The UK’s car market has witnessed strong growth in 2017, building on 2016’s 2% increase in new car sales and the 7.3% growth in used car sales. The unveiling of plans to ban the sale of both diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040 will unquestionably shake up the industry, so how can car manufacturers and brands secure the foundations for a strong digital presence in an ever-shifting landscape?

In the Driving Digital: The Digital Forecast white paper, we have outlined the key digital trends impacting the automotive industry now and in the future.

Ranking with RankBrain

RankBrain is Google’s machine-learning system. Rolled out in 2015, Google is using artificial intelligence to improve overall search quality through better understanding user queries.

Unlike other ranking factors, optimising your site for RankBrain is virtually impossible. However, there are some tactics that can improve your ranking potential.

RankBrain looks for relevancy and overall site performance, so regularly update your content to ensure it remains up-to-date. Monitor and review the content’s performance — high bounce rates could be a sign that users aren’t finding the answers they are looking for.

Don’t neglect mobile

Nearly half (46%) of potential car buyers use their smartphones during the purchasing process, with 71% of digital interactions taking place on the platform. If you are neglecting your brand’s mobile presence, you’re essentially limiting how visible your brand is.

To counter this, ensure your website is fully smartphone-friendly. Prioritise information to make sure the most essential details can easily be found, and test load times to maximise site performance.

Conquer content

Almost all (97%) car buyers research potential vehicles online before even visiting a dealership. With this research taking up to four months in 39% of cases, it’s important that your brand creates the type of content car buyers are looking for in the correct format.

Establish what potential buyers are searching for through keyword research and create in-depth content for each stage of the buying process. Experiment with alternative formats — YouTube influences 69% of car buyers, above TV, newspapers and magazines.

Remarketing reminders

When researching a car purchase, customers consider 14 brands initially, before whittling them down to six ahead of making a decision. With dynamic remarketing, tailored ads can be created to ‘follow’ a user around after they visit your site.

For maximum success from the ads, include images and increase your bids for past product-viewers, as they are more likely to convert. Refine this campaign over time through data analysis.

Managing reputations

Did you know that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation? It takes under 10 reviews for 90% of customers to form a negative opinion, so if your brand has poor online coverage, you could be limiting your success.

Online reputation management can help. Monitor the conversation around your brand online, and create social accounts to respond to any issues customers may have. Promote positive content about your brand to counter negative sentiment.

  

By Autumn Wiberg, copywriter at Mediaworks


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