- Ford receives the most foot traffic at its dealerships among car brands in the U.S., but faces strong competition from Honda, Jeep and Nissan among Snapchat users, whose tastes vary by region, according to a study by the image-messaging app and location data company Factual.
- While Ford saw most dealer visits among both Snapchat users and non-users in the Midwest, users of the app visited Honda more often in Western states, Nissan in Southern states and Jeep in the Northeast region. Snapchatters also take more test drives on average, visit more dealerships and browse a broader selection of car brands than people who don't use the app, the study found.
- Auto brands reflect the broader lifestyle choices of consumers, per the study. For example, Volvo shoppers are more likely than average to spend on home improvement with more frequent visits to stores such as Pier 1 Imports, Ikea and Ashley Furniture. Chevrolet shoppers are more likely to enjoy outdoor activities and shopping more frequently at Land's End and L.L. Bean, while Infiniti shoppers favor other luxury brands like Aldo, Chanel and Dior.
While the report doesn't directly say that Snapchat is a key platform for auto marketers, its findings highlight some relevant considerations around users' car shopping habits, especially as the app's core audience of people ages 13 to 34 make up 32.4% of new car registrations in the U.S.
The study aims to highlight how location data can show trends around Snapchat users' car-buying habits and make the image-sharing app more appealing to automobile makers, whose media spending is forecast to comprise 12% of the mobile advertising market this year, per researcher eMarketer. The industry is set to spend $15.9 billion on digital advertising, including mobile, this year.
As Snapchat notes, carmakers must reach prospective buyers on mobile and digital platforms that have become key research tools for consumers. Its users tend to do their homework before making a purchase, showing greater willingness to visit dealer lots and to consider a broader group of brands than the average car buyer. That open-mindedness could make Snapchat's audience more likely to be influenced by ads from carmakers, the study suggests.
Luxury carmaker BMW in 2017 was a pioneer on Snapchat as the first brand to create a 3D augmented reality (AR) version of a product to let users more deeply explore the vehicle on a social platform. Overseas consumers using Snapchat saw ads for the BMW X2 that opened into a virtual demonstration of the car, letting mobile users see more details about its features before visiting a dealership or buying. BMW shoppers on Snapchat tend to prioritize family-oriented experiences, being 3.1 times more likely to be toy shoppers, 2.6 times more likely to browse department stores and 2.5 times more likely to be family travelers, per Snapchat and Factual.