Acura, by a significant margin, has the best-rated OEM mobile website. It's followed by Cadillac, Porsche, and Chrysler, as other mobile manufacturers' sites top-rated by shoppers.
That's according to the J.D. Power 2014 Automotive Mobile Site Study, which gauges website effectiveness through four measures: information/content, navigation, appearance, and speed.
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And those measures make a tremendous difference, potentially, in visitor engagement. According to J.D. Power, visitors are far more likely—about ten times as likely—to share information about a vehicle on social media from a site if they've had an exceptional experience versus one that's qualified as poor.
Among those, one third will share something via social media. And what those visitors share is more often visual content (nearly half the time exterior images), followed by interior images, videos, and payment or dealer information.
What makes an exceptional experience? Videos and 360-degree view tools are also particularly positive in shoppers' impression, according to the firm.
The appearance of the website also truly matters; and in general, it accounted for the largest gap in satisfaction between the OEM sites and the group of third-party websites considered.
The winning Acura site is very simple; it loads quickly and within other pages has a straightforward navigation structure, with tabs and intuitive navigation through menus up above or to the left. Finding photos and viewing them in galleries is easy. Among the two lowest-rated sites, Kia and Lexus, we see a modern look, yet with a navigation structure that isn't always straightforward, or one that varies across sections of the site.
By logical extension, some brands are missing out on the 'in-market' opportunity that mobile sites provide in reaching shoppers.
The study looks at the features and content of the sites, and their usefulness in the shopping process; it includes a total of 11,451 evaluations of such sites, conducted in July and August 2014, by those who intend to purchase a new vehicle within the next two years.
Power also weighed the appearance of OEM sites against those of a particular group of third-party vehicle-information and shopping mobile sites [full disclosure, h, and found that shoppers are more likely to build and price a vehicle or search inventory on an OEM site than on third-party sites.
Acura mobile site on iPhone - as viewed 10/9/2014