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From the moment we wake up and check the latest news through our favorite mobile app, until we go back home to relax and maybe to do our online Christmas shopping or order a pizza for dinner, we are always connected.
We keep on receiving information from an increasing number of sources, and sharing as much. Most of the time we do not even notice it. Generally speaking, isn’t it what digitalization is all about? Providing a continuous, relevant and quick access to all kind of information through all kind of sources?
This article focuses on the impacts on the car industry, but doesn’t aim at reviewing how consumption trends have been altered (for that, read our previous article on Digital car trend). Instead, based on these learning and a review conducted by Google, it will identify the key opportunistic moments for an automotive brand to address a potential customer.


What are these moments?


Google identified 5 different moments ranging from feeling a need to accepting a deal.

5 Google moments

To make it more digest, we identified key categories to differentiate these moments:

  • Audience’s needs & interests
  • Relevant content for that audience
  • Audience’s online behavior & media consumption

1. Which-car-is-best moments

  • Audience’s needs & interests

At such stage, the audience has already acknowledged the need of a car purchase (old or new), and is willing to set up an accurate shopping list

  • Relevant content for that audience

General and broad advices from experts or trusted peers.

  • Audience’s online behavior & media consumption

Very large through specialized sources such as forums, blogs or review site will do the job. At that stage, videos have an important role, as 69% of people who used Youtube to buy a car were influenced by it; which is much more than for TV or print.
Mobile contribution grows fast as Youtube car-related video viewing time has more than doubled versus last year on such device.

2. Is-it-right-for-me moments

  • Audience’s needs & interests

It is now time for these car lookers to get practical and check if the selected models will be fit to their lifestyle.

  • Relevant content for that audience

Practical information sur as hauling capacity or equipment option & accessories as well as technology are key for this audience to balance its choices.
Carbuilder are tools much welcome at that stage, as well as any other visual content.

  • Audience’s online behavior & media consumption

At that stage, shoppers will visit manufacturers’ website and watch videos on test drive experience, features and 360 interior & exterior view.
Pictures are also very important on mobile as 80% of researches for “pictures of [automotive brands]” happens on such device.

3. Can-I-afford-it moments

  • Audience’s needs & interests

Car lookers have now narrowed their choice and ranked preferences based on practical criteria to become car considerers. The final question before the actual purchase decision is of course budget-related.

  • Relevant content for that audience

Searches related to price and Manufacturers’ Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) are high at this stage, and have grown by 25% this year.
But car considerers also get sentimental and won’t give up on their current ownership without making sure they get the best trade-in value

  • Audience’s online behaviours & media consumption

This moment is driven by mobile searches, with 70% of price and MSRP search being conducted on mobile over last year.

4. Where-should-I-buy-it moments

  • Audience’s needs & interests

After addressing practical and financial questions by online & mobile research, it is time for car intenders to act and find a local dealer that will be able to deliver.

  • Relevant content for that audience
    At that stage, it is important for the audience to find all information related to dealership:

    • Which dealership provides best-in class services?
    • Where to locate them?
    • When do they open?
    • What do they have in stock?
    • How do I contact them?
  • Audience’s online behaviours & media consumption

More than 84% of dealer-related searches happen on mobile, where information such as dealer phone number are key. Dealer locator engine, dealer websites & apps but also reviews are the most used platforms to choose which dealer to turn to.

5. Am-I-getting-a-deal moments

  • Which audience’s needs & interests

Finally. Now that a specific model and specific dealer have been selected, it is time for things to get real and to proceed to the actual dealer visit. At that moment, car intenders need to make sure they are playing a fair game, and that they are getting the best deal they could dream of.

  • Relevant content for that audience

Buying a car requires a strong engagement from the cars intenders, which is why they often need last minute advice and support. Peers & professional reviews are mostly being consulted when at the dealership, as well as the competition, to confirm there are no better deals around.

  • Audience’s online behaviours & media consumption

Half of car shoppers now use their mobile devices at the dealership, as a way to access this information on-the-go, and to be better prepared for negotiation.

Which guideline to seize them?


New technology and what it enables are impacting the purchase process at any of these moments. Mobile phones, videos, consumer content are key to make decisions and move from one step to the other.
As marketers we need to seize these new trends as an opportunity to reach any audience, from car lookers to car shoppers, and to connect with them in a significant way.
In the same review, Google identified 3 requirements for brands to ensure they won’t miss any of these moments.

  • Be there: It means that your content must be easily found by the audience anytime. Be mobile-centered to ensure they can connect with you whenever they need it.
  • Be useful: Being present is one thing, but being relevant is as crucial. You need to understand their need for content, and push it at the right time. As a dealer, trade-in value, inventory and basic access information are key to ensure the audience satisfaction. As a manufacturer, visual content, comparators and configurators need to be enhanced, on all devices.
  • Be quick: One of current marketers’ biggest challenges is reactivity. With the digitalization of the purchase process, competition has skyrocketed, and it is easy to understand that if your brand doesn’t push the right content when the user needs it most, other will do.

Fulfilling these guidelines is a basic requirement to stay in the game, but a digital world changes fast, and new expertise have emerged to ensure you have everything under control.
Between them, DMP, or data management platform and online contextualization are fundamental to get to know your audience, its content & media consumption, and to give them the most personalized and relevant message.
But this is another story that will soon follow, and you can start reading more about segmentation.



  • Google – Think with Google: The 5 Auto Shopping Moments Every Brand Must Own – November 2015.
  • Cap Gemini – Cars Online 2015
  • Accenture Automotive Survey: What Digital Drivers Want 2015
  • Google/TNS Global Auto Shopper Study 2015

Avatar de Claire Paquereau
Claire Paquereau

Diplômée d’un Master en Management International à L’IAE de Lyon, Claire est consultante en Marketing Digital au sein d’Equancy depuis près de deux ans. Après des stages dans le monde de l’annonceur chez Accor España, et des agences au sein de TBWA\ Corporate, Claire a finalisé ses études à L’Australian School of Business, Sydney. C’est par envie d’enrichir ses connaissances marketing, surtout digital qu’elle postule au cabinet de conseil Equancy. Elle accompagne aujourd’hui Nissan Europe dans ses problématiques de mesure de performance, d’optimisation de user journey et de lancement de véhicules compactes.

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