L2’s Digital IQ Index: Auto finds search engines to be the sixth most influential source of in-market research for buying a car, triumphing professional reviews. Close to 2/3 of new car buyers have a brand in mind when starting their search, but just 1/5 stick with their original choice. Auto brands change consumers’ minds with a mix of organic and paid links. Organic search drives 82% of traffic directed to brand sites from search portals, while competition for paid search terms drives up prices for terms.


For example, up to four competitors can purchase against a popular vehicle as Lincoln, Lexus, Infiniti and Kia did with Acura MDX. These type of competitions are most likely to occur for vehicle-specific search terms, which are more poplar than brand terms. As a result, a car model search term costs $3.50 compared to the $1.65 price tag of a brand search term.


Local dealerships are recognizing that potential buyers are more likely to type in a car model than a brand in a search engine. They own 45% of car model search terms and 37% of brand search terms.

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