Google’s Car Purchasing Report in April 2017 showed that 115.9 million was invested in marketing strategies, both online and print, by UK car dealers in 2016.

Of course, car manufacturers have a large marketing budget to hand, which not all companies might have. Plus, with the increased crowd of companies on online platforms, digital marketing isn’t cheap. But is it worth its price tag? Together with Volkswagen service providers, Vindis, we take a look further.

Fashion: Already finding its feet

In 2017, the fashion industry enjoyed online sales totalling 16.2 billion. It is clear then that online investment is vital to the success of fashion retailers. This figure is expected to continue to grow by a huge 79% by 2022. So where are fashion retailers investing their marketing budgets? Has online marketing become a priority?

Nearly 25% of all purchases in December 2017 were ecommerce based, according to the British Retail Consortium, with online brands ASOS and Boohoo finding continued success in the online shopping world. ASOS experienced an 18% UK sales growth in the final four months of 2017, whilst Boohoo saw a 31% increase in sales throughout the same period.

Big brands like Marks and Spencer, Next, and John Lewis have invested million into their online presence and marketing in order to try and capture some of the popular online shopping experience. John Lewis announced that 40% of its Christmas sales came from online shoppers, and whilst Next struggled to keep up with the sales growth of its competitors, it has announced it will invest 10 million into its online marketing and operations.

It seems that shoppers are favouring shopping from their own home rather than going out to the busy high street.

PMYB Influencer Marketing agency noted that 59% of fashion marketers had increased their influencer marketing budget last year. In fact, 75% of global fashion brands collaborate with social media influencers as part of their marketing strategy. More than a third of marketers believe influencer marketing to be more successful than traditional methods of advertising in 2017 – as 22% of customers are said to be acquired through influencer marketing.

Utilities: Comparing rates

More and more consumers are turning to comparison websites in regards to their utilities supplier. These websites could make or break a supplier’s attempt to retain and acquire customers.

Price comparison websites are spending a fortune on TV marketing, which has a huge audience. It has become vital for many utility suppliers to be listed on comparison websites and offer a very competitive price, in order to stay in the game.

Compare the Market, MoneySupermarket, Go Compare, and are the four main comparison websites, and are also among the top 100 highest spending UK advertisers. Does this spend reflect on the utility suppliers? Comparison sites can be the difference between a high rate of customer retention for one supplier and a high rate of customer acquisition for another. If you don’t beat your competitors, then what is to stop your existing and potential new customers choosing your competitors over you?

One of the Big Six, British Gas, has changed its marketing aims from customer acquisition to customer retention. Whilst the company recognise that this approach to marketing will be a slower process to yield measurable results, they firmly believe that retention will in turn lead to acquisition. The Gas company hope that by marketing a wider range of tailored products and services to their existing customers, they will be able to improve customer retention.

The company is investing 100 million into its loyalty scheme in order to offer discounted services. This focuses on the value of a customer, their behaviour and spending habits over time to discover what they are looking for in the company. The utilities sector is incredibly competitive, so it is vital that companies invest in their existing customers before looking for new customers.

With 40% of all searches in Q3 2017 being carried out on mobile, and 45% of all advert impressions being via mobile, the utilities sector already has an impressive presence online according to Google’s Public Utilities Report in December 2017. As mobile usage continues to soar, companies need to consider content created specifically for mobile users as they account for a large proportion of the market now.

Healthcare: Communication is key

With its own set of restrictive regulations, the healthcare sector has a different route when it comes to marketing. The same ROI methods that have been adopted by other sectors simply don’t work for the healthcare market. Despite nearly 74% of all healthcare marketing emails remaining unopened, you’ll be surprised to learn that email marketing is essential for the healthcare industry’s marketing strategy.

Around 2.5 million people use email as their preferred method of communication, an increase on usage in the last few years. This means email marketing is targeting a large audience. For this reason, 62% of physicians and other healthcare providers prefer communication via email – and now that smartphone devices allow users to check their emails on their device, email marketing puts companies at the fingertips of their audience.

Considering one in 20 Google searches are related to health-based content, online marketing certainly has a place for healthcare. This could be attributed to the fact that many people turn to a search engine for medical answer before calling the GP.

Pew Research Center data shows that 72% of internet users say they have gone online to seek health information in the last year, with 77% of all health enquiries beginning with a search engine. Furthermore, 52% of smartphone users have used their device to look up the medical information they require. Statistics estimate that marketing spend for online marketing accounts for 35% of the overall budget.

And that’s without considering social media. Whilst the healthcare industry is restricted to how they market their services and products, that doesn’t mean social media should be neglected. In fact, an effective social media campaign could be a crucial investment for organisations, with 41% of people choosing a healthcare provider based on their social media reputation! And the reason? The success of social campaigns is usually attributed to the fact audiences can engage with the content on familiar platforms.

Automotive: Online research

According to Google’s (in association with TNS) Drive To Decide Report, car shoppers are more digitally inclined than before, with over 82% of the UK’s over 18 population having internet access, 85% owning a smartphone, and 65% preferring their smartphone as a means to get online. These figures show that for car dealerships to keep their head in the game, a digital transition with the help of a marketing agency such as, is absolutely vital.

The same data showed that 90% of car buyers do online research prior to their purchase. 51% of buyers starting their auto research online, with 41% of those using a search engine. To capture those shoppers beginning their research online, car dealers must think in terms of the customer’s micro moments of influence, which could include online display ads – one marketing method that currently occupies a significant proportion of car dealers’ marketing budgets.

The automotive industry was second only to the retail sector in terms of the total UK Digital Ad Spending Growth in 2017, accounting for 11% according to eMarketer. The automotive industry is forecast to see a further 9.5% increase in ad spending in 2018.

How is online influencing the decisions of sales on the forecourt? 41% of shoppers who research online find their smartphone research ‘very valuable’. 60% said they were influenced by what they saw in the media, of which 22% were influenced by marketing promotions – proving online investment is working.

The car industry still invests more heavily in TV and radio marketing, but in the last five years, its digital marketing spend has increased from fifth to third most popular, with a 10.6% increase in expenditure.

Is their value to the investment?

Clearly, online marketing investment is vital across all sectors. With a clear increase in online demand in both sectors that is changing the purchase process, some game players could find themselves out of the game before it has even begun if they neglect digital.

But for others, like utilities, more facets must be considered: TV and digital seem to be driving sales, but comparison site presence must also be factored in. Without the correct marketing, advertising or listing on comparison sites, you could fall behind. It is for that reason that it is imperative that a business decides to choose a marketing agency that is right for them.

The average firm in 2018 is predicted to set aside at least 41% of its marketing budget towards online tactics, and this figure is set to grow to 45% by 2020, according to Social media advertising investments is expected to represent 25% of total online spending and search engine banner ads are also expected to grow significantly too – all presumably as a result of more mobile and online usage.

What do you think about the investment in marketing? Is it worth the cost? Surely, if online and mobile use continues to increase as it has done in the past few years, the investment is not just acceptable, but critical.


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