automotive app

The automobile industry is drastically changing. Once upon a time, customers used to plot out an entire day just to shop for a car at a local dealership. Often customers made a series of visits before officially purchasing their perfect automobile.

Now automotive shoppers typically just make 2 visits to a dealership! Before stepping foot into any dealership or auto show, prospects do most of their research on mobile. According to, a major international car reviews site, 4 out of 5 people use their smartphones for auto research.


This proves that car shoppers are mobile-first. People use their smartphones for their research and as a result, it influences their buying decisions. So how can you drive mobile engagement for your auto brand?

Launching a new app is great way to build customer engagement. Your app’s objective could be to show users your new models, give car dealership info, promote upcoming auto shows, connect sales and more. Equally important – you might want customers to come to the dealership for their car maintenance. You want users to spend a considerable amount of time in the app and ultimately convert into a customer, but it isn’t easy.

Here are six ways you can drive customer engagement through your automotive mobile app.

1. Offer High-Impact Videos

automotive app

Google released an interesting study about cars during a two-year period. They found that “The top types of videos auto shoppers search for include vehicle test drives, highlights of features and options, and walkthroughs of the interior or exterior of the vehicle. Time spent watching these kinds of auto videos is up nearly 2X in the past year alone.”

Therefore, this Google statistic shows us that videos play a crucial role in your buyers’ decision-making. Specifically, videos serve as a tool for prospective buyers to research different vehicles and brand models. Thus, are you delivering high-impact in-app videos? Or do you deliver video content like test drives, features, and walkthroughs? Engaging users with tailor-made video content (with car models that fits their preferences) and addressing them in a personalized manner is absolutely fundamental in order to drive automotive mobile engagement.

So are you delivering high-impact videos? Or do you deliver video content like test drives, features, and walkthroughs? Engaging users with tailor-made video content is one thing. But delivering videos about a user’s preferred car model is another. You as a brand must always address them in a personalized manner. With these components, you will unlock massive automotive mobile engagement potential!

However, in order to understand user profile car preferences, you must have actionable data. Actionable data can be collected through on-going mobile engagements of automated assets*. Or actionable data sources from weather forecasts, location technology like beacons and geo-fencing or targeting, user engagement data like profile preferences, app usage, social media data and so forth. Additionally, actionable data stems from multiple sources like CRM systems, POS or Loyalty programs, which must synchronize seamlessly into your mobile engagement & analytics platform.

*Assets are, but not limited to high quality, creatively rich, interactive automobile mobile engagement tools like coupons, vouchers, surveys, polls, messages, 3D product models, videos, loyalty points, games, etc. Assets are all native designed to be displayed in a pixel perfect way on the screen of the mobile device – thus, delivering a very rich app experience to the customer.

2. Collect relevant customer data from surveys

Sending in-app surveys are a great way to break the ice with users. They’re many topics to ask the user, including the following:

  1. Pricing preferences – Every buyer has his or her own budget. Ask them upfront what their budget is. It helps you as a mobile marketer to see what types of car models they’re qualified to buy.
  2. Model types- Model types are an interesting way to see what type of car the buyer likes or dislikes. Give them a thumbs up or down list, poll, or survey about your car model types and start profiling!
  3. Colors- Colors play an important role in your buyers’ decision making. Also, segmenting colors should trigger to your POS how much demand your customers have for certain dealerships.
  4. Fuel efficiency- Many cars are addressing the global carbon footprint challenge. Brands like Tesla, Honda, Toyota have already set the bar high. They’re attracting a type of consumer that want a car to be economically viable (with fuel prices in mind), energy efficient and have environmentally clean standards.
  5. Trunk space (boot space) and other features- Considering that today’s automobile shoppers are looking for something special, Google finds that “One of the areas we’re seeing increased interest is hauling capacity. Search interest is up for trunk space and towing capacity by 15% and 30% respectively, year-over-year. We’ve seen an interest for luxury options on the rise with search interest up for features like a panoramic sunroof and backup camera by 31% and 23% respectively, year-over-year.” Why not ask users in an in-app survey if they’re interested in special features like leather seats, sunroof, extra trunk space, etc.?

Ultimately, it’s up to your team to decide what type of questions to ask in surveys. However, the goal for your team is to understand your users and potential customers on a hyper contextual level. Then, you can set up follow-up engagements based on actionable data which you’ve collected through previous engagements and other data sources as mentioned before.

3. Offer 3D Model Spins of your car models

Want to really delight your users? Offer them a cool feature like a 3D car model product spin. Similar to a walkthrough video, a user has more control on what they’d like to zoom in, zoom out and dive deep into the details of the car. Take the car for a spin and turn it 360 degrees.

4. Tapping into weather to engage contextually

According to Google, summer is another important seasonal moment. When the temperatures rise, so does interest in car shopping. Search interest for “lease deals” peaked in summer 2015, up 20% compared to the previous year. Imagine tapping into the daily forecast and targeting users with car models that complement the weather.

For example, you have a new convertible car only available in selected dealerships. Thus, go ahead and send them a high-impact video of the car. Or send a 3D spin of the convertible to get them excited! Engage users by inviting them to come inside the dealership for a test drive on that special car model with a sunroof.

5. Leverage the power of geo-targeting

Also according to Google, search interest for “car dealerships near me” has doubled in the past year. Clearly users really want to shop for cars locally! When users are driving nearby the geographical range of your dealership, why not invite them to come into the dealership for a quick walkthrough during a car showing? With intelligent geo-fencing capabilities with the MobileBridge platform, you can tailor automotive mobile engagement according to the user’s location. By the way, the geo-sensitive capability is also completely individualized. Thus, the experience of one user would be completely different than another.

6. Use beacons at auto shows to analyze customer behavior

Car shoppers mainly rely on dealerships towards the end of their decision-making process. As mentioned earlier, car shoppers typically only make 2 visits to the dealership, so you better make their visits count! Why not set up some beacons in certain car models or in certain location points. Then gather data on when prospects entered the dealership, how long they stayed, have they taken a test drive? Or if they revisited or how many minutes’ they stood in front of the car model, etc.

Set up an in-app showroom beacon to monitors user behavior. Approach users with contextually relevant engagements according to their footpath on where, when and how frequent they were in the dealership. Most importantly, monitor where are they in their respective personal mobile journey and purchase stage.


Your app needs these items on the checklist in order to drive automotive mobile engagement. If you would like to understand how to implement these features and capabilities into your automotive app, get in touch with MobileBridge here.

Or if you’d like to see a real-live demo of how other automotive brands are driving amazing mobile experiences, see our case study on FAW- Volkswagen China.


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