Breakthrough Automotive Dealership Mystery Shop Study by Digital Air Strike Tests Facebook Messenger and Online Lead Response - Digital Air Strike

Breakthrough Automotive Dealership Mystery Shop Study by Digital Air Strike Tests Facebook Messenger and Online Lead Response

Breakthrough Automotive Dealership Mystery Shop Study by Digital Air Strike Tests Facebook Messenger and Online Lead Response

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., – (January 25, 2018)

Results Provide Specific Insights and Opportunities for Dealerships to Better Serve Consumers and Sell More in 2018.

Digital Air Strike™, the leading social media and digital engagement company, today released the findings of a first-of-its-kind 2018 Digital Air Strike Mystery Shop Study, conducted with more than 1,500 automotive dealerships from around the U.S. to help better understand the competitive landscape of automotive internet lead response including how dealerships respond to car buyers on Facebook Messenger. The study took place over four months and included leads submitted on dealers’ websites and through Facebook’s Messenger app.

“Today’s car buyers are very savvy and want an immediate, specific response to their inquiries from all mediums including Facebook Messenger,” said Alexi Venneri, co-founder and CEO of Digital Air Strike. “We wanted to get a better understanding of how dealers truly respond to leads. The results reveal a tremendous opportunity for dealerships and manufacturers to improve their lead responses including increased use of Facebook Messenger, combined with the power of Facebook Marketplace, and to leverage more engagement tools such as financing calculators, vehicle photos/video and after-hours quoting tools that can bridge the gaps we found in automotive consumer interactions.”

  • Top lead response performance by OEM: Dealerships were sent a specific vehicle request including questions that required specific answers.  Dealerships ranked by OEM that answered the questions with specific vehicle information within 15 minutes (vs. not responding at all or responding without answers to questions).  The following dealerships ranked by OEM performed the best:

Mystery Shop OEM's

  • Fiat Chrysler               34%
  • Toyota                        20%
  • Mercedes                  18%
  • Ford                            17%
  • BMW                           16%
  • General Motors         15%
  • Honda                        13%

(OEM response time results without 95% confidence level: Mazda: 29%, Subaru: 18%, Hyundai:17%, Nissan 16%, Kia 15%, Audi:10%, Volkswagen:10%)

Top findings revealed by the 2018 Digital Air Strike Mystery Shop Study relating to response time and quality of response include:

  • Only 16% of all dealerships responded within 15 minutes and 18% didn’t respond at all. While the remaining 66% of dealerships did eventually respond, the average time across all stores and all OEMs to respond was more than 24 hours with some dealers taking up to four days to respond. Dealership best practices indicate when responses are sent within 10 minutes, a customer is three times more likely to visit the dealership.
  • Only 36% of the dealers responded to after-hours requests. This potentially represents lost business as multiple manufacturers have stated that up to 40% of all consumer leads are submitted when dealerships are closed. Consumers are shopping after work when no one is at the dealership to respond, however there are innovative tools that can provide intelligent responses to consumers even after hours.
  • 64% of dealerships didn’t respond to leads on Facebook Messenger. Over 1.3 billion consumers use Facebook Messenger as a direct line to reach businesses, a fact even more relevant now that Facebook Marketplace allows pre-owned vehicle inventory to automatically be showcased to consumers closest to dealerships. Whether it is a lack of knowledge or ability to leverage this powerful tool, many dealers are missing sales if they don’t respond to consumers on Facebook. Consumer use of Facebook Messenger is exploding and, according to Facebook, “autos” is one of the most popular categories on Facebook Marketplace with millions of Americans looking at vehicles each day.
  • Only 25% of dealerships provided pre-owned vehicle options, and only 15% provided additional new vehicle options. That means that 85% of dealerships are missing the opportunity to give customers options that may be better suited to their budgets. According to multiple industry sources, up to 45% of all consumers end up purchasing a different vehicle than the one they originally inquire about, so providing multiple vehicle choices in a response to a consumer has been shown to increase the chances of closing a deal with that consumer.
  • 53% of dealerships did not respond with a price nor any vehicle information despite the request to provide it. Today’s consumers want transparency and factual responses to questions – dealers that do not provide this are going to lose sales and customers. Additionally, only 31% of those that did provide price included lease and rebate information. Responses without the inclusion of financing options represent a huge missed opportunity for dealerships especially considering online calculators and other tools that are now readily available.
  • Only 19% of dealerships included vehicle photos and 1% included video in their response. The use of photos and video help dealerships stand out from their competition and provide transparency to consumers. According to Digital Air Strike’s Sixth Annual Automotive Social Media Trends Study, 48% of car buyers say a faster and more detailed response including actual vehicle photos and video would make them buy from one dealership over another. See more from our Sixth Annual Automotive Social Media Trends Study here.

Results from the Mystery Shop Study can be downloaded here.

Digital Air Strike offers free Mystery Shops to all dealerships. Dealers can request the reports for their dealership and their three closest competitors by visiting

About Digital Air Strike

Digital Air Strike is the leading social media and digital engagement company helping businesses internationally increase social engagement in digital and social environments while generating measurable ROI.

A pioneer in digital response, social marketing and online reputation management, Digital Air Strike deploys industry-specific mobile apps, software and managed service platforms to monitor, improve and manage consumer engagement for thousands of businesses in the United States and Canada including seven of the largest automotive manufacturers. More information is available at and

Media Contact:
Christina Wofford
(480) 421-5901 – direct
(602) 363-0134 – cell

Get Your 10-Minute Demo