5 Best Digital Marketing Strategies For Automobile Companies

5 Best Digital Marketing Strategies For Automobile Companies

10 mins read6.9K Views Comment
Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Dec 14, 2023 19:20 IST

Executing a digital marketing strategy in the automotive industry is a cost-effective imperative. It captures evolving consumer habits, widening reach, and targeting specific audiences effectively. It amplifies brand visibility, fosters engagement, and builds lasting relationships with customers.

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There is one common thread that sums up consumer behaviour today. They do online research before buying any product in-store. 

The same is true for car shoppers and every automobile enthusiast. Think with Google states

  • 95% of car shoppers use digital as the main information source
  • 60% of automotive searches come from mobile devices

As per a 2018 report by MHP (a German Porsche division),  2/3rds of potential customers wanted to purchase a car online. 

For today, have a look at digital marketing strategies for automobile companies. 

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All About Automotive Digital Marketing Strategy

The automotive industry consists of manufacturers of vehicles. It also comprises companies that make different parts including bodies and engines. 

The market categorises this sector by application and type. 

Passenger and commercial cars are two distinct subcategories under the application category. Electric, diesel and gasoline vehicles fall under the type category.  

The automotive industry contributes to 3% of the global GDP. The GDP for China and India from this sector is 7% (Kearney). By 2030, the revenue of the global automotive industry would be USD 8931 billion (Statista).  

Let’s see some of the important automotive industry trends to understand consumer behaviour better. 

Impact of COVID-19 and Chip Crisis of Ukraine-Russia War

The COVID-19 crisis brought a decrease in car sales. According to McKinsey, car sales in China dropped to 71%. At the same time, automakers focused more on digital-first buying experiences. 

As restrictions slowly eased out last year, car shoppers started visiting car dealerships for physical testing. McKinsey states that now both offline and online experiences are ‘simultaneously complementing and competing with one another.’  

In light of the Ukraine-Russia war, chip manufacturing has halted causing a disruption in supply chain which is not helping the growing trend of connected vehicles that utilise 5G and IoT tech. Reuters states the chip crisis would last until 2025. 

Sustaining the Future of Mobility

Vehicle manufacturers who use ACES (Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared) technologies continue to get more funds. In 2020, sales of electric vehicles rose to 43% due to environment-conscious consumers. 

Refer to Green Marketing to see why sustainability is important to consider.

Electric vehicles as key automotive trend

McKinsey states these technologies will rise in the coming years. 

D2C Business Model

Also called direct-to-consumer, this business model is working in favour of many automobile companies. According to Hindustan Times, 2022 will see a rise in the D2C model. In the Indian market, there will be a dip in the traditional model of selling cars physically. 

Demand for More In-Built Features

As said above, automakers can benefit from integrating new technologies. 

Cars nowadays are no longer just means of mobility. Consumers prefer Wi-Fi connectivity, IoT enabled, auto-driving solutions, etc. That means, automakers have to invest in software development much more today. 

more built-in features in cars for target audience

According to Hindustan Times, such smart cars with innovative technologies appeal to the younger demographic. And by this year, more and more vehicles will come loaded with high-tech solutions. 

How does Digital Marketing work for Automotive Marketers?

Digital marketing taps into the customer journey in a more effective way. It helps in the entire buying journey, right from the awareness stage to the buying phase. 

According to Think with Google, the average car buyer visits less than two car dealerships. Most of the research they do online first. This is one reason why there are multiple digital marketing strategies for automobile companies.

Your target audience should be able to find your auto dealership on a search engine results page. 

Different Phases of the Buyer Journey

Experts from Google chart out five main phases when a consumer wants to buy a car. 

  • Phase I – The consumer wants to find the best car brand they can go for. Here digital branding can improve brand awareness. 
  • Phase II – Once they are aware of the brand, they check if the car would cater to their needs and lifestyle. They prefer to research features and look for informative content.
  • Phase III – This is an important stage when they are evaluating the decision of the purchase. Many potential customers back out and there are few prospects left for conversions. Automotive marketers have to convince them and make the buying process as smooth as possible. 
  • Phase IV – Here, the remaining prospects are about to purchase but they look for auto dealerships in their vicinity. This is the stage when you need good search engine visibility. 
  • Phase V – At this stage, the car shopper wants to confirm the purchase after looking for deals and promotions. Ads pertaining to deals help close the buying process.

Useful Automotive Digital Marketing Strategies 

Automotive marketers can utilise a variety of digital marketing tactics. But there are a few important aspects to consider. 

  • How you will influence the buyer’s decision at the right phase
  • What you can improve after measuring the buyer journey from the start
  • Which can be the right digital channel for your target audience
  • How your digital marketing strategy meets the marketing budget

Here are among the most useful digital marketing strategies you can work with. 

Video Marketing with YouTube Creators

92% of car shoppers conduct online research of videos, according to Think with Google. Among them, 63% prefer a 360-degree video inside the car instead of a test drive. 

The same study also found out that customers prefer YouTube creators who collaborate with car brands. The engagement rate for YouTube creator videos is 64% when they cross the 10-minute mark. 

When automakers do the same, the engagement rate falls to 1%. The engagement rate for car brands goes higher to 74% when their YouTube videos are less than a minute. 

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Pay per click Advertising and Monitoring

According to research by WordLead, 65% of consumers click on paid ads. With PPC marketing campaigns on Google, you can come on top of paid search results faster. 

But chances are, your competitors can make it difficult to rank. You should find out how they are displaying ads for the target audience. For instance, you can look into how their ads appear and what keywords they use. 

