New Study Finds Car Buyers Visit Fewer Dealerships; Conduct More Research Online

Dealerships Must Attract and Connect with Customers Online to Drive Traffic to Their Lots

RESEARCH TRIANGLE REGION, N.C.--()--Netsertive, a digital marketing technology company enabling brands and their local retailers to attract more customers through turnkey campaigns, today announced the findings of its Automotive Shopper Path to Purchase Survey of over 500 car buyers in the United States. With U.S. automotive sales down 13.2 percent year-over-year through June 30 according to Autodata, Netsertive's study is proof that automotive OEMs and dealers must work together online to drive buyers to local lots throughout their path to purchase.

Key findings:

  • Car Shoppers Gear Up Online Before Visiting Dealerships
    Today’s automotive buyers are conducting extensive research online before visiting a dealership, with 67 percent of respondents visiting only one to two dealerships before making a purchase. When customers began their online research, 45 percent knew which brand of car they wanted, but were unsure about which dealership they would purchase from. Another 34 percent of respondents were unsure about both brand and dealership, relying on digital channels to educate themselves.
  • Customers are Utilizing Reviews, Search and Web to Inform Their Decisions
    Survey respondents used a variety of channels for conducting online research, with the most popular being consumer reviews, local dealer websites and search engines. Automotive marketers have an opportunity to attract customers through these online channels, ensuring they’re top of mind when it’s time to make a purchase.
  • Dealerships Must Be Optimized for Mobile Customer Interactions
    Almost 50 percent of shoppers are using mobile devices to conduct their automotive research. In addition to researching new car options, a recent Facebook survey found that auto shoppers are also using mobile devices to reach out to dealers and book test drives. Mobile is changing the way customers interact with dealerships. Having a mobile-optimized website is essential to attract and convert these “on-the-go” customers.

"We are capturing the lion's share of new car sales in our market, and we attribute our strong digital presence as an integral part of our success this year," said Susan Hamilton, director of advertising for Continental Mazda in Anchorage, Alaska. "When we began working with Netsertive in 2014, we watched our website traffic and leads increase significantly. Since then, we’ve added both Netsertive’s digital video and social media advertising channels to our local search marketing campaign. We couldn’t be more pleased with our results. We are experiencing more sales and service calls and online scheduling. Our 2016 winter tire sales exceeded all expectations.”

“The automotive industry is extremely competitive, especially now that buying decisions are increasingly made before customers visit a dealership,” said Brendan Morrissey, CEO and co-founder of Netsertive. “We understand the automotive landscape and the goals and challenges each dealership faces daily. At Netsertive, we use data-driven insights to help brands and dealerships execute co-op marketing campaigns to target car shoppers throughout their purchasing journey.”

Using Google Consumer Surveys, Netsertive surveyed over 500 consumers on their automotive buying patterns. All respondents were located in the continental U.S.

To learn more about this survey, visit:

To learn more about how Netsertive supports automotive dealers with their marketing efforts, visit:

About Netsertive
Netsertive is the fastest-growing marketing technology platform, revolutionizing how brands and local businesses work together to win local customers. The company’s two complementary solutions, MarketWise™ for Brands and StreetWise™ for Local Businesses, enable cooperative marketing by giving brands the capabilities to activate scaled multichannel local marketing automatically through local partners. The innovative technology is powered by Netsertive's proprietary learning engine, which combines the company's deep industry experience with the collective intelligence of its extensive network of automotive, home goods, technology and healthcare clients to deliver unprecedented campaign speed, performance and value. An award-winning marketing technology company and Google Premier Partner, Netsertive helps brands automate their co-op marketing to ensure localized brand compliance, seamless campaign execution and reimbursement tracking for local partners.

Founded in 2009 and based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, the company has a history of rapid growth, a world-class team and the strength of venture capital funding from top firms RRE Ventures, Harbert Venture Partners, River Cities Capital Funds and Greycroft Partners. Netsertive was named for the fourth consecutive year to Inc. Magazine’s 5000 fastest-growing private companies, named to the Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ for the second consecutive year, included on Triangle Business Journal’s list of Fast 50 companies and named Triangle Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for the fourth year. The company was also awarded several prestigious honors in 2016 for their work with national product brands, including: 2016 GOLOCAL Award by BIA/Kelsey, Local Visionary Award by Street Fight, a gold award by the Golden Bridge Awards and a silver award by the Stevie American Business Awards. Additional information about Netsertive is available at


PAN Communications
Kate Connors, 617-502-4300


PAN Communications
Kate Connors, 617-502-4300