Digital marketing evolves at an astounding pace each year. While some practices fade into obsolescence, other emerging technologies take their place. These changes are as relevant to the car buying journey as any industry, and staying up to speed with new consumer buying trends is an important part of capturing the attention of the right buyer at the right time.
Our team is on the front line of digital marketing and sees trends in real time, so we decided to put our heads together and look at the biggest developments of 2018 and trends for 2019. The following are the things we think will become serious game changers.
Search is a more powerful tool than ever for car dealerships, with consumer search actions becoming increasingly localized. People are using long tail keywords — such as “Car dealerships near me” — more and more, and search terms are becoming very location specific. This is a good thing for dealerships! Buyers in your area may conduct the majority of their research online, but then they want the convenience of walking into the closest dealership to them. Google is paying attention to these intent-focused searches, so it’s important you make sure your site has the information buyers are looking for so you show up at the right moment, and can get as close to the buyer’s “intent” as possible.
You probably don’t need us to tell you that smart speakers are dominating the domestic landscape. From Google Home to Alexa, households across the country are telling their speakers to play their favorite song for them. But they are also doing so much more. Consumers are increasingly using their speakers to search for information as they would on their cell phones and computers. It’s time to start optimizing for voice search, and targeting questions that people would actually say out loud to their smart speakers. If you put yourself in the shoes of the “voice searcher”, you can start to come up with the “What,” “How,” “When,” and “Where” questions they will be asking and make sure you can answer those through your online snippets.
Seeing as we are on the topic of Search, make sure 2019 is the year you take advantage of Bing. Bing’s desktop market-share is actually now up to one third (34% to be exact!). This number continues to rise as more and more people adopt and connect Windows 10 devices, and it only makes sense to make sure you can be found where a third of your market is searching.
VIDEO AND YOUTUBE
If you’ve got kids, you are probably already aware of how much media is now being consumed on YouTube. Adults are also increasingly looking to YouTube and video for entertainment and education. According to Google Think, “75% of auto shoppers say that online video has influenced their shopping habits or purchases”, while 40% say it “Helped them discover a vehicle they weren’t previously aware of considering.” What’s more, 60% reported visiting a dealership or dealer website after watching a video of a car they were interested in. It’s time to start considering video in all your marketing plans.
When you are out of the house, what’s the first thing you do when searching for a location or some information? You turn to your cell phone. There’s a high chance you even use your mobile device for searches when you are at home. Google understands this and in 2019, it will be using mobile-first indexing, meaning it will use the mobile version of your site first when it comes to indexing and ranking. Mobile optimization, therefore, is no longer a “nice-to-have” but rather a necessity moving forward.
Is your website mobile friendly? Check it on the Google mobile friendly tester.
Customer experience has become a hot topic in digital marketing this year. From ensuring brand experiences are consistent throughout every touchpoint, to making consumer journeys more relevant through personalization, how a customer “experiences” your brand is more important than ever. The Adobe 2018 Digital Trends Report shows that the majority of marketers they interviewed believe that “optimizing customer experience” is their top priority. One way to do this is to ensure your marketing is unified through one platform, so you can offer your customers a cohesive experience. In fact, the same Adobe report states that “A lack of integrated marketing technology reduces the chances of providing a seamless customer experience.” Talk to us to see how TRFFK’s full-service offering can help you with this.
While there will be plenty more developments within the world of digital marketing that we will dig into in 2019, these are the ones we think every dealer should have on their radar.