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Why you need to win the consideration stage

Originally shared on Carsales.com.au 30.1.20 Auto Martket Watch #20

  • The consideration stage of the is the key battleground for brands and dealers
  • carsales.com.au is predominantly used in the consideration stage by shoppers
  • Content drives more action in the form of searches, views and enquiries
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Australians love cars and cars are vital to the Australian way of life. For most of us, the relationship we have with our car is a treasured and memorable one.

For today’s car shoppers, purchasing a new car is a major financial and life decision which involves moments of inspiration, research and screen time, changing preferences, multiple conversations and in some cases, even a happy snap for social media to validate a job well done!

What is the consideration stage and why is it important?

When it comes to purchasing a new car, consumers experience distinct stages in the journey. There’s the trigger that propels consumers into the journey. This can be due to a sudden event, or perhaps the gradual recognition of a need for change.

Then comes the need to establish a general understanding of the car market and range of models available to buy. From here, buyers begin to eliminate options that don’t meet their needs and wants, and identify those that do — creating a shortlist of vehicles for a more detailed evaluation and comparison.

It’s this period of evaluation and comparison, known as the consideration stage, that’s the key battleground for brands and dealers in the hyper-competitive Australian automotive marketplace.

Why is this, you might ask?

Well, put yourself in the shoes of car buyers in Australia today. From the palm of their hands, car buyers can shop thousands of cars, from 50-plus brands and across 10 different segments.

Couple this choice with the limitless amount of information available on the internet and its little wonder that the consideration stage can take unforeseen twists and turns.

So what does the consideration stage look like?

In the consideration stage, internet browsers are overloaded with countless tabs pitting model against model and brand against brand. Phone calls are made to trusted friends and family that think themselves as ‘auto experts’.

It’s the consideration stage when consumers read an influential review or comparison, binge on video content from trusted local and international experts, or alternatively, check up on the real-world experiences and insights from current owners.

“The internet continues to transform auto transactions. Where it once facilitated a simple price comparison, the internet now empowers consumers to compare and evaluate the merits of different cars and brands in extreme detail,” says Kellie Cordner, Chief Marketing Officer at carsales.
With the evolution of the internet, has also come the evolution of the online auto marketplace. No longer is it just a transactional destination.
Nowhere is this evolution more evident than Australian auto marketplace pioneer carsales.com.au. Over the years, carsales.com.au has added editorial content, inspection reports, car history reports, owner reviews and dealer reviews, alongside dealer inventory and automaker showrooms, providing consumers with the key tools required for richer vehicle consideration and evaluation.

“carsales is used by auto shoppers predominately in the consideration stage,” explains Jeremy Moger, Head of Insights at carsales.

“34% of carsales’ audience has just started their search for less than a month and a further 20% have been looking for a little over 1 month.

“In addition, 90% of searches conducted on carsales don’t specify new or used, or they select both.” says Moger.

And in a boon for dealers and brands, carsales consumers in the consideration phase are extremely open to influence. On average, car buyers on carsales viewed 32 details pages of listings, across 8 different models, 5 different makes and 3 different segments before finally biting the bullet to make a sales enquiry on a specific model.

The role of editorial content in the consideration stage

In the consideration stage, automotive content is used by consumers for a range of different purposes including discovery and inspiration, education on the merits of different purchase options, working out budgets and validating decisions.

In August, a combined Unique Audience of 1.37m consumers interacted with written and video reviews, comparison tests and news, across carsales.com.au and motoring.com.au.

“Now more than ever, more Australians turn to carsales content to dream, discover and compare new cars. 65% of carsales consumers use carsales content as a tool throughout their new car buying journey,” says Moger.

Not all automotive environments are created equal. On carsales.com.au, the unique connection of editorial content to dealer and automaker inventory facilitates its increasing importance and influence in the car-buying journey. With just one click on carsales, buyers can transition from researching a car via editorial content, to browsing a dealer or automaker’s virtual showroom, or even clicking through to an automaker’s own website via a contextual and relevant ad placement.

The result of this unique connection is that carsales content drives more action in the consideration phase. Consumers who have read carsales content are more likely to take action than those that don’t, conducting 5.6x more searches, conducting 7.5x more views on details pages, and submitting 5.3x more sales enquiries.

How to win the consideration stage

So, if the consideration stage is where long shopping lists become shorter and where browsers become buyers, it’s never been more important to win the consideration stage on carsales.com.au.

Here are some key tips on how to achieve it:

Ensure that your brand is always front and centre at key moments. On carsales, this could involve the use of native placements, such as video seeded among relevant buyer search results, content amplification or contextual placements in key editorial reviews and comparisons –with click-through opportunities back to an OEM website or inventory.

Another option is carsales Guaranteed Consideration; which enables a brand to seed a generic new car listing among search results for a rival model.

Alternatively, you might want to attack and defend via primetime advertising placements in relevant buyer searches with carsales Brand Terms. For example, use Brand Terms to disrupt and conquer buyer attention, or choose to ‘lock up’ key ad placements in search results showcasing your own models, to limit consumer exposure to your competitors.

Delivering the right message, at the right place messaging in the consideration stage is key to driving action. carsales’ leading contextual targeting capabilities empower brands to tailor messages to segmented audiences in the consideration phase, such as by their general interests or affinity for a particular segment.

Many consumers prefer to reduce research and consideration effort by following the popular or award-winning choice. On carsales, this can be achieved by dialling up your ‘social proof’, such as highlighting the happy experiences of existing owners or amplifying key content published by trusted and independent carsales experts — such as reviews, comparisons and awards including carsales Car of the Year and Best Used Cars.

The latest enhancement to carsales.com.au, Dealer Reviews, also empowers dealers to surface their aggregated star rating of your customer reviews from Google, Facebook, Product review, alongside inventory for sale on carsales, delivering ‘social proof’ of the business’s ability to deliver satisfying sales transactions.

Experiment with messaging and creative that reduces purchase risk for a confused or overwhelmed car shopper, such as ‘try before you buy’ or ‘extended warranty’. Alternatively, dial up the pressure and fear of missing out through messages such as ‘special one-off’, ‘weekend-only’ and ‘limited to’.

Compare your messaging and creative against that of your main competitors. The consideration stage is marked by comparisons across key criteria that matters to your target audience. If these comparisons fall in your favour, it’s important to highlight these strengths to prospective buyers in a way that’s clear and easy to understand.

Once a consumer takes direct action and makes contact with you, speed is of the essence. For example, dealers are advised to act on sales opportunities within a 30 minute timeframe to ensure that prospective buyers spend more time engaging with you, and less time re-considering alternative and competitor purchase options.

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