Online dealership reviews on social media networks are now playing the most important role in the dealership selection process, according to the Spring 2013 Automotive Social Media and Reputation Trend Study released by Digital Air Strike™, the nation’s leading automotive social media, online reputation and digital response company. The bi-annual study included an in-depth analysis of how 650 U.S. dealers use social media and an online survey of 2,000 consumers who purchased a vehicle in the last 6 months.
The majority of car buyers said they consider review sites as “helpful” in their decision as to where to purchase a vehicle. The study found that 24% of consumers consider online review sites to be the “most helpful” factor, exceeding all other factors including the 15% of car buyers who consider dealership websites “most helpful”.
The study also showed that review sites are becoming increasingly important in organic search. 81% of car buyers who use review sites said they look at review scores in search results. The dealer component of the study revealed that, on average, five review sites show up in search results. Car buyers use the top five sites 13% more than just 6 months ago. The most popular review sites are Cars.com (61%, previously 55%), Edmunds.com (54%, previously 50%),), Google+ Local (37%, previously 44%), Yelp (14%, no change), and Yahoo (11%, no change) – the same rank order as the October 2012 study.
The study went on to reveal that there is a 43% probability that a consumer will search for a local dealer on Facebook using Facebook’s new Graph Search. The study revealed 67% of car buyers search for local business using mobile devices with 41% having “checked-in” to a local business using their mobile device.
Additional Facebook findings include:
- There is a 59% probability that a consumer will trust a review from a Facebook friend more than reviews on other sites.
- 27% of car buyers click on mobile ads on Facebook.
- There is a 45% probability that a consumer will view the dedicated feed for brands in the forthcoming Facebook News Feed.
- Clicks on automotive dealership Facebook ads more than doubled from October 2012 to April 2013 – from 16% up to 39%
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