Last year, almost a third of “in-market” shoppers visited auto brand sites from their smartphones–up from just 17 percent two years earlier. In L2’s new 2013 Digital IQ Index: Auto report, our researchers found that Automakers, on the whole, are better prepared than most brands in most industries for this shift in device traffic. Of the 42 auto brands examined in our new report, an impressive 86 percent of them currently have mobile-optimized sites. Among these, mobile site feature adoption is also quite commendable, with all the brands including a one-click dealer locator and three-quarters offering GPS geolocation, touch-and-swipe support and unique, separate domains from the desktop site. The reduced page content enables faster load time (765 versus 1,632 kilobytes), which is key for those on-the-go.

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Automakers have also paid attention to the fact that shoppers are increasingly switching between PC, tablet, and smartphone devices throughout the purchase process and that user behavior is strongly correlated to device type. A recent survey found that tablets are the mobile tool of choice for upper to middle-funnel activities, i.e., general research, vehicle comparison, and spec/option exploration. Unfortunately, 93 percent of auto brands currently push their desktop content to tablet devices, making for a less than optimal tablet experience. Specifically: only 33 percent of sites that load on a tablet feature touch-and-swipe functionality (vs. 75 percent on mobile sites) and 14 percent of car configurators, when accessed on the tablet, do not function fully (often because of Flash components), in many cases requiring a separate app investment.

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