Big in 2011 Autos: Mobile, Video and Social Media
In 2011 we saw the Auto industry back on the road to recovery with most expecting the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) to be between 12.5M-12.8M units, well above the low of 9.32M in February 2009. Production issues due to Japan's earthquake and continued economic uncertainty have no doubt impacted the industry, making this year's projections even more remarkable.
The Internet has become the primary tool for in-market research with consumers spending 60% of the shopping process online and 3.25 hours spent on 3rd Party sites1 like AOL Autos. By taking advantage of available tools, consumers are more informed and better prepared before they even set foot into the dealership.
Mobile, Video and Social have been the biggest growth areas for 2011.
The explosion in smart phone and connected device usage has given rise to the mobile web with mobile becoming part of the auto shopping process. According to JD Power, automotive Internet usage on smart phones has increased 41% in one year.
- 53% use smartphones to compare pricing during car buying process1
- 48% use their smart phones for initial research on car purchase2
- 36% read professional car reviews on mobile device3
While some OEMs have been testing and using mobile for years, more and more have been shifting dollars and mobile has now become a core part of their media mix. In addition to typical mobile display ads, brands are experimenting with new ad formats:
- Many like Mazda and Toyota are utilizing QR codes
- The iPad has opened up new ways to be innovative including a 3-D ad that BMW ran on AOL’s new Editions iPad Magazine.
- Ford, an early adopter in mobile strategy, has a mobile app that lets customers do a virtual test drive of the new Fusion in anticipation of its unveiling at the North American International Auto Show
(Sources: 1. Ad-ology Research, "Auto Buyers Forecast: New Car Buyers in the United States with Intent to Purchase in the Next 12 Months," May 2011; 2 Greystripe, "Advertiser Insights Report: Mobile Auto Insights," April 1, 201; 3. Yahoo! and Nielsen Company "The Mobile Shopping Framework Study: The Role of Mobile Devices in the Shopping Process" as cited in company blog, Feb 16, 201)
As consumers want their content experiences to move seamlessly across platforms, video consumption in on the rise reaching an all-time high of 184M online video viewers in October 20111. It is also becoming an important tool in reaching new vehicle buyers:
- 63% of auto video viewers become more interested in a vehicle after watching a video
- 50% said that watching videos introduced them to a vehicle they hadn’t previously considered
- 61% said video helped narrow their choices
Advertisers are following suit putting more and more money into online video. Borrell & Associates anticipates online video ad spending to grow 232% from $112M in 2010 to $373M by 2015 accounting for 10.4% of ad spend.
(Sources: 1. comScore Video Metrix, October 2011; 2. Google / comScore / Polk Video Advertising Study, 2010)
In the US there are over 147M people that use social networks on a regular basis, representing almost 64% of Internet users1. The rise of social media has given a voice to the consumer and more than ever before they can control the conversation that marketers have with brands. They can be the best ambassadors or most ardent critics. Social media has become an important resource in the automotive path to purchase and presents numerous ways for marketers to connect with auto shoppers.
- 38% of new vehicle buyers will use social media to research their next vehicle purchase
- 41% say they saw a post that caused them to add a brand or model to their consideration
- An AOL/Nielsen study showed that 38% of all auto related social media messages contained a link to content, proving that Content is the Fuel of the Social Web: Download the full study here
While most OEMs have at minimum a Facebook, Twitter and You Tube Channel some are embracing social media in a variety of ways:
- Ford has always been a leader in social media marketing with innovative campaigns as The Fiesta Movement, Focus Rally, the Explorer Reveal on Facebook as well as being the first brand on Google+
- Nissan launched the My Versa Road Trip, which encourages consumers to map their journeys by car and then share their routes with friends via Facebook
- Both Honda and Toyota promoted vehicles in social game Car Town
(Sources: 1. eMarketer, February 201; 2. “The Rise of Loyalty, Advocacy & Influence,” DriverSide, Dealer.com, GfK, 2011)