Automotive Inspire: SUVs – AU Market

Automotive Inspire: SUVs – AU Market

Insights and Trends Around SUVs

The bigger the car, the better, right? This inspire looks at insights and trends around all things SUV, including when and how people are searching for them, what characteristics around SUVs are in the highest demand, and how searching for particular brands fluctuate over time. The audience behind SUV searches is unpacked, as well as different personas created around types of SUV searches in order to understand how to better target and reach these audiences.

Key Takeaways


Seasonal Trends
Searches around SUVs and the Automotive-Manufacturers industry as a whole saw drops in volume around Christmas. Surprisingly, the last few weeks have seen promising uplifts in searches around SUVs, with classified websites being the main traffic winners from these terms.

Search Demand
Search demand around the keywords “best”, “2016”, and “small” provides great insight into what people value when searching for SUVs. Looking at seasonality around the term 2017 shows next year’s model searches are already on the rise.

Product & Brand Demand
There is no one brand which has consistently received more searches over other brands, making it anyone’s game. However, uplifts in demand around certain brands usually coincide with the new year or releases of new models.

Target Audiences
The audience behind SUV review searches are more likely to be mature and more affluent compared to audiences who search for “best” or “small” SUVs.

Search Demand & Seasonality

When and how are people searching for SUVs?


Searches around SUVs decreased by 38% from November to late December 2015, which saw the lowest search volume over the previous 11 month period. The Automotive-Manufacturers industry also saw a 16% decrease in visit share over the same period, suggesting people are less likely to be in the research phase for cars over the holiday season.

Interestingly, after a low volume period of searches following uplifts from end of financial year sales, SUV searches increased by 63% from July to August 2016. The top sites receiving the most traffic form SUV searches are carsguide.com.au (11.05%), Carsales.com.au (4.89%), and Car Advice (4.67%) – all classified sites, rather than manufacturers.

The chart below shows seasonality of searches to a portfolio consisting of all variations around the term “SUV” over an 11 month period.

AU SUV Report: Seasonality

Search Demand & Seasonality

When and how are people searching for SUVs?


Looking at individual keywords in SUV searches can further help us understand demand. For instance, the third and fifth most common terms mentioned in the SUV search portfolio provide some very interesting insight into seasonality and defining features around SUVs that people are actively searching for.

AU SUV Report: Top Keywords

The fact that the keyword “small” received 6.76% of search clicks suggests that bigger might not be better after all. This search behaviour indicates that although people are looking at generally large vehicles, they are still conscious of size. The keyword “best” also tells us that at least 14.74% of people searching for SUVs are actively comparison shopping. Form the chart below, we see that best SUV searches are overall more popular than small SUV searches over the last 11 months.

AU SUV Report: Keyword Seasonality

The model year of a vehicle is often among the most common keywords, as shown above (the keyword “2016” ranked 4th, receiving 10.30% of search clicks). However, examining the seasonality around year show sus when consumers start searching for a year and when they move on to the next. The chart below shows how search demand rises and falls around terms that reference year.

We can see that 2016 SUVs searches are still in high demand; however, the graph below suggests 2016 SUV terms are starting to trend downwards, whilst searches that include 2017 are on the rise as of early July. 2017 terms are already receiving a larger volume of searches than 2016 terms did around the same time last year. Looking at trends over the past 11 months, we can expect to see the decrease in 2016 terms and increase in 2017 terms continue well into the new year, with 2017 taking the lead around February.

AU SUV Report: Year Search Variations

Brand Demand

Which brands are most searched for when looking at SUVs?


Looking again at the top individual keywords from SUV search variations, we can uncover search demand for particular brands. Nissan, Mazda, Mercedes, Lexus, and Ford appear in the top 20 most-searched individual keywords, making them our front running brands when it comes to search variations around SUVs over the last 12 months.

Creating search term portfolios for each of the five leading brands and trending them over time allow us to see seasonal variations in demand. From the chart below, you’ll see that while there are no consistent winners, most of the brands enjoyed periods of high search volumes over the last 11 months.

For instance, SUV searches including Mercedes peaked in December 2015, coinciding with the release of the new GLC SUV and a surge in searches around the new vehicle. The Mazda SUV portfolio saw its largest share in late February, with increases in searches for their new range such as “new mazda suv price” (8.67%. Planning campaigns in periods of new release “downtime” would be most effective, as we know this is when competitors are traditionally not the strongest.

AU SUV Report: Branded Variations

SUV Audience

What does the audience searching for SUVs look like?


Using the AudienceView platform, we can now start to understand what the audience behind the SUV searches looks like and how we can best reach them. For instance, when examining an audience defined as those who searched for a variation in our SUV portfolio, we found that 25-34 year old males living in Tasmania are the most over-represented compared to the online population.

AU SUV Report: Audience Profile

No surprise that the most affluent Mosaic group, Exclusive Environs (A) are the most over-indexed for this audience. But Mosaic group Books and Boots (I)–a group largely made up of young, single students unlikely to own a vehicle–are also over-indexing. Despite low vehicle ownership, the data reveals they are seeking to buy an SUV, or at least have aspirations to do so in the future, so could be a prime target.

The next section of this report will explore three target audiences for SUV searchers, including key takeaways for each to demonstrate how your messaging can be tailored accordingly.

SUV Audience


Three types of SUV searches were built into segments and grouped into:

AU SUV Report: Audience Types