Automotive content marketing gold: dogs, car seats and cameras

How car-related searches suggest a valuable role for automotive content marketing…

Think With Google has published a new report (February 2018) on trends within the auto sector – and what it unearthed is not only interesting for car accessory brands but also as automotive content marketing opportunities for brands themselves.

The report pulled in top volume queries from Google Search and YouTube as well as comments and insight from 100 consumers across Germany, United States and Japan to understand how trends are appearing in people’s lives.

As you’d expect, the report unearths interesting details about… OK, the true craziness of us as a human race.


In the US, it’s a sad time for car radios and fuzzy steering wheel and carseat covers as search shows a decreasing lack of interest in such things. The real winners are pets: users are searching for car seats, covers, hammocks(!), seat belts and steps for dogs!

In Germany, it’s all about the music with searches for subwoofers and the like as well as car cameras and car accessories for children. Whereas in Japan, indicators show a consumer desire to customize car interiors with accessories, cute car seat covers and rear seat monitors among other things.

‘I have a Rilakkuma steering wheel cover, with Gachapin and Mukku cushions. I’m happy being surrounded by what I love inside the car,’ says Pooh N, Japan.

As Google says,

‘With every query typed into a search bar, users provide a glimpse into their considerations and intentions.’

It’s obvious how this data is interesting for car accessory manufacturers and car brands from a product development perspective.

But it’s also interesting for how brands market themselves via automotive content marketing. If these are key to what automotive consumers are really interested in, wouldn’t you want to align your cars with these trends?

It’s obvious.

How dogs can offer automotive content marketing goldWhat’s more, it would make for such fun, online-friendly content. Who doesn’t want to see a dog in a car seat with a seat belt on!? Who wouldn’t feel some glimmer of appreciation for a brand showing that?

For other brands selling online, this would be marketing gold. But in the UK, the automotive industry is predominantly trapped by its historic relationship with dealerships and big budget brand building collateral like car ads and brochures which take time to produce.

Reacting to this kind of data-insight needs to happen fast. But as a digital sales tool, it’s invaluable in driving users seeking to buy online. However, there are still only a handful of brands operating in the ecommerce space within the UK: Peugeot, Hyundai and Smart cars are in the minority and BMW is just starting its ecommerce journey.

However, in China, this move in the market is already underway with car brands opening virtual showrooms and partnering with ecommerce sites.

BMW, Maserati, Chang’an Automobile Group and Chery Automobile have already opened shops on Alibaba’s Tmall platform where consumers can pay deposits online and receive additional discounts.

Chinese car trading site Autohome has already launched an augmented reality-based virtual auto show with 360 degree footage of vehicles users can access through smartphones.

In 2016, one million vehicles worth $15 billion were sold online in China, according to consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

How this approach continues here in the UK, we’ll have to wait and see. However, it helps highlight what car brands need to be doing and the role story and user-focused information should be playing.

Sure, we need to know the things a car brand wants us to know about adjustable exterior mirrors or rear parking sensors. But what’s also useful is whether we can get a buggy in the boot and if our dog can catch a ride.


If you would like to discuss branded content with us, please make contact with Jason Elkins via or +44 (0)1603 664242.

To find out more about brand communities and content, you can download our free report The Benefits of Brand Communities free of charge, HERE.