The difference in mobile vs. desktop behaviours when buying a car

Mobile Vs Desktop when buying a car

The difference in mobile vs. desktop behaviours when buying a car

In a short time, mobile devices have surged ahead of traditional computers in consumer demand and online traffic. Is this affecting your digital sales?

More mobile devices are being shipped than desktops and laptops, and soon mobile will account for the majority of website visits overall. For many sites and industries, mobile has already crossed that threshold.

Automotive businesses who think there is still time to prepare before the mobile tipping point occurs should take note that mobile devices already account for a majority of online searches and the time for action is now.

This might make you read on…

Who would’ve thought searches conducted from mobile devices are longer in length than those initiated on a desktop? This may seem a counterintuitive finding to you, but let’s explore the whole picture and see how this will affect your ‘digital dealership’.

The BIG headline

The long and short of it is that if you haven’t got a ‘responsive website’ (one that is viewable and usable on multiple devices) you will be losing sales to your competitors.

As you can see from the table below, 63% of automotive searches are now made on a tablet or mobile ‘phone.

Test your website right now.

  • Can you use it on a mobile phone?
  • Is the navigation clear and easy to use?
  • Are the buttons the right size to press? (If they are too small, people won’t press them)
  • Is the text readable?
  • Do the images show off the product?
  • Is it easy to compare vehicles and arrange to see you?

Based on top search variations resulting in a click to the indicated industry, 10 April – 7 May 2016. Source: Hitwise

How are people using different devices to buy cars?

Mobile searches searches tend to serve a larger role in answering consumers’ questions early on in the purchase journey. Do you have blogs, articles and reviews about your products that will answer these questions? If not, you will be missing the opportunity to move a prospect closer to a buying decision.

Searches will start with “How”, “Are”, “Where” and “Is”. Do you have content to answer these questions?

Meanwhile, location-based searches, like those specifying “near me” are consistently among those most heavily – nearly exclusively – initiated on mobile devices. Does your website have search engine visibility for these location-based searches? Does it then have an easy user journey to view where you are and how to get to you? Does this change your ‘mobile’ version layout/navigation?

Comparison searches that have the potential to close a sale, such as those focused on “product returns,” “price comparison”, “product reviews” or “service reviews” were initiated on a mobile device at least 71% of the time. These ‘deal seekers’ may actually be in your bricks-and-mortar establishment but searching for better deals or other reasons to buy or not to buy.

Additional analysis found that navigational searches and those mentioning specific brands are routinely more likely than average to be conducted from a desktop, regardless of the industry. Will this affect your SEO, PPC and re-marketing strategy – and where you are placing your digital adverts?

PLEASE NOTE: Mobile searches are heavily involved in the early stages of the buying process by answering questions and comparing products. As your sales prospects get closer to a buying decision and arranging test-drives and finance, they switch back to the good old desktop.

Research cited: Hitwise, Ofcom and the Office of National Statistics

The Big point of view

Tony Meola, Sales Director of Big Marketing, says:

 How can you make it easier for people to make a buying decision sooner and arrange finance more quickly? On mobile, on desktop or in-store?

Understanding the device from which different types of searches typically originate and then formulating a strategy for engaging the consumers behind those searches is critical and quite easy to do (using the right tools).

The risk of not doing this will result in lost sales, unhappy customers and missed opportunities.

The big question to answer now is: do you start with the ‘research’ content or with ‘point of sale’ content?

My philosophy is to start with improving conversions of people who are in buying mode and then work backwards away from the point of sale.

Some people may argue that you are not going to get many people to the point of sale if you have no research content, information, education or entertainment. But my argument comes in two parts.

Part 1 – What’s the point of moving people from research mode closer to the business if when they get there they can’t find what they are looking for?


Part 2 – There are people right now searching for your business that are in buying mode. Get high visibility here first and make some money to then reinvest into your digital marketing and user journey.


Leave A Comment