Analysis by Crescendo Consulting has revealed that online media coverage is far more effective than SEO (search engine optimisation) in driving UK car sales via generic search. The Crescendo analysis revealed that the way in which consumers come across online media coverage is vital, with online coverage that is found and then read via Google search results being just as important as that read directly on the web. At the same time the study found no evidence linking car sales and ‘owned’ media generated by SEO.
The analysis used Crescendo’s PRSV (Public Relations Search Value) media evaluation system, which uniquely determines the size of audience reached by coverage based on what consumers are most likely to see and read. Crucially, this includes online media coverage found by consumers when using Google search as well as sites they visit directly on the web. PRSV also enables websites to be separated into owned and earned constituents, with ‘earned’ then separated into online media coverage and other content.
Comparing sales for 35 car brands against online media coverage measured by PRSV for the same brands in generic search results revealed a strong relationship, with a correlation coefficient of 0.83 at a confidence level of 99.99999%. No link was found between owned sites and sales.
Commenting on the findings, Crescendo director, Mark Westaby, says: “Almost 90% of new car purchasers use the Internet as part of their buying process and the vast majority use search throughout their purchasing journey. The findings of our study have massive implications for public relations, SEO and digital marketing as they reveal the dramatically growing importance of online media coverage in generating sales through generic Google and other search engine results.”
Westaby believes the PR industry now has a golden opportunity to prove its true business value. He continues: “The findings of our analysis are very clear. Search plays a key role in driving sales and online media coverage is increasingly at or near the top of Google and other search engine results. If I’m a consumer using search to buy a new car, which 90% of us will do, then the chances are that I’ll be reading media coverage as much, if not more than owned content driven by SEO. This puts PR at the very heart of sales and marketing.”
Data for the Crescendo study was taken from The Car Report, which is a monthly analysis covering 44 major car brands in the UK. More details about The Car Report are available here