Three Main Take-Aways from the 15th Annual Google Think Auto Event

By Renold Liu

As with many things in our lives this year,  Google’s Think Auto Event for the Canadian Automotive Industry was slightly different. Instead of a traveling show across the country, it was a singular virtual event.

What didn’t change was the quality of Google’s insights, key learnings, and metrics.

Here are some key takeaways that we found to be most useful:

COVID 19 has accelerated digital adoption and changed consumer sentiment. 

As many dealers now know, the world has slowly been moving to digital for years. However, the restriction in place during the COVID lockdowns meant that many people turned to the only place available to look for vehicles – the internet. 

As a result, some dealers saw website traffic increases – even during the peak of lockdown. Additionally, current sentiment toward public spaces and transportation has sparked demand for personal vehicles rather than public transportation.  

The general sentiment is that the convenience of online browsing and behavior change means that dealers need to optimize their websites and digital marketing to attract the new car buys that are flooding the internet.

More people are comfortable with buying a car online.

As people were pushed into online shopping during the Pandemic’s lockdown, many discovered that shopping online wasn’t as scary as they previously would have thought. 

Google’s data reflects this comfort with online shopping. 40% of the Millennial population and 29% of the entire population would now consider buying their next vehicles online. 

While digital retailing software, like VINN and Motoinsights, have been available to implement in the past, recent events have now pushed the adoption of purchasing vehicles online much faster. Enterprising dealers may want to start to look at adding digital retailing now to capture the online demand. 

Google Search, YouTube & Dealer Websites still dominates online car research

According to Google, 79% of online car shoppers use Google Search to research their next vehicles. This is followed closely by YouTube, Brand (OEM) websites, and Dealer websites with 63%, 58%, and 57%, respectively.

This means that dealers can directly influence 3 of the 4 top areas where shoppers conduct research.

Dealers can directly influence:

  • Google results by SEO and Google Adwords.
  • YouTube with online comparison videos and ads
  • Dealer Websites with rich media and content

Being able to influence buyer research resources empowers dealers to be at the forefront of car shoppers when they are researching their next vehicles.

What did you think?

What did you think about Google’s Think Auto’s takeaways?

Didn’t catch it? 

What did you think about Google’s Think Auto results?

Didn’t catch it? Watch it here on YouTube (

Don’t have that much time? Download the 2020 Think Auto One Pager

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