, videos, gadgets and viral marketing – all of which can help shape consumer perceptions of your product and brand.
Rose revealed that Google runs an annual survey involving 500 UK consumers who have bought a car in the last 12 months and looks at how they went about researching and buying that car.
He said 85 per cent of them would use search engines, with the majority turning to Google – and that search engine users presented a great opportunity for car dealers.
‘There’s one point that’s really key about people who use search engines,’ said Rose. ‘They are a different sort of consumer. People who don’t use search engines are less open-minded and more brand loyal.
‘Those guys who search online are more likely to present a conquest opportunity for your business. The more unusual the thing that people are looking for, the more likely they are to use a search engine to find it.’
Rose, speaking at a recent profit clinic organised by Car Dealer magazine, revealed:
- Year on year, there has been an increase of 27 per cent in the number of people carrying out offer-related searches to do with cars involving categories such as car finance, deals, discounts and upgrades.
- Across the broader retail environment, that figure is 56 per cent.
- Although vouchers and coupons may have been seen as a ‘little bit low rent’ in the past, things have changed with companies such as Groupon thriving like never before.
- Brand loyalty is currently running at 48 per cent meaning that a Ford owner searching for a new car is less than 50 per cent likely to end up in another Ford.
- Ninety-four per cent of car buyers use the internet at some point when planning their purchase, meaning it is ‘key at every stage’.
- January is the biggest month for car searches.