Study shows 69% of car buyers use social media in their dealership selection process yet many dealerships are not effectively engaging with social media-savvy consumers
Sunnyvale, CA – Digital Air Strike™, the nation’s leading full-service automotive social media and online reputation management company, today announced the publication of the industry’s first 2012 Automotive Dealership Social Media and Online Reputation Study. Findings demonstrate that automotive dealerships are need to increase engagement engage with car shoppers on social networks and review sites during the car buying process, as the study shows the importance placed on these networks by consumers.
The study, completed in April 2012, is the first automotive-specific study to analyze both the use of social media and review sites by car buyers during the dealership selection process while concurrently auditing how car dealerships engage with consumers on these sites. The study measured usage trends on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ while identifying the top four dealership review sites, based on consumer use and traffic.
The consumer study surveyed 275 car buyers who purchased a vehicle in the last six months. It was found that the majority of car buyers utilize social media sites during the car purchase process. The study revealed that the top four review sites used to determine dealership selection, as ranked by consumers in the study, were Edmunds (22%), Cars.com (20%), and Yelp and Google Reviews (both at 19%). Highlights include:
- 69% of consumers said social media sites helped their vehicle purchase decision
- 68% of car shoppers said that dealership reviews impacted which dealership they visited when shopping for a vehicle
- 50% of consumers said that reading reviews affirmed their original choice of dealership, and 18% of consumers said they either selected a dealership based on the reviews they read or changed their choice of dealership after reading reviews on multiple dealerships
The dealership audit included 600 automotive retailers, including all major brands, from across the United States. The study compared engagement levels from 300 dealerships that managed their social media marketing “in-house” and 300 dealerships that used a social media vendor to manage their social media sites and online reputation.
Findings from the study include that the majority of dealers that try to manage social media activities in-house are not effectively leveraging social media as a communications channel. In fact, 90% of the auto dealerships that manage social media marketing in-house did not respond to negative online reviews and 95% did not respond to positive reviews, despite the growing importance placed on reviews by consumers during their dealership selection process. Highlights include:
- 79% of dealers that used a social media partner had a Google+ page, yet only 2% of dealers that managed their social media in-house had a Google+ presence.
- Only 27% of dealers managing social media in-house utilized “crowd sourcing” techniques as compared to 87% of dealers that worked with a social media partner.
- Dealers using social media partners had more than double the number of followers on the top two social media sites:
- Dealers managing Facebook in-house averaged 350 “likers” as compared to 770 “likers” for dealers that worked with a social media partner
- Dealers managing Twitter in-house averaged 121 “followers” as compared to 214 “followers” for dealers that worked with a social media partner
“This ground-breaking study highlights the importance of social networks and review sites in the car buying process,” said Alexi Venneri, co-founder, CMO and COO-Social Media of Digital Air Strike. “Dealers who work with a social media partner can gain a significant advantage from increases in consumer engagement and related website traffic.”
A webinar detailing full study results and research methodology complete with best practice examples and ROI tips will be broadcast on May 22, 2012. To sign up for the webinar visit: www.digitalairstrike.com/getsocialnow.
About Digital Air Strike
Digital Air Strike provides the industry’s most complete automotive social media and digital marketing solution. The company developed a turnkey program that includes fully managing social media sites, online reputation and digital lead responses for dealerships nationwide. The company offers multiple tiers of service ranging from targeted social media and review site management to comprehensive multi-vehicle quoting with behavioral targeting capabilities. Digital Air Strike’s expertise spans all manufacturer brands and has a proven track record of helping automotive dealers, dealership groups and manufacturers engage with more consumers while delivering increased website traffic. Additional information is available at www.DigitalAirStrike.com and www.facebook.com/digitalairstrike.