Google Promotes Ads For Fast-Paced Auto Industry

    September 24, 2007

If you’re trying to reach someone, you might write a letter or send an email.  But if you’re trying to reach someone quickly, you’ll type out an instant message or pick up the phone.  Now Google’s trying to convince marketers in the auto industry to adapt in a similar fashion.

Consumers traditionally took about six months to shop around before buying a new car.  But “Google’s automotive practice . . . led by former Chrysler advertising executive Bonita Coleman Stewart, says their research shows that the sales funnel isn’t six months at all, but more like one month,” according to BusinessWeek’s David Kiley.

“Thirty-percent of car buyers start the search for a new car less than a week before they make a purchase,” Kiley continues.  “Seventeen percent start just two weeks ahead.  Nineteen percent start a month in advance.  That’s almost 70% of the car-buyers starting the process no sooner than a month in advance.”

So marketers need to step up their efforts.  And, as you might expect, Google wants them to do that through online advertising.

The recommendation makes sense, since most car shoppers will do the majority of their research online.  Banner blindness and other issues may pose problems, but consumers can just as easily skip or channel surf over television commercials.  Even an especially clever ad will just send people back to the Web to look up various details. 

I did several years of research before buying my first car, but then, I started the process several years before I could drive.  Search and online advertising will play increasingly important roles as people face (or impose) shorter shopping deadlines.