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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : February 15, 2010

Car dealerships to rev up web spend over next few years

Consumers are carrying out much of their car purchase research online which is why many car dealers are putting more of their marketing budgets into digital activity, according to recent research. However, not all car dealers are maximizing their listings.

by Helen Leggatt

autobytel surveyed over 200 car dealerships to ascertain how they planned to spend their marketing dollars in the next few years. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority (96%) plan to up their Internet spending over the next five years.

Why aren't I surprised? Well, from 2004 to 2009, 93% of car dealers increased their online marketing budgets, with 80% claiming the Internet has been their best performing ROI channel during those five years.

More than half (56%) boosted their Internet budgets by 50% or more and a third (31%) by 100% or more.

Not bad, eh?

If you need more proof,'s survey revealed 70% intend to spend more online in the coming year, with just 21% intending to spend more on traditional media.

carsdotcom logo.jpgAnother study, this time from, analyzed the impact of car descriptions and imagery on consumer interest and response.

It is clear that, apart from a competitive price tag, a large selection of images and well written copy is paramount to enable prospective car buyers to make an informed decision online.

- A competitive price received 191% more vehicle details page views and 263% more contacts.

- Vehicles priced competitively receive 79% more vehicle details page views and 136% more contacts than vehicles priced 10% or higher than market average.

- 11 or more pictures received 175% more vehicle details page views and 127% more contacts than listings without pictures.

- Inventory- and dealership-level sell copy received 17% more contacts.

- The manufacturer's certified used logo received 18% more vehicle detail page views and 34% more contacts.

While online car dealerships are enjoying the benefits of selling online and embracing the Internet, they still need to up their game with merchandising.

Why? Because, according to, of the 230,000 new and used vehicles listed on their website between June 2008 and June 2009 that were analyzed for the study 7% had no price, 13% didn't have sell copy and, incredibly, 13% had no images.

"Online success begins with making the car the star and offering greater transparency for the consumer," said Michael Page, vice president of advertising products. "As shoppers evaluate their options, they're drawn to listings and dealerships that allow them to take a virtual test drive, validate the vehicle's condition and help them make an informed decision."

Tags: auto industry, automakers, car dealerships, marketing budgets, merchandising, onine marketing, online spend, survey

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  • No offense but I can't believe anyone is crazy enough to buy a new car right now in this economy. Considering that a healthy chunk of 2010 Cash 4 Clunkers cars have already been repossessed why not just go to local banks and credit unions and buy these repo cars back for half the retail price? If you're going to buy junk at least don't over pay.



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