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VW achieves highest conversion of new car Google searches into sales in 2019

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Volkswagen converted more new car Google searches into registrations than any other brand last year, but its lead is slipping.

The manufacturer achieved a conversion rate of 4.3% based on 4.65m searches in 2019, but had a much better performance in 2018 where it managed to convert 5.7% of 3.55 million searches into sales.

The analysis was carried out by Honcho, which tracks the correlation between Google new car searches and units registered to show how online interest from prospective buyers translated into actual purchasing decisions.

With new car registrations falling in 2019, most carmakers experienced a year on year decline in their conversion rates which proved to be a mixed blessing for Volkswagen which maintained the highest conversion rate but saw it erode higher than anyone else,” said Syed Ali, Honcho’s head of performance.

He advised that OEMs looking to improve their conversion rates during the March plate change should be making better use of the real estate on Google search pages, especially for brand searches.

Mini had the second highest conversion rate of 4.2%, followed by Vauxhall at 4%; although both saw their year on year conversion rates fall from 4.65% and 4.6% respectively.

Fourth placed Mercedes-Benz was among the few brands to improve its year on year conversion rates from 3.5% to 3.8%, based on 4.45 million searches. The premium marque significantly outperformed its German rivals, even though it had less than half the volume of Google searches, with BMW conversions tracking at 1.8% from 9.17 million searches while Audi mustered just 1.4% from 10.1 million searches.

“While there is always high interest in new models from buyers, branded search results can be a turn off and are often ignored.

“OEMs need to make their search results attractive with up to date information, removing any extra steps in the car buying journey and actively re-marketing to buyers exploring multiple brands. These measures will keep their brands in consideration throughout and increase the online search to sale conversions,” Ali said.  

2019’s top 10 OEM Google conversion rates:

  1.  Volkswagen  4.31%
  2.  MINI              4.16%
  3.  Vauxhall        3.98%
  4.  Mercedes      3.83%
  5.  Land Rover   3.50%
  6.  Renault         2.90%
  7.  Citroen          2.89%
  8.  Skoda           2.73%
  9.  Seat              2.59%
  10.  Hyundai        2.43%

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