Google Think Auto 2016
On September 8th, Google hosted their 11th annual thinkauto at the historic Massey Hall, downtown Toronto.
Over 800 car dealers and auto marketers attended the event which featured an expanded guest list, live music, condensed agenda and an expansive, innovative research methodology for data collection.
Sam Sebastian, Managing Director of Google Canada kicked off the event by throwing his slides aside and sharing a personal story about moving his family, specifically his anxious daughter to Canada where she would be starting high school.
The moral of the story and ultimately, the day at thinkauto: change, and the importance of embracing it.
Embracing Change Along the Car Buyer’s Journey
Dave Resnick, Head of Automotive at Google Canada, began thinkauto by taking a deep-dive into the Car Buyer’s Journey. Dave presented the 5 principles of the car buyer’s journey and how these principles are changing.
Key takeaways from Dave’s presentation:
– 1 in 3 Canadians are at some stage of the Car Buyer’s Journey
– 1 in 4 car buyers stay brand loyal from the Thinking stage right through the Buying stage
– Search, OEM site, Dealer site and Review sites are the top 4 Internet touchpoints for consumers
– 1 in 3 shoppers move between devices during their journey
– Car buyers who research using both digital and traditional resources spend more than those who only use traditional
– Shoppers will visit 3 dealers on average
– Consumers are willing to travel 55km to buy
– 3 in 5 car buyers took a dealer related action as a result of their Google search in the Buying phase
Valuable Video Content Brings The Car Home
Ashley Hahn, Brand Strategist at Google Canada, stressed the importance of bringing the car experience into the home of car buyers through video.
She shared great video examples of different ways some OEM’s and dealers are bringing the car home for the shopper. Your customer can’t make time for a test drive? Let them test drive your car from their couch with a 360 degree video like the one below.
Key takeaways from Ashley’s presentation:
– 1 in 5 consumers, who begain their Car Buyer’s Journey because of ads, were prompted by YouTube
– An Ontario dealer invested in video and measured a strong relationship between VDP views driven by video and vehicle sales
– 42% of YouTube viewers in the Thinking phase leaned on YouTube to watch informative video content
– For many OEM’s, the majority of videos watched when search on YouTube are review videos
– Video is a growing platform for consumers to conduct research throughout all stages of their journey
– If the OEM isn’t providing video content, the dealership needs to follow through
The Longest 23 Seconds Of My Life
Fareed Siddiqui, Automotive Account Manager at Google was the pessimist of the day. His presentation focused on mobile, and how the industry is performing when it comes to providing their customers with a seamless mobile user-experience.
Plainly, Fareed was disappointed in the Canadian automotive industry as a whole. He highlighted painfully slow mobile website pagespeed by pausing in silence for a ridiculously awkward 23 seconds. This time frame represented the slowest load time for an OEM mobile site.
We’re pretty sure it’s a luxury brand, but we’re not saying who.
He continued to present industry shortcomings on mobile using a live birds-eye-view shot of his smartphone to showcase mobile sites in other industries (banking and fashion) who give their users flawless mobile experiences.
The ideal Build & Price mobile experience required few clicks and offered a live product preview quickly on mobile: Choose Your Style – Laudi Vidni
Payment Calculators were another pain point on mobile sites in the industry. Fareed again stressed the importance of limiting clicks and keeping the experience on a single page: Mortgage Calculator – BMO
Key takeaways from Fareed’s presentation:
– 40% of users will leave your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load
– Conversion increased by 27% for every 1 second of load time improvement
– Mobile users have high expectations for a seamless user experience
– Canadian auto industry is badly lagging behind other industries in Canada when it comes to mobile-friendliness
Challenges & Opportunities: A Digitally Engaged Consumer
Andrew Assad, Strategy & Insights Manager at Google Canada, followed Fareed’s eye-opening presentation sensibly by examining the challenges and opportunities all dealerships have because of changing technology and its effect on consumer expectations.
Andrew’s presentation focused on encouraging dealers to buy-in and lean-in to digital with the goal of aligning investment with consumer reality. Furthermore, he preached the importance of dealerships treating their internet presence with the same love as their physical dealership.
To evolve alongside technology Andrew shared ways to improve the customer experience throughout the entire journey with simple changes like timelier and more relevant email response from the dealership.
Key takeaways from Andrew’s presentation:
– Car dealers traditional ad spend does not align with the digital sources car buyers are using
– 50% of consumers in the buying phase emailed a dealership, but…
– 56% of those contacting a dealership were satisfied with the timeliness of response, 51% were satisfied with the quality of response
– Dealers underestimate how much of the car buying process consumers would prefer to do outside of the dealership
– Buy-in to digital now, optimize for today and prepare for today
Technological Disruption: The Automotive Industry
Deepak Anand, Head of Auto Industry, Google Canada closed out thinkauto 2016 with a powerful final presentation targeting technological disruption and how it continues to impact the automotive industry.
Deepak discussed the big names that are always thrown around when the word “disruption” is mentioned: Uber, AirBnB, Netflix and more. His message: don’t be the cab companies, hotels, and Blockbuster’s of the auto industry, be the Uber’s, AirBnB’s and Netflix’s.
Leverage technology to improve your business or somebody else will.
Deepak also previewed some exciting technology with the potential to put a tonne of research power into the hands of anyone with a smartphone. As the person in the video walked through the dealership lot and pointed their phone at vehicles, object detection software would detect the vehicle, make, model, year and more in real time.
Key takeaways from Deepak’s presentation:
– Be a digital trendsetter, not a follower
– Technology could take your job, use it to your advantage as much as possible
– Don’t be paranoid of new technology, be optimistic
– Prepare your dealership for the ever-changing expectations of tomorrow’s car buyer
[collapse id=”collapse_88″ class=””]
[citem title=”Sources” id=”citem_67″ parent=”collapse_88″]
Source: Google Canada & Ipsos – Canadian Car Buyer Journey 2016. Ipsos I-Say and partnering panels. Online, device agnostic survey. June 23 – July 11, 2016. Representative sample of n=5,000 Canadians 18+ currently in the process of buying a car n=1,500 Thinking phase; n=1,500 Researching phase; n=2,000 Buying phase. Sample balanced to reflect demographic profile of Canadians in the market for a vehicle.
Source: Google Canada & Ipsos – Dealership Outlook & Marketing Perspective Study 2016. Online, device agnostic survey. July 14 – Aug 19, 2016. Sample of n=138 Dealer Marketing Decision Makers.
Need A Digital Partner?
Want to learn more? Need a partner to help your dealership buy-in to digital? Drop us a line.