Mobile Marketer has re-launched! Click here to learn more!

Mobile use varies between auto shoppers and service buyers: report

While the automotive category has a 51 percent conversion rate in mobile, new research suggests that mobile use varies greatly within the category based on user needs and intent.

The xAd/Telmetrics Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study for the automotive category reveals that mobile auto users are a diverse group comprised of auto shoppers conducting research and auto parts/service buyers with an immediate purchase need. Advertisers can use these insights in their mobile strategies to improve their ad relevancy and performance by insuring tads is reaching the right audience with the right message.

?Even by distinct category, mobile usage can vary drastically based on user needs and intent,? said Monica Ho, vice president of marketing at xAd, New York. ?As a result, auto marketers must understand the unique differences in how consumers leverage mobile in their path to purchase for their specific auto needs such as a new and used auto versus the need for service or repair.

?Not only do we see the auto category split between two primary content categories of auto parts and service and auto ? new and used but we also see very different and distinct profile of users ? each with very different demographics, intent and behaviors,? she said.

?The other interesting finding was the lack of application usage in the category which was very different from the previous two studies released on restaurants and travel. With all of the research regarding the increase in application usage I think we all assumed this applied equally across all categories.?

Conversion vs. research
Mobile auto users are 68 percent caucasian and 64 percent male with a household income of $50,000 to $100,000.

However, auto researchers have slightly higher incomes of between $75,000 and $100,000. The majority of their mobile sessions are spent on search as well as general auto information and manufacturer sites.

Deal hunters are typically non-caucasian users with average incomes of $35,000 to $50,000. They also spend the majority of their time on general auto information sites and manufacturer sites.

Circumstantial, emergency users tend to be caucasian females who are looking for quick access to automotive information via search and familiar brand properties.

Hobbyists are often African American males between the ages of 25 and 54 with an annual income of between $100,000 and $150,000.

The report shows that mobile auto searchers are evenly split between conversion and research, with 51 percent of mobile auto searchers ultimately making a purchase and 49 percent looking to make a purchase within the day.

The most important factors in the purchase decision are proximity, right fit and price.

Mobile Web reigns
Smartphone searchers demonstrate a more immediate need as 36 percent of smartphone users, compared with 25 percent of tablet searchers, were looking to make a decision immediately or within the hour.

The results also show that mobile auto searchers prefer the mobile Web to apps, with less than one percent of the 15 percent of mobile consumers conducting mobile auto searches using apps.

Information-based mobile Web sites such as and are the most popular among mobile auto searchers, reaching 8 percent of the mobile audience.

Other key findings include that smartphones are more consistently used for locating and contacting auto-related businesses while tablets are used for research and finding pricing information.

Additionally, location is key as 44 percent of auto searchers looked up a business location or directions, 43 percent looked up pricing info or compared prices and 36 percent looked for a business phone number or called the business.

?Mobile auto users present a diverse audience that advertisers must consider in their mobile ad strategies as the new and used auto shopper is doing a lot of research while the auto parts and service buyer has an immediate purchase need for maintenance or malfunction,? Ms. Ho said.

?Advertisers that use these new insights correctly can improve their ad relevancy and performance while reducing ad waste by ensuring mobile ads are hitting the right audience with the right message,? she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New  York