The automotive market is getting more competitive and crowded, and everyone is trying hard to gain attention from the same customer online. That’s why it’s really important to make sure you are making the most of your digital presence – especially when people are already considering your brand.
We carried out the analysis to find out what the correlation was between people searching for a brand online in Google and the number of registrations in 2019 for each car brand. Although there are numerous factors to consider, this highlights the opportunity to think about the brand landscape in search results.
We typically consider going after generic keywords, thinking that a customer who searches for our brand is always going to convert and buy from us. Our analysis shows that car manufacturing brands can certainly do more in the way they handle customers already familiar with their brands.
Here are some of the findings from our research.
Volkswagen achieved the highest new car conversion rate of any brand in 2019 but experienced the biggest year on year decline in conversions, according to our analysis.
Our project tracks the correlation between Google new car searches and units registered to show how online interest from prospective buyers translated into actual purchasing decisions.
Volkswagen achieved a conversion rate of 4.3%, based on 4.65 million searches, compared with a conversion rate of 5.7% from 3.55 million searches in 2018.
MINI had the second highest conversion rate of 4.2%, followed by Vauxhall at 4%; although both saw their year on year conversion rates fall from 4.65% and 4.6% respectively.
Fourth placed Mercedes-Benz was among the few brands to improve its year on year conversion rates from 3.5% to 3.8%, based on 4.45 million searches. The premium marque significantly outperformed its German rivals, even though it had less than half the volume of Google searches, with BMW conversions tracking at 1.8% from 9.17 million searches while Audi mustered just 1.4% from 10.1 million searches.
With new car registrations falling in 2019, most carmakers experienced a year on year decline in their conversion rates. This proved to be a mixed blessing for Volkswagen, which maintained the highest conversion rate but saw it erode higher than anyone else.
OEMs looking to improve their conversion rates during the March plate change should be making better use of the real estate on Google search pages, especially for brand searches.
While there is always high interest in new models from buyers, branded search results can be a turn off and are often ignored. OEMs need to make their search results attractive with up to date information, removing any extra steps in the car buying journey and actively marketing to buyers exploring multiple brands. These measures will keep their brands in consideration throughout and increase the online search to sale conversions.
We analysed Google searches for new cars by manufacturer in 2018 and 2019 and correlated the results with the number of vehicles registered by each brand to produce a conversion rate.
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