31 Statistics Automotive Marketers Need to Know in 2021

min read
31 Statistics Automotive Marketers Need to Know in 2021

The majority of vehicle shoppers start their journey by hopping on Google and firing off a few searches. When they’ve completed their initial research and are ready to get serious, they often call a dealership. Since a car is an expensive and highly considered purchase, buyers prefer ask questions and get reassurance from a human agent. 

As ad spend continues to rise in 2021, leading automotive marketers are taking a data-driven approach to their inbound calls. With insights from a conversation intelligence solution, they can ensure they’re making the most of every conversion opportunity. 

Check out the stats below to learn more about how cutting-edge marketers are approaching their 2021 strategies.

After a Drop in 2020, Automotive Marketers Will Invest More in Digital Ads in 2021

1. The US dropped to $10.94 billion in automotive digital ad spend in 2020. This was an 18.2% decrease in US automotive digital ad spend from 2020. (Source: eMarketer)

2. The US will reach $13.29 billion in automotive digital ad spend in 2021. This is a 21.4% increase in spend from 2020 and a sign of things to come. (source: eMarketer)

3. In 2021, automotive will account for 8.1% of all US digital ad spend. The automotive industry represents a significant portion of overall marketing spend in the US. (source: eMarketer)

4. Only 1 in 3 potential car buyers know the exact vehicle they want to purchase. Marketers can influence these undecided buyers by targeting them with the right digital ads at the right time. (Source: Cox)

5. The average cost for an automotive lead is $205. This figure is on an upswing, as auto industry ad spend continues to rise. (source: Lion Tree Group)

The Automotive Consumer Journey Often Begins Online

6. 95% of vehicle buyers use digital as a source of information. Since auto purchases are highly considered, the vast majority of vehicle shoppers use online resources to find answers to their questions. (source: Google)

7. 2x as many automotive consumers start their research online versus at a dealer. Today’s automotive consumers are informed and knowledgeable since they self-educate online before they ever make contact with a dealer. (source: Google)

8. 76% of new and used vehicle shoppers run a search before buying. Automotive consumers overwhelmingly turn to search engines to find dealerships and get answers to their questions. (source: LSA)

9. Automotive consumers visit an average of 4.2 websites in their purchasing process. Oftentimes, they will use multiple devices throughout this process. (Source: Cox)

10. The average automotive shopper spends 33% of their research time on a mobile device. This uptick in mobile usage during the research process drives millions of calls to US dealerships through digital ads and click-to-call buttons. (Source: J.D. Power

11. The watch time of “test drive” videos on YouTube has grown by more than 65% in the past 2 years. Car buyers are moving deeper into the purchasing process before they contact a dealership. (Source: Google)

12. Car buyers spend an average of nearly 14 hours online during their search. To appeal to the “always connected” shopper, you must optimize the car-shopping experience across all devices. (Source: Cox)

Many Vehicle Shoppers Researching Online Make First Contact by Calling

13. 61% of new and used vehicle shoppers contact the dealership by calling after a search. Due to the complexities of automotive purchases, consumers typically prefer to speak to a live agent to get their questions answered once they’ve completed their online research. (source: LSA)

14. 66% of the automotive calls generated by search engines come from paid search. The other 34% are driven by organic search. (source: DialogTech)

15. 60% of consumers searching for vehicles on mobile would call the dealership from a call extension. Call extensions offer a seamless link from the online to the call channel, and they’re proven to increase both ad performance and click-through rate. (source: Google)

16. 57% of consumers call about vehicles from a search ad call extension to schedule an appointment. Similar percentages of consumers call about inventory, pricing, and/or business hours. (source: Google)

17. 31.6% of total calls to dealerships resulted in an appointment. Consumers who call from paid search call extensions have a higher intent to set up an appointment than general callers who didn’t use an extension. (source: DialogTech)

Inbound Phone Calls Are A Valuable Conversion for Automotive Marketers

18. Calls will influence over $1 trillion in US consumer spending this year. In our mobile-first world, calls are often the most convenient way for customers to convert. (Source: BIA/Kelsey)

19. Phone calls convert to 10-15x more revenue than web leads. Calls are one of the most valuable conversions automotive marketers can drive. By tracking the calls driven by your automotive ads, you can measure your full ROI and optimize accordingly. (Source: BIA/Kelsey)

