SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Digital marketing firm Digital Air Strike has released its sixth annual “Automotive Social Media Trends” study, which includes statistics relating to the importance of online reviews and social media engagement among car buyers and service customers.

“The data from our study is closely followed by social networks, automotive dealerships and manufacturers and identifies the devices, social media platforms and reviews sites that will make the biggest impact on consumer engagement in the year to come,” said Alexi Venneri, co-founder and CEO of Digital Air Strike.

The study is based on a survey of more than 4,000 U.S. consumers who purchased a vehicle or had their vehicle serviced between July and December of 2016. Remarkably, 87% of car buyers and 90% of service customers said they consulted online reviews when selecting their dealership. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of car buyers and nearly two-thirds (63%) of service customers said they would drive up to 60 miles to visit a dealership that had earned positive online reviews.

Digital Air Strike’s analysts also found car buyers and service customers are engaged with and somewhat reliant upon social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The study found that 79% of Twitter users who “follow” a dealership said they did so in recognition of a positive experience and to support the dealer. More than three-quarters of car buyers and more than half of service customers said they clicked on a Facebook ad in response to an offer or promotion.

Smartphones and tablets continue to outpace laptops and desktop computers as the tools of choice for searching and reading reviews. Digital Air Strike found that 40% of car buyers and 35% of service customers said they consulted Facebook when looking for dealership reviews, and 68% of car buyers and 51% of service customers used a mobile device to do so.

“The results from this year’s study show that social media, including review sites continue to be the most helpful medium in the vehicle sales and service process, and that mobile devices continue to account for the largest share of dealership search traffic,” Venneri said.

To learn more about how dealers are leveraging the power of social marketing, Auto Dealer Today met with five social media managers working at dealerships across the country. Click here to read their advice for hiring a social media manager, choosing your platforms, setting goals, and measuring ROI.

Originally posted on F&I and Showroom