SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A survey of 2,000 consumers who purchased a vehicle in the last six months revealed that 91% of them used social media and review sites in their dealer-selection process. Conducted by Digital Air Strike, the study also showed that 75% of respondent found the Internet to be the best source for research, surpassing all other traditional advertising and marketing mediums.
Star ratings also played a critical role in dealership selection, with survey results showing that 83 percent of car buyers rely on such ratings — even if they did not read the actual reviews (up from 76% in 2013). Additionally, 45% of respondents considered review sites as the most helpful medium, raking them “the most helpful or as helpful as” dealer-owned websites, which only 19% of those surveyed said were most helpful.
Mobile technologies are also playing a bigger role, with 56% of car buyers surveyed indicating that they used a mobile device to search and/or read reviews about a dealership.
Additionally, the study found that 74% of respondent would drive 20-60 miles to visit a dealership with good reviews, up from 63% one year ago.
As for the leading review sites, Cars.com and Edmunds.com led the way, while Facebook jumped into the list of Top 5 dealer review sites. Another influential site is MerchantCircle, which landed in the Top 10 review site list for the first time.
As for mobile apps, Cars.com ranked just below Google as the top mobile app used by car buyers to read reviews.
The study also offered additional insights on new social media tools like Facebook’s “click to purchase” feature, which 48% of respondents said they’d use for automotive purchases and to access discounts. Additionally, 33% of buyers said they have clicked on a Facebook ad on a mobile device, while 75% said they are more likely to trust a review posted by a friend on Facebook vs. a review posted on another site from an unknown consumer.
To learn more about the study’s finding, visit digitalairstrike.com/webinars/.