20. Callers convert 30% faster than web leads. Calls provide a more immediate return on your marketing investment. (Source: Forrester)

21. Caller retention rate is 28% higher than web lead retention rate. Driving calls from automotive marketing campaigns is also more profitable in the long-term — callers are more loyal than web leads. (Source: Forrester)

22. 84% of marketers report phone calls having higher conversion rates with larger order value (AOV) compared to other forms of engagement. Phone calls are often the most valuable conversions for automotive marketers. (source: Forrester)

23. 41% of organizations report having increased phone conversion rates by 25% or more in the past 12 months. Not only are consumers calling more due to COVID-19 — they’re also calling with higher intent to make a purchase. Both the volume and value of calls are increasing for many businesses due to COVID-19. (Source: Forrester)

24. 85% of marketers believe inbound calls and phone conversations are a key component of their organization’s digital-first strategy. Automotive marketers plan to tap into phone call data to better understand their customers and inform their strategies. (Source: Forrester)

Conversation Intelligence Data from Phone Calls Helps Automotive Marketers Deliver Better Personalization and Drive Revenue

25. 48% of marketers have provided or expect to provide enhanced customer experiences as a result of scaling conversation intelligence across the enterprise. With conversation intelligence data, automotive marketers can enhance ad targeting, segment email campaigns, serve personalized website experiences, and more, based on the content of phone conversations. (Source: Forrester)

26. 43% of marketers have improved or expect to improve customer acquisition and retention as a result of scaling conversation intelligence across the enterprise. When you tailor consumer experiences based on the content of their phone conversations, you better meet their needs and earn their loyalty. (Source: Forrester)

27. Marketers who have scaled conversation intelligence across the enterprise have seen or expect to see improved analytics efficiency, increased business efficiency, improved employee productivity, and seamless integration with existing systems. Conversation intelligence allows automotive providers to get smarter insights into their consumers and make more informed decisions to drive efficiency. (Source: Forrester)

Personalizing the Caller Experience Can Boost Automotive Conversions

28. 54% of car buyers would pay more for a better buying experience. Auto shoppers are dissatisfied with the buying experience. You can gain a competitive advantage by providing a painless end-to-end experience — online, over the phone, and at the dealership. (Source: Limelight)

29. Up to 72% of dealership agents don’t ask the caller for an appointment. By leveraging call analytics, sales managers can detect issues like these and provide coaching — in this case, pushing agents to ask for appointments. (source: Dealix)

30. 35% did not suggest an alternative if the caller’s vehicle of choice was already sold. This is another systematic issue that a conversation intelligence platform can identify. (source: Dealer Marketing Magazine)

31. Up to 25% of mishandled calls can be converted to sales by calling the lead back. With call analytics, sales managers can set up email alerts for mishandled calls so they can quickly call back to correct the issue. (source: Dealer Marketing Magazine)

So What Can Automotive Marketers Do to Drive More Call Conversions?

  • Make it easy for consumers to call you. This includes using call extensions on Google ads and making “call now” an action on web pages.
  • Track callers from marketing source to appointment or sale. This will help you understand how your digital marketing is generating calls.
  • Personalize the caller experience with intent-based routing. To convert callers, it’s important to provide a seamless, personalized experience that makes them feel valued and known.
  • Use conversation intelligence to measure what percentage of calls aren’t being answered at each contact center location, if long on-hold times result in high call abandon rates, if the caller was a good lead, if they converted, and which agents or dealerships are best (and worst) at converting callers to consumers. You can then make the appropriate adjustments to your marketing and coach your agents as necessary.
  • Integrate conversation intelligence data with your martech tools. In turn, you’ll gain a holistic view of the consumer journey and allocate your budget more effectively.
  • Target past callers and lookalikes with the right ads. Your callers provide a wealth of targeting data you can use to more effectively acquire new customers and retarget qualified callers based on whether or not they booked an appointment or converted.
  • Optimize, analyze, repeat. Once you start generating more calls, it’s important to continually test and scale your processes, while correcting issues in the contact center that hurt your ROI.

To learn tips to convert more callers to customers, download our Ultimate Guide to Conversation Intelligence.


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