Google says automotive "sales funnel" no longer true

Conventionally, automotive marketers have believed most car shoppers take at least six months to make up their minds on what to buy. That half-a-year of shopping is what marketers call the "sales funnel." It works like this: First the need for a new car is recognized then six-months later, someone's driving away in a new car. In between, shoppers do all their research, line up financing, etc.

And that's the theory around which most automotive marketing departments and ad agencies have traditionally planned their campaigns for either brand building or ads meant to get folks into dealerships.

Google, however, says they're wrong. Way wrong.

[Source: BusinessWeek]

Led by Bonita Coleman Stewart, a former Chrysler ad exec, Google did a little research that showed that most car buyers take far less time to buy. In fact, more than 70-percent take less than one month of research and financial planning before signing on the dotted line. Which we're thinking might explain all those Uplanders we see on the road.

Google says their research points to a need for automotive ad agencies to put much more money into their online budgets, especially online video ads. Which, of course, anyone could have predicted Google might say. It is, after all, how they get their lunch money. But to back up their claims, Google says nine billion videos were viewed on its YouTube service in July alone, and 382 million of those were automotive related. We'll take credit for a few of those viewers, by the way, Mr. Google.

With such a short shopping time, and billions watching online video, says Stewart in a BusinessWeek article, means "... car marketers need to be engaging 24/7, and you can only do that online."

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