Path-to-Purchase Analytics Drive Buyers From the Screen to the Showroom

Purchase intenders give off distinct and measurable buying signals prior to visiting a dealership

The internet has changed the way people shop for cars. But did you realize that most buyers visit only one dealership before making a purchase, despite researching multiple dealerships online before they decide to purchase?



Between mid-July and mid-August of this year, 63% of car buyers in the United States visited just one dealership to purchase a car, according to MaxPoint foot traffic analysis of consumer patterns, consumption of online content about automotive models and features, and purchase intent.

With competition for offline visitation so high, digital advertising strategies that can tie online ad efforts to customers’ offline spending behavior are more important than ever.

Consumers in the market for a car give off distinct and measurable buying signals prior to visiting a dealership. Analysis of mobile device usage shows where these purchase intenders go—including their retail and restaurant destinations—as well as which services they use.

Savvy dealers who are able to analyze and understand the consumer’s path to their dealership can share content along that path at the precise time when the consumer shows intent to purchase. Using data analytics, dealers can gather audience insights and serve mobile ads to potential auto buyers while they’re along their path-to-purchase journey, from home to the showroom and everywhere in between.

For example, analysis of neighborhood traffic, consumption of online automotive content, audience models, and sales data can all be used to pinpoint those customers most likely to buy a dealer’s particular brand and even a specific model. This provides even greater impact for well-timed digital advertising.

With this insight, marketers can dive down into specifics of their most likely audience and build digital marketing efforts that target strategic times and specific customers. This solution saves advertising dollars in the long run because dealers attract likely car buyers for specific models at the ideal time, and therefore avoid wasting advertising dollars on customers who are not likely to come to the showroom.

The bottom line: At a time when most U.S. car buyers visit only one dealership after researching new cars online, there’s no room for error when it comes to connecting the online marketing experience to the offline visit.

Dealers that leverage path-to-purchase data insights will reach auto intenders with personalized digital ad strategies that drive them from the screen to the showroom.

Kate Holmes is senior director of insights at MaxPoint, where she oversees the company’s consumer insights, media measurement, and consulting solutions. Kate has been at MaxPoint for more than six years, and has held roles in client services and international strategy. She and her team consult with CPG companies in the United States and Europe on digital and retail strategies.

Kate Holmes

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