Google Think Auto Summit 2022: Recap & Key Takeaways

October 5th 2022 by Director of Account Management

Click Here Digital is proud to have been a part of Google’s Think Auto 2022 summit. Two of our senior account managers, Robert Auzenne and Zack Hill, went to the summit in New York City to see how automotive marketing is changing and Google’s plans for the future.

Disrupt or Be Disrupted

The automotive space is currently experiencing unprecedented levels of disruption: online car buying is on the rise, consumers are demanding more electric vehicles, and at the same time they’re expecting more in terms of their privacy. Over the past year, EV queries have increased 108% and searches for “buy a car online” increased by 41%, and we expect those trends to continue.

In light of these changes in the industry, the headline of Google’s summit was “Disrupt or Be Disrupted.” If auto dealers and marketers don’t radically change their automotive marketing strategy to adapt, they’ll simply be left behind. We believe the following three strategies are the keys to disrupting your market and meeting the future:

  1. Center your customers in every transaction. Currently, car consumers carry a 50%brand loyalty rate, the lowest since 2014. Plus, 31% of new car buyers have said the dealership process takes too long. By focusing on consumer pain points, dealers can gain loyalty and capture sales.
  2. First party data leads to deeper insight. With the sunsetting of more traditional third-party data collection, dealers need to rely on their own data collection to glean insights into their customer base.
  3. Plan and budget to meet customers, regardless of channel. Modern car shopping is a multi-modal, non-linear experience, with shoppers bouncing between dealers’ and manufacturers’ websites, review blogs, online sellers, and more, dealers need to plan for that modality and budget accordingly.
Three Disruption Strategies

The Path to Purchase Is Evolving

Path To Purchase

The path that automotive shoppers take to buy a car has evolved since the Model-T, but the pandemic supercharged a number of trends that were already shifting the market:

  • Customers expect the online experience to be personalized and frictionless: the phrase “right car for me,” for example, has grown 80% year-over-year, and that's not goint to change any time soon
  • Consumers expect more customization and convenience than ever before: many are requesting digital experiences, like VR test drives and Digital 360s, to experience and customize vehicles from the comfort of their homes.
  • There are many more touchpoints with a customer between initial lead and sale, and often, customers move in a nonlinear path toward a purchase decision.
To capture the modern consumer, it’s important to bid strategically on the conversions that are most likely to lead to a sale. Value Based Bidding gives dealers the ability to drive more of the most valuable conversions at a lower cost per action (CPA).

First Party Data Is the Future

Consumers are more concerned about their digital privacy than ever before. As a response, Google and other search providers are phasing out third-party data from tracking cookies and other technology in favor of first-party data, or data that dealers and other marketers collect themselves, which has also lead Google to implement GA4.

Rising user expectations for advertising privacy are driving new regulations as well. Google is making privacy-forward investments in first-party data solutions, which enables dealers to better understand customer needs and deliver a better experience.

The best part about first-party data is that you’re likely already collecting it, just not connecting it all together for a full picture. A study by BCG found that companies that link their first-party data sources together can generate double the incremental revenue from a single ad placement, communication, or outreach, all at 75% of the cost of other solutions.

Car Dealer Growth Strategies:

Performance Max

Google has recently released Vehicle Ads and Performance Max campaigns for auto dealers. These exclusive Google Ads can help dealerships find the right person, at the right time, with the right message, on the right platform to close the deal. Both Vehicle Ads and Performance Max campaigns complement existing campaigns for a holistic, full-funnel marketing approach.

Vehicle Ads

Advertisers complementing their existing Search strategy with Vehicle Ads see, on average, a 25% increase on conversions, and those using Performance Max see an average 13% increase in total incremental conversions, all at a similar cost.

The Future is Video, and the Future is Now

The fact of the matter is, YouTube is the largest video platform on the planet. What’s more, YouTube is the only platform to reach over 90% of hard-to-reach audiences with automotive purchase intent. YouTube is also the #1 ad-supported venue of video content online, in a multitude of formats.

What this means for dealers is that advertising on YouTube and other video platforms is vital for continued growth. YouTube alone has over 80% more watch time that the most-watched cable channel, and that trend will only continue.

How Can I Bring My Dealership into the Future?

If you own or manage a dealership, you’ve probably had a decent couple of years. Even with the market insanity of the chip shortage, supply-chain woes, and the rest, most auto dealerships have made money month-over-month and year-over-year since 2020. However, that trend has to end at some point. You need to be ready to pivot to the newer, more-digital world that’s on the doorstep.

Click Here Digital is an online marketing company that’s been in the business since 1993—before the Internet as we know it existed. We’ve seen it all, and we’ve constantly been on the wave of innovation since our founding. With our exclusive deals with ad providers on multiple platforms, we can get your message in front of the customer that needs to see it.

Give us a call or schedule a demo to see what we can do for you.

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