Experts PPC marketers suggest that long-tail keywords help you narrow down the audience. Bidding on expensive keywords can be competitive and challenging to rank. 

Automotive marketers can also look into their target audience and choices. It is important to meet the search intent of the user. Many experts claim that keywords with specific car brands work. The main reason is the click-through rates for brand terms are higher than the cost per click (Search Engine Watch). 

To minimise PPC costs, integrate negative keywords in your marketing campaigns. This way your target audience will narrow down too. With negative keywords, your ads will not appear in other searches related to your main keyword. 

It is also important to track the performance of your PPC ads. To monitor and implement changes, set up a Google Analytics account with Google Ads.   

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Optimise Your Website For Mobile

As you can see from the above stat, mobile devices play a big role for automotive marketers. It is about offering the best user experience across multiple devices. This is one of the most important digital marketing strategies for automobile companies.

According to Google Analytics data, users leave the site when it takes more than 3 seconds to load. You can check your domain on Google’s Test My Site and see what changes you can do. 

As mobiles have a smaller screen size, it can be hard to navigate and that decreases the retention rate. Google suggests that you can make your website menu simple and place your contact address for everyone to find easily. 

Even if you follow a great content marketing strategy for your website with SEO guidelines, the above steps can improve the user experience more. 

Local SEO with Google My Business

Local SEO helps in all the stages of the buyer’s journey but impacts mostly on the later stages when they are ready to make a purchase. For car dealers and automotive marketers alike, local searches are essential. 

You also have to consider the different ranking factors on Google when it comes to local searches. A study by Moz.com suggests that there are separate local organic ranking factors. 

Google My Business Signals are a ranking factor that contributes to 8.85% of organic searches. Most car dealers have a Google My Business account. Once you create an account, verify your address, your working hours and update the listings regularly. 

Google suggests relevancy, proximity and online reviews for showing up on top of local searches. 

There are review signals too. Quantity, velocity and diversity of reviews make up for 6.47 % of local ranking factors on Google (Moz).

Social Media Marketing on X Corp aka Twitter

A study by Kenshoo revealed that those who interact with a car brand on X are 32% likely to make a purchase. 

Social media advertising works for car dealers and companies. The same industry report by Kenshoo stated that 56% of customers bought a car after a car dealer posted an advertisement on social media. 

According to a POLK / DLX study, there are 12 million in-market shoppers on the X Corp platform every month. 

Using pinned tweets, relevant hashtags, regular posts, and following automotive influencers are some of the essential tips for car dealers on the X platform.  

Parting Thoughts

These are the most effective digital marketing strategies for automobile companies. Apart from them, car dealers and automotive marketers should use SMS marketing and email marketing as well. If you are starting out as a marketer in this industry, do check out the related digital marketing courses and level up your game in no time.  

FAQs

What is the automotive digital marketing strategy?

An automotive digital marketing strategy involves:

  • Developing an intuitive, informative website.
  • Optimising online visibility through SEO tactics.
  • Creating captivating content via blogs, videos, and social media.
  • Engaging audiences on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Running targeted email campaigns to promote new models and deals.
  • Using PPC ads on search engines and social media for specific targeting.
  • Managing online reputation by responding to reviews promptly.
  • Utilising videos to showcase vehicles and engage customers effectively.
  • Analysing data for informed decision-making and strategy enhancements.
  • Ensuring mobile-friendly experiences for website users.
  • Collaborating with influencers for wider reach and credible endorsements.
  • Exploring innovative tech like VR/AR for immersive experiences.

The automotive digital marketing strategy encompasses various techniques and approaches tailored to promote vehicles, services, and brands within the automotive industry in the digital space.

What are the 7ps of the automobile industry?

In the context of the automobile industry, the 7Ps refer to the following marketing elements:

Product: This refers to the vehicles and automotive products offered by companies, including their features, design, quality, and variety.

Price: It involves the pricing strategy employed for vehicles, spare parts, services, and any associated costs. This includes considerations like discounts, financing options, and perceived value.

Place: This pertains to the distribution channels used to make vehicles available to customers, such as dealerships, online sales platforms, or partnerships with other retailers.

Promotion: The promotional strategies used to create awareness and interest in the vehicles. This includes advertising, sales promotions, sponsorships, events, and public relations.

People: Refers to the individuals involved in selling and marketing vehicles, including sales representatives, customer service personnel, and the overall customer experience.

Process: The procedures and systems implemented in providing services and selling vehicles, encompassing the buying process, after-sales service, and customer support.

Physical Evidence: The tangible elements that customers interact with, such as the dealership environment, vehicle design, brochures, website, and any physical materials that represent the brand.

Also refer to the marketing mix blog to get a better idea on the proven marketing areas. 

What is automotive social media marketing?

Automotive social media marketing involves using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., to promote vehicles and services. It includes creating engaging content (posts, videos), interacting with customers, collaborating with influencers, using paid ads, analysing data for better strategies, and building customer relationships. This approach aims to boost brand visibility, engage audiences, and influence consumer decisions within the automotive industry.

What is the most important aspect of automotive digital marketing in 2024?

It has to be customer-centric. Digital showrooms, VR experiences, and sustainability are becoming core preferences of customers globally. It would be better to direct marketing efforts in these areas.  

What can a content strategy do for automotive marketing online?

A well-defined content strategy in the automotive industry helps build brand awareness, establish credibility, engage the audience, and drive conversions by delivering valuable and relevant information to potential customers.

About the Author
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Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio