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Oct 9 2012

Any type of mobile marketing strategy requires presenting information in small “bites.”  When it comes to advertising to auto consumers, whether they are researching vehicles or actively shopping inventory, the vehicle information presented needs to be optimized to the mobile experience.  

Optimize your inventory display for your mobile users

 Creating an experience that can support inventory or generic vehicle search, research or comparison for a mobile visitor is a difficult task.  There are a large variety of vehicles and brand out there.  In addition, there many different valuable features and options that can be installed on these vehicle.  These can be key drivers in the consideration and purchase and must be included in a successful mobile approach.  These factors all contribute to make displaying the necessary detail to power mobile research and shopping solutions for perspective car buyers is a significant challenge.  

Below we have put together 10 best practices for using vehicle data in mobile vehicle advertising that can help you succeed in creating an experience that will work for both your business and your mobile visitors:


1.       Focus on quality over quantity. 

On a mobile device, a data dump is almost as useless as not having any data.  Too much detail can overwhelm, distract or simply degrade the mobile user experience.  Figure out what vehicle data has most value to the customer and use your mobile display to showcase it.  Use bullet points over blocks of text to help highlight value and make it stand out. A succinct, concise value proposition to the customer for that particular vehicle is the goal. 

2.         Provide a brief and efficient user experience. 

A visitors attention span is going to be appreciably shorter on a mobile device.  People are looking for “Cliff Notes” not “War and Peace”.  Make sure your mobile displays and overall mobile experience gets to the point and gets to it quickly.  Pay attention to your conversion process and keep it short. To this end, make sure that you choose an automotive dataset that can support brevity while preserving the value of the data being delivered to your visitors. 

3.       Start with what the consumer doesn’t know about the vehicle.

Present the consumer with data about his or her vehicle of interest that is valuable and informative.  It is the dietary equivalent of empty calories to use space to tell your mobile audiences about features they can safely assume are included in the vehicle.  Power windows and air conditioning have become commodities for new vehicles.  Filling your vehicle advertising with bland decoded data will not result in conversions and sales.  Identify the differentiating and valuable features that have been decoded, as applying to the vehicle, and deliver that data to your audience.

4.       Provide information based on what the consumer needs and values in a vehicle

Create an interface that allows the user to quickly identify the vehicle features and options that are drivers in their purchase process.  Use these to drill down to a vehicle that meets their wants or needs.  A mobile experience created with this approach is going to be faster and more engaging for the consumer.  Further, the details captured about the user provide valuable insight that can be tied to the resultant lead.  Not all automotive data is equal in this regard.  Make sure the data you choose for VIN decoding and vehicle comparison allows you to identify key vehicle attributes in a standardized and consistent way across different makes and models as well as across new and used inventory.

5.         Keep in mind your target audience and tailor your results to fit their needs. 

Socioeconomic demographics, as well as geography and even season can be invaluable in targeting the triggers for your audiences purchasing decisions.  Ideally different users, viewing identical vehicles, can have the data delivered optimized for geographical and seasonal variations in their audience.  The vehicle specifications and data presented should vary for a rural/urban audience and can even vary based on seasonal/climate weighted values.  For example, heated seats and steering wheel would be more important to display to northern audience and should have even greater weighting to be displayed in colder seasons.  In warmer climates those features might not warrant display to a mobile visitor.

6.       Use “vehicle type” to keep the information targeted.

A good strategy makes sure that the vehicle data viewed by the consumer is tailored to his/her particular interests as quickly as possible.  The optimal features of interest, and the resultant vehicle data that is displayed, will be different for the visitor searching for a minivan, sports sedan, truck or compact hybrid. Empower your customers to choose the vehicle types they would consider early in the process.  Then use these choices to customize the user experience moving forward.  

7.       Utilize existing content.

Mobile advertising doesn’t always require new content creation.  While likely requiring some adjustments and polishing, to fit the new format, repurposing existing content can help you efficiently execute your mobile content strategy.  You have enough to do, don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to.

8.       Use space wisely.

Design your mobile vehicle advertising so that it fits easily on a small smartphone screen.  A cluttered display is one that mobile users will quickly abandon and are unlikely to engage.   If your tools are squished, or your fonts are too small to easily read, you need to simplify.  Most of us have the tendency to try to fit as much as possible into the display available.  You are trying to match a person to a vehicle of interest to create a sales opportunity.   Resist the urge to add anything that is not core to that user experience. 

9.       Use analytics to continually optimize. 

ROI for mobile auto advertising is measurable.  Keep track of devices used and links clicked.  Adjust your strategy to enhance what works and drop what doesn’t.  Real estate is too precious to waste on elements that don’t have excellent value.

10.   Don’t lose sight of your goal - Conversions

Even the best contents value is limited by the effectiveness of your calls to action.  Provide easily-actionable items and make sure that the inventory or vehicle research data you display is not crowding out or distracting attention from these.  Make clear to your audience the path to purchase, contact, or otherwise engage.

While it can be a challenge to create a great mobile user experience for prospective car buyers, applying the above 10 best practices will help you succeed.  For more best practices and insight, read our white paper, Automotive Marketing: Effective use of content within mobile applications.



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