By 2020, it is expected that there will be one-quarter of a billion connected cars on the road. However, many auto brands still fail to spotlight car apps as a core component of a vehicle’s value. By keeping their digital gems behind closed doors, these brands miss out on the opportunity to respond correctly to rising consumer expectations.
Connected functionality has moved up the list of features consumers value: 40% of surveyed consumers say they would switch their car brand for more connectivity, up from 20% in 2014. Currently, 79% of auto brands support a connected car app that spans multiple vehicle models, according to Gartner L2’s latest auto insight report.
However, marketing strategies vary. While best-in-class brands clearly communicate the power of their connected car apps in the App Store and on their sites, 26% of auto brands with apps only provide app information in the owner’s section of their website—missing the chance to introduce this content during the consideration phase of the purchase process and thus ignite early interest. Other brands like Ferrari, Kia, and Smart fail to mention their apps on their websites entirely.
If auto brands want to drive more interest from the get-go, it would serve them well to include an app section on vehicle information pages depicting important connected features—a tactic Ford exemplifies. On Ford’s vehicle page, a simple box displays key functions of the FordPass app with a direct link to more details. By including imagery in its connected car sections, Ford can catch the customer’s eye, whereas apps simply listed in feature descriptions can be lost in the shuffle.
By hiding apps away as an afterthought, auto brands miss the opportunity to maximize the impact of their connected technology investments. Additionally, downplaying them makes it seem as if car apps have less functionality than they actually do. If car brands want to keep customer interest, they need to rev up their app marketing.