Innovation-led car search network, Motors.co.uk, has revealed its top tips for dealers looking to make the most of their online presence. Providing a behind-the-scenes view on how to capitalise on car search networks, as well as hints on converting online visits to real world purchasing, this handy guide, based on consumer research conducted in the UK and US, focuses on four key areas:
- the aggregation of marginal gains
- understanding what matters in an era of attention deficit
- the importance of images and descriptions
- the opportunities presented by new conversion rate optimisation (CRO) technologies
Motors.co.uk’s director of marketing and business intelligence, Dermot Kelleher, comments: “The way in which consumers interact with brands has changed dramatically over the past five years and it is vital that businesses alter their mind-set to respond. Our quick guide shows how dealers can maximise their return on investment from websites like Motors.co.uk and also increase engagement and repeat visits on their own site by gaining a better understanding of the customer journey.”
1. Aggregation of marginal gains
Kelleher explains the Motors.co.uk approach: “We are firm believers in ‘the aggregation of marginal gains’. By this we mean that rather than looking for one mythical solution to the challenge of producing sales, it is better to focus on doing lots of little things well. This is a familiar theme in the world of elite sport, with former England rugby manager Clive Woodward quoted as saying that the 2003 Rugby World Cup win wasn’t founded on doing one thing 100% better, but doing 100 things 1% better.
“At Motors.co.uk, this means that we are constantly reviewing, testing and enhancing the way in which we display vehicle listings, the creative we use in our TV advertising and the partners we invite into our network in order to ensure that dealers get the best possible access to interested, in-market car buyers. It’s also important that consumers looking for their next car are able to access information in the right way.”
2. Understanding what matters in an era of attention deficit
The Motors.co.uk guide highlights that when it comes to maximising return on investment in online advertising, there are three key areas of focus for dealers: standing out from the crowd, ensuring all online real estate is mobile-friendly and understanding that consumers are looking for responsiveness from every interaction with a dealer.
Kelleher continues: “The online car buying environment is a very competitive space and, based on our research visitors to the 14 largest car search portals in the UK – including Motors.co.uk – viewed 715 million pages in March 2015. That’s the equivalent of 600,000 copies of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, with ‘just’ 459 million minutes spent looking at those pages, this equates to only 39 seconds per page. The lesson? Car buyers are looking at lots of pages but making rapid decisions, so there is a real requirement to stand out.”
Motors.co.uk also emphasises the importance of responsive web platforms in its research. Kelleher explains: “In early April, Google made a change to rankings on mobile devices, rewarding mobile-friendly sites and pushing the rest back in the search results. In addition, all of the research shows that consumers are less willing to pinch and zoom, with higher bounce rates on sites which have not been made mobile-friendly. This trend is only set to grow, with visits to the Motors.co.uk site on mobile and tablet devices increasing from 54% in May 2014 to 60% in May 2015.”
3. The importance of images and descriptions
As well as looking at the type of device used to access the Motors.co.uk site, the brand also analysed over half a million listings placed on the site in April 2015 in order to determine the ‘magic number’ for photos.
The data showed that, for cars priced between £5,000 and £10,000, the optimum number of images is five – generating a 180% improvement in click through rate over no images. For cars priced £15,000 to £20,000, the magic number is 10, which generated a 215% improvement in click through rates.
A review of the quality of the descriptions also showed that dealers who invested time in speaking directly to the consumer, including features and benefits in the headlines and providing unique text for each of their ads also reaped rewards in terms of click through rates.
4. The opportunities presented by new CRO technologies
Motors.co.uk has also highlighted a number of new technologies which it is investigating for the future. Underlining the growth in conversion rate optimisation, the infographic emphasises that the direction of travel for consumer marketing is firmly focused on the personalisation story. Kelleher explains: “Whereas the requirement used to be to make a website accessible for the majority of people, now it is about providing the best possible experience for each person.
“There are plenty of tools to track the customer journey and send messages if they are leaving the site. There are also significant opportunities to use the real estate in different ways to send messages to site users. We also believe that the car industry can learn from the hotel and restaurant industry by providing the facilities for car buyers to make online bookings through dealership test drive calendars and similar.”
Reflecting on the research, Kelleher concludes: “Of course, despite how much you invest in clever technologies, the success of a transaction ultimately rests in the responsiveness of the dealer to any enquiry. In a recent survey of Motors.co.uk site visitors, 36% said they would expect a reply from an email to a dealer within 24 hours. A further third (33%) would expect a reply within four hours and a staggering 27% would want a response within 60 minutes. Speed is certainly key to success.”