Research

Three tips to steer new car buyers’ path to purchase

Nearly half of U.S. car buyers are on Twitter. Here’s how to reach them.

Car buying looks a lot different these days. Today’s auto consumers have access to all the information they need online: they make lists, compare features, and read reviews. Often they’ve built brand relationships before even visiting a dealership.  

How? Through social media, of course. The majority of new vehicle buyers in the U.S. use social media at least monthly and 90% of those who used it in their decision process feel it influenced their decision.

And Twitter plays a large role. According to a Nielsen study commissioned by Twitter, one in four new vehicle purchasers in the U.S. used Twitter as an input to their vehicle purchase decision1 and a third of these buyers say the platform helped them make their final decision1. Clearly, Twitter is a vital resource for today’s informed car buyer. But what would it take to put one of these valuable Twitter buyers in a car today? Our research on the auto consumer path-to-purchase can help you steer buyers in the right direction.

One in four new vehicle purchasers in the U.S. used Twitter as an input to their vehicle purchase decision."

Twitter Vehicle Path-to-Purchase, commissioned Nielsen, 2016

1 Insight: Twitter is a major resource for vehicle buyers who are making a purchase decision.

Forty percent of car buyers on Twitter say the platform boosted their awareness of different vehicles1. Among high-income buyers, more than half say this1, and one-third used Twitter in their purchase decision1

Top tip: Make sure you come up in search.

Search is the number one way automotive buyers on Twitter2 use the platform, so make sure you’re following Twitter best practices like Tweeting regularly with engaging content, answering questions, and participating in discussions. Of those who searched on Twitter while car shopping, nearly three quarters (72%) were looking for information and content from brands, and nearly half were looking for content from other consumers or publications.1 So make sure they can find you.

These busy, digitally connected people move through the purchase journey faster (in just under five months) than those who aren’t on Twitter (over seven months)1. This means you have less time to make an impact when users are moving so fast.

2 Insight:  Your Twitter followers will likely be your future customers.

People on Twitter are 79% more likely to buy a vehicle in the next four years1 — and when they do, they spend 40% more on their vehicles.1  It’s also worth noting that among new vehicle buyers with high incomes, 68% follow the brand they ultimately chose to buy.1

Top tip: Get on the short list.

Our research shows that car buyers typically make a list of brands and vehicles and narrow it down, but won’t add new brands once they’ve started shopping.1

To ensure you make the shortlist, share video content that highlights demonstrates features, tours interiors, and explains how safe a vehicle is, as these are Twitter shoppers’ most requested video content.1

3 Insight:  Vehicle buyers on Twitter move quickly.

These busy, digitally connected people move through the purchase journey faster (in just under five months) than those who aren’t on Twitter (over seven months)1. This means you have less time to make an impact when users are moving so fast.

These busy, digitally connected people move through the purchase journey faster (in just under five months) than those who aren’t on Twitter (over seven months)."

Vehicle Path-to-Purchase, Nielsen, Commissioned by Twitter, 2016

Top tip: Build brand awareness at every step.

Considering that nearly half of car buyers will defect to a different brand from their current vehicle3, it’s critical to build awareness. One way to do that is with promoted video, which has been found to be more relevant and less intrusive than traditional pre-roll.4

Showcase positive reviews from other buyers and develop content that shows off interiors, safety and design features, both inside and out.1

Rebecca Rosengard () and DJ Capobianco () also contributed to this article.

Footnotes:
1 Twitter Vehicle Path-to-Purchase, commissioned Nielsen, 2016
2 Twitter Vertical Profile, Twitter & Millward Brown Digital, 2014
3 Initial Quality Study, J.D. Power, 2016
4 Beyond Completion Rates, IPG Media Lab, 2016