U.S. auto manufacturers could increase sales via the web using content marketing.

As Brafton reported, digital ad spending reached the $100-billion mark in 2012, and experts project brands will allocate even more toward practices like content marketing in 2013. The figures suggest that businesses across all industries have begun to take advantage of online marketing opportunities, using social media content, written copy and video content to drive brand engagement and generate meaningful leads.

However, a few sectors still lag behind, and by no fault of their own. For example, new-car sales almost never take place online, even though internet users and manufacturers show an interest in growing ecommerce for the auto market, eMarketer reports.

eMarketing Cap survey

According to recent U.S. census data, new-car sales account for 15.8 percent of all U.S. retail activity. Just over 7 percent of U.S. retail sales come from online car sales, Forrester Research and Barclays Research estimates. While fewer vehicles find new homes via the ‘net today, a growing percentage of both buyers and sellers report they’d be open to buying cars online in the future. According to survey data from Capgemini, 35 percent of American new-vehicle buyers reported that they would be likely or very likely to buy cars online – up from 21 percent in 2009. Worldwide, overall positivism for purchasing automobiles online reached 42 percent in 2012, with new markets in Brazil, China and India leading the way.

Auto dealers should explore online marketing opportunities in 2013 to better understand how U.S. car buyers feel about purchasing and mentally test driving vehicles online. Content marketing could be a valuable asset, as publishing branded content to dealership websites could create online communities that attract prospective buyers and provide them with educational content that informs their research processes. Car manufacturers may not see great ecommerce success presently, but with well-developed web content strategies, sales and interest may increase moving forward.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.