Drop in Car Shopping Behavior in Battleground States Heading into 2016 Election, According to Dealer.com

Vehicle detail pageviews drop down 6 percent, ad costs shoot up 7 percent in battleground vs. non-battleground states this election season


Burlington, VT, November 3, 2016 – Dealer.com, a Cox Automotive brand operating websites for more than 60% of franchise car dealerships in the United States, reported today that car shopping behavior in battleground states is suffering. Identified through vehicle detail page (VDP) views from its dealership network, shopping behavior was down 9 percent year-over-year (YoY) [Dealer.com hosted site data, September 2015 – September 2016]. Battleground states, or states in which no single candidate or party has overwhelming support to secure electoral votes, include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.


With new-vehicle sales also down 2 percent YoY in September, the contentious presidential election is adding further challenges to car dealers operating in battleground states: since January 2016, visitors to car dealership websites across the Dealer.com platform are 6 percent lower in battleground states compared to non-battleground state dealerships within the network [Dealer.com hosted site data, Jan-Oct 2015, Jan-Oct 2016].


A major factor hurting car shopping behavior in these states is the rise of digital advertising costs, as battleground states have averaged 7 percent higher paid search costs than non-battleground states since January, and a bigger hike in YoY advertising costs (11 percent) than non-battleground states (7 percent).


“There is a higher demand for advertising in an election year, in particular, the states that can go both red and blue,” said James Grace, Director of Analytics Product Management at Dealer.com. “Dealers that cannot account for additional advertising spends suffer, which can lead to a decline in online traffic, and ultimately a hit to their bottom lines. We’re focused on helping customers get creative in optimizing their digital marketing budgets so they can finish the year strong.”


To combat higher ad spends and demands leading up to the election, dealers should consider producing election-specific content and specials. Following the election, there will be more opportunities for dealers to produce ads and appeal to customers during the holiday shopping season.



About Dealer.com

Dealer.com provides an integrated platform of Advertising, Website and Managed Services products which allow OEMs, dealer groups, retailers and agencies to leverage advanced digital technology and data to better engage and connect with their customers. The company practices a deep commitment to its culture of innovation, with a focus on health and wellness, making it one of the most desirable places to work, and a valuable partner for automotive retailers. Based in Burlington, Vermont, Dealer.com is a Cox Automotive brand. For more information, visit www.dealer.com.

About Cox Automotive

Cox Automotive Inc. is transforming the way the world buys, sells and owns cars with industry-leading digital marketing, software, financial, wholesale and e-commerce solutions for consumers, dealers, manufacturers and the overall automotive ecosystem worldwide. Committed to open choice and dedicated to strong partnerships, the Cox Automotive family includes Autotrader®, Dealer.com®, Dealertrack®, Kelley Blue Book®, Manheim®, NextGear Capital®, vAuto®, Xtime® and a host of other brands. The global company has 33,000 team members in more than 200 locations and is partner to more than 40,000 auto dealers, as well as most major automobile manufacturers, while engaging U.S. consumer car buyers with the most recognized media brands in the industry. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., an Atlanta-based company with revenues of $18 billion and approximately 60,000 employees. Cox Enterprises’ other major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications and Cox Media Group. For more information about Cox Automotive, visit www.coxautoinc.com.