Digital Air Strike Releases 2015 Social Media Trends Study for the Automotive Industry



Scottsdale, AZNovember 3, 2015 – Today, Digital Air Strike, the automotive social media and digital engagement company, released the findings of its fifth annual Automotive Social Media Trends Study. The Study highlights consumer behaviors on social networks, review sites, and mobile devices related to the car shopping, buying, and service experience, and signals consumer expectations of auto dealerships and their sales and service staff relative to dealership social presence, online reputation and mobile and digital engagement.

The study—produced by Digital Air Strike—includes findings from 2,000 car buyers and 2,000 service customers who either purchased or serviced a vehicle within the previous six months. The study—with data collected in the past 45 days—covers all major U.S. geographic regions and represents domestic and foreign automotive brands, with even distribution across age and gender groups.

Top trends revealed by the Study include:

  • 75% of car buyers and 68% of service customers say internet research, including social media and review sites, was the most helpful medium when selecting a car dealership—surpassing all other mediums including dealership websites which ranked highest with only 16% of car buyers (down from 19 percent in 2014 and 24 percent in 2013).
  • This is the third consecutive study where car buyers have ranked social networks as more important than dealership websites in their dealership selection process. Car buyers listed the most helpful mediums as follows:
  1. 50% ranked review sites as the most influential dealership selection tool (up from 45% over prior year)
  2. 18% ranked review sites and a dealership’s website as equally influential
  3. 16% ranked a dealership’s website as most influential (down from 19% over prior year)
  • 97% of service customers and 96 percent of car buyers feel a dealership needs to have at least a four-star rating or higher on review sites to have a “good rating”.
  • 83% of service customers surveyed say online review sites substantially helped them in their dealership selection process.
  • 75% of car buyers (up from 74% over the prior year) and 63% of service customers would travel up to 60 miles to do business at a dealership with good reviews—stressing the importance of a positive online reputation and how it can in essence expand a dealer’s primary market area.
  • Vehicle incentives and coupons on social media are a big draw, as 45% of car buyers and 30% of service customers said they would “check-in” at a car dealership on Facebook to take advantage of various promotions. Check-ins are valuable as they broadcast to a consumer’s social network as an implied endorsement.
  • Facebook ads continue to gain use and awareness; 66% of car buyers/shoppers or owners who have seen a Facebook ad say they have clicked on it, up from 33% in 2014.
  • Consumers looking to purchase or service a vehicle are doing their research primarily online, with 50% of recent car buyers and 69% of service customers saying they only visited one dealership before buying/servicing. The statistics affirm a continued trend that consumers now only virtually shop dealers online vs. in person. A prior 2014 study showed the average buyer visits 1.6 dealerships—down from five dealerships just 10 years ago. (McKinsey, 2014)
  • Cars.com and Edmunds.com were ranked by car buyers as the top/most helpful review sites, followed by Google+ and Yelp. Facebook rounded out the top five and CarGurus.com makes its inaugural appearance in the number six spot, beating Yahoo! Local (ranked seven) and DealerRater (ranked eight). Citysearch and MerchantCircle moved up in the rankings while YellowPages.com and Kudzu dropped.

“We are pleased to share the latest and most comprehensive study detailing consumer sentiment and emerging trends in social and reputation management for the automotive industry,” said Alexi Venneri, co-founder and CEO of Digital Air Strike. “This year’s Study reveals that consumers are more engaged than ever before in terms of using social media and review sites as the primary tools to select a dealership. Facebook continues to grow in importance as a go to ‘local marketing/advertising’ partner for dealerships. Finally, the Study provides an indicator of emerging social networks and review sites that are moving from challenger to top tier sites for car shopper/buyer/owner consideration.”

Digital Air Strike co-founder and CEO, Alexi Venneri, will present the entire Study to media and dealerships on November 4 via a webinar and at the J.D. Power and NADA AutoConference LA event on November 17 in Los Angeles, prior to the LA Auto Show.

To participate in the November 4 presentation of the 2015 Automotive Social Media Trends Study webinar, click here.

For more information about Digital Air Strike or the 2015 Automotive Social Media Trends Study, please visit DigitalAirStrike.com.

About Digital Air Strike

Digital Air Strike is the automotive social media and digital engagement company. We help our clients solve the problem of consumer engagement in digital and social environments, and help them realize measurable ROI on their digital and social marketing investments.

A pioneer in digital response, social marketing and online reputation management for auto dealers, Digital Air Strike has deployed its industry-specific mobile apps, software and managed service platform to monitor, improve and manage consumer engagement for six of the largest auto OEMs, dozens of the top dealer groups, and thousands of retail dealerships across the United States and Canada.

Digital Air Strike is ranked in the top third of all Inc. Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the country; won the 2015 Red Herring North America Top 100 Award, is one of the Top 10 Most Interesting and Innovative Automotive Companies, and was awarded the #1 Dealers’ Choice Award for Reputation Management. More information is available at www.digitalairstrike.com and www.facebook.com/digitalairstrike.

Media Contact

Christina Wofford, (480) 421-5901 – direct, (602) 363-0134 – cell, cwofford@digitalairstrike.com

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