The auto path to purchase can be a long and winding road. After all, major financial decisions take time. It’s important for auto marketers to understand the complexities of the shopping journey and the impact of every brand interaction along the way. PebblePost surveyed consumers to learn more about the auto buying process, from awareness through conversion. Now marketers can gain new insight into consumer trends and preferences to discover the best and most effective path to success.

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1. Lots to Consider Before They’re Ready to Commit

There are a lot of factors to consider when buying a new vehicle: Is the price within budget? What are the best financing options? Which car is the safest? Can you comfortably fit your whole family? This is a major life purchase. That’s why 76% of shoppers spend more than a month researching vehicles before buying. Cars are expensive, and since the price often exceeds discretionary income, consumers need time to weigh their options. These decisions are highly emotional, and consumers often seek validation from friends and family before committing. It’s extremely important for marketers to continue the conversation with shoppers and remain top of mind throughout the consideration process.


2. Online Research Fuels Awareness

Most consumers use digital resources to gather information and conduct research. And many continue to refer back to these sources multiple times throughout the buying journey. In fact, more than 20% of consumers visit dealership and manufacturer sites up to 10 times before purchasing!

What’s interesting is that auto shoppers might begin their research online, but they often convert offline. Perhaps marketers should then consider using a combination of both digital and physical channels to maximize performance. Programmatic Direct Mail® offers a unique solution because it combines the data-driven intelligence of digital with the response-driving power of direct mail. PebblePost uses real-time online intent data to deliver a relevant, physical reminder that consumers can save, share, consider, and act on.


3. Cruise to Conversions with Direct Mail

According to consumers, not all auto ads are created equal. Our survey shows that consumers consider TV, radio, and search engine ads to be most effective. These are great marketing tools for driving awareness. In addition, consumers consider traditional direct mail and social ads to be equally effective. These channels, on the other hand, are great for driving mid- and lower-funnel metrics like consideration and direct response. It's also interesting to note that consumers consider direct mail 22% more effective than email and 279% more effective than banner ads!

In comparison, Programmatic Direct Mail® can be even more powerful because it combines real-time online intent with the proven impact of direct mail. PebblePost’s digital-to-direct mail platform integrates advanced targeting, production, analytics and optimization to deliver meaningful mail for consumers, and better results for marketers.


4. For Auto, Personalization Comes Standard

When marketers deliver a relevant message, they make consumers feel valued and respected. Auto shoppers in particular want to receive ads that are useful and actionable. 49% enjoy receiving follow up offers for vehicles they recently researched, and 41% like when brands include the nearest dealership locations. Connecting with the consumer is key. While 15% of consumers say they always buy the same vehicle over and over, 85% are open to trying new brands and models. There’s lots of opportunity to acquire new customers, so marketers, make sure your message stands out!


5. Year End, Ready to Spend

The holidays are right around the corner, and it’s the season for spending! 52% of consumers say they enjoy receiving catalogs during the holidays. However, they expect to get a deal this time of year. 60% say they always wait for big sales events before buying a vehicle. It’s the perfect opportunity to align with your 2018 Year End Sales Event to drive more conversions and move more metal this holiday season.  


Want to learn more? Click here to download our auto eBook.

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