When should auto dealerships start doing research? Before car buyers start doing theirs. And it just so happens, this blog is a great place for strategic dealers to begin. Find out why your dealership needs a strong online presence so customers can find it when embarking on their buying journey. This applies to both new and pre-owned auto shoppers, alike. Because you’ve got to be found – and found early – to get the sale. Today’s tips for “owning” 2020 include:  

  • Grab the attention of car shoppers 
  • Get your listings and reviews right 
  • Design a mobile responsive website  
  • Nail search marketing best practices 


1. Grab Car Shoppers’ Attention 

Shoppers go online to research automobiles and make decisions about where to buy those automobiles once they’ve narrowed down their choices. This is when your dealership needs to grab the attention of car shoppers and promote the best vehicle for each individual. (Think Automotive Inventory Ads.) 

  1. 71 percent of new car shoppers do research online, and 86 percent of them repeat the same searches multiple times throughout their buying journey. 
  2. 87 percent of customers who purchased a car in the past 6 months used a discovery platform for research. That’s a staggering number of car shoppers searching online for dealerships and deals – and you want to be first in their line of visibility.  
  3. 78 percent of shoppers who plan to buy a car within 3 months don’t know where they’ll buy it. That’s great news for you – as long as they can find you during the critical research stage, so you can be a serious contender. (Facebook Automotive Playbook for Dealers

Let’s take a look at pre-owned (CPO) shoppers, specifically. They’re an essential target audience, because for each new vehicle sold, there are three used ones sold. And projections show that used sales will grow and new sales will drop. 

  • Where CPO shoppers research: 81 percent use local dealership sites; 77 percent use search engines; and 70 percent use third-party review sites. Your website is essential – and Tip 3 will explain the importance of designing a mobile-friendly one.   

  • How CPO shoppers research: an average of 30+ pre-purchase online touchpoints and four brand considerations. The more touchpoints with your dealership, the more chances you have to make an impact, which conveniently transitions to listings and reviews. 


2. Get It Right: Listings and Reviews 

First things first, even though they happen to appear second here. Listings and review management. Getting the attention of car shoppers is crucial, but when they find your dealership, the information better be correct. If it’s not, search engines will downgrade your listings, replacing them with more accurate dealership listings. And if your reviews aren’t good, customers might not bother looking for your dealership at all. 


  • 73 percent of customers lose trust in brands with inaccurate local business listings. And it’s not just your dealership’s business hours and phone numbers you need to worry about – it’s content, photos and more.  
  • 7 percent of Google searchers switch to competitors if a listing is missing a phone number.  


  • 56 percent of car shoppers check reviews before deciding whether to visit a dealership.  
  • The more stars your dealership has, the more consumers are willing to consider doing business with you:  
    • 4 stars            94 percent  
    • 3 stars            57 percent  
    • 1 or 2 stars     13 percent   


3. Design Mobile Responsive Website 

Customers turn to mobile for information before, during and after the buying process – so it’s strategically wise to be ready for them and their devices.  

  • 60 percent of automotive searches come from mobile devices. That’s why it’s smart to design a dealership website that is mobile responsive, with layouts, text and images that adjust to fit the device’s screen. 
  • 18 percent of car shoppers use mobile devices during the buying process and 53% use multiple devices. Your dealership can make it easy for visitors to reach out by adding a contact form to every page. Web chat makes it even more inviting for customers to ask questions.    


4. Nail Search Marketing Best Practices 

PPC (pay-per-click) text ads are often a car shopper’s first impression of your dealership – and these ads have the power to increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your website. Consider these search marketing (SEM) best practices when creating PPC campaigns. Drive customers to your dealership online and offline with compelling ads that include:  

  • Relevant keywords, specific vehicles and landing pages 
  • Strong calls-to-action  
  • Callout extensions, structured snippets and price extensions 


Think your dealership could benefit from a strategic partner with expertise in automotive inventory ads, mobile responsive design, listings and review management, PPC text ads and more? That’s why we’re here.  


Contact us now to learn more about starting strong in 2020 – starting with a stronger online presence. 


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