Auto brands are offering a more comprehensive digital shopping experience. To facilitate discovery, the top ten brands in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Auto are scaling back their TV investments and allocating resources to low-cost, high-return digital channels. Meanwhile, the advent of third-party interlopers, the rising popularity of alternative ownership models, and Amazon’s foray into the auto world have forced these brands to innovate the purchase process to better replicate the seamless digital commerce experience found in other industries.
1. Ford Digital IQ: 143
Ford flares into first place with the largest YouTube community generating the second most video views of all tracked brands. A personalized homepage populated with recently viewed vehicles helps online customers feel catered to while best-in-class navigation uses geolocation to incorporate and inform the user of their closest dealer. The company rounds out its performance with a smooth desktop-to-mobile transition and easily accessible tools like Local Inventory, Trade-In Value, and Current Offers.
2. Toyota Digital IQ: 139
Toyota takes the second spot with the most desktop video impressions in the Index and nearly double the impressions of the brand after it. The brand also thrives thanks to constant replies to both positive and negative tweets on Twitter, producing the third most tweets of any brand in Gartner L2’s study. To top it off, Toyota is one of the few brands whose mobile site immediately detects a visitor’s location when they land on the homepage.
3. Chevrolet Digital IQ: 131
Chasing third with the second largest community on Facebook, Chevrolet keeps the customer’s wants in mind with comprehensive filtering options on category pages that allow them to filter by product category and environmental impact. The company also boasts the highest overall visibility against nonbranded keywords with a leading share in the toughly-contested truck category. Finally, its five-star-rated MyChevrolet app was downloaded more than any other app of its peers.
4. Honda Digital IQ: 130
Honda packs a small, but mighty punch with strong paid visibility on desktop search that carries over to mobile and results in one of the Index’s highest visibilities on the small screen. Its sophisticated car comparison tool pits brand models against competitors, rivaling those of third-party sites. Meanwhile, on social media, Honda earns over 85 million YouTube views—the fourth most of any other tracked brand.
5. Nissan Digital IQ: 128
Nissan knows not to neglect customer queries. The company tweets nearly a hundred times per day to answer customer questions and interact with fans. It also scores in the top five for visibility against nonbranded keywords, including second highest visibility against energy efficiency-related keywords to promote the Nissan Leaf. Finally, the manufacturer makes use of an aggressive paid strategy against nonbranded terms on mobile.
6. Volvo Digital IQ: 127
Volvo wows in this year’s ranking with its intuitive Care by Volvo subscription program. The program, which is used as a marketing asset on Volvo’s site and across its digital channels, has reaped enough success to warrant plans of now rolling it out across the nation.
7. Audi Digital IQ: 126
In terms of auto brands on social media, Audi has its Instagram game on lock. The brand possesses the second largest community on the platform and generates the second highest number of interactions per post out of all brands. It also puts aesthetic at the wheel, treating its followers to color-coordinated images that look just as good from afar as they do up close.
7. Ram Digital IQ: 126
Strong visibility against nonbranded truck-related keywords helps Ram ride into the top ten auto brands of 2019. Additionally, heavy investment in its mobile site makes for a smooth big-screen-to-small-screen transition and a bump-free experience for shoppers on-the-go.
9. Mercedes-Benz Digital IQ: 125
Despite lagging vehicle pages and social engagement, Mercedes-Benz slides into the ninth spot of this year’s ranking. The luxury label succeeds with the highest paid visibility against model keywords and the highest visibility for nonbranded luxury keywords.
10. Kia Digital IQ: 124
Thanks to a smart search strategy, Kia is able to tweak preconceived notions and cinch top ten. For example, the car creator places ads against sports car keywords to highlight its Stinger model and build brand associations with luxury. Additionally, Kia’s revved-up paid search strategy yields strong visibility against multiple categories, including a leading share in sedan and SUV terms.