Enjoying what you’re reading? Sign up now.


Year in Search 2022: Automotive Marketing

small illustrated figure standing and looking at blocks that spell 2022
Article Highlights:

  • Gasoline prices were an important factor in search this year.
  • Google added a local feature to their list of Year in Search Trends.

As our world has shifted over the course of the last few years, so have consumer behaviors across all industries, automotive included. Change was at the forefront of many people’s minds in 2022, and Google’s Year in Search reflects that.

By monitoring this year’s online search trends, marketers can go into the new year with a better understanding of what matters the most to consumers. Learn what customers searched for this year and how to put these insights to work for your dealership moving forward.

Personal Touch

With all of the changes that have occurred over the course of the last few years, it’s no surprise that interest in topics related to personal improvement increased:

On a global level, interest in personal development and growth reached an all-time high in 2022. Phrases like “can I change my life” and “how to be better” were searched more than ever before, not to mention there was an increase in searches related to topics such as being more mindful, becoming a better friend, and finding your passions.

As people strived to grow as individuals, many also sought for ways to come together and help the global community. Searches for “how to help Ukraine” and “can I create change” were increasingly popular.

This might be the part where you start to wonder what all of this could possibly mean for your dealership! Consider these things your dealership can do to better align with your customer base (or call attention to your shared values):

  • Show you care—people (especially in younger generations like Gen Z) want to support businesses that reflect their own values. If your dealership cares about a specific social cause, let your customers know—odds are you’ll find that many of them care as well.
  • Find Inspiration—what makes you proud to be in the automotive industry? Maybe it’s a fundraiser you enjoy participating in, or the story of someone you work with. Inspiration comes from all sorts of places (and we won’t judge, we promise), but whatever the answer is, sharing that with your social media following can help customers see all the ways that you’re just like them. Bonus: add this to your dealership’s About Us page so those visiting your site can find just how much they relate to your story.
  • Meet the change; don’t avoid it—when dealerships fail to evolve with the interests of their customers, they put themselves at risk. The simple solution? Work to implement the changes that your customers would like to see, such as the ability to purchase a car fully online or making the repair process as hassle free as possible. Embracing change often leads to very positive outcomes.

Adding Fuel to the Fire

Any recap of 2022 would feel incomplete without a mention of the spiking gas prices that affected drivers everywhere over the spring and summer months. As the cost of filling up increased, Google found the frequency of these search terms increased as well:

  • “Gas prices near me” was the most popular “near me” search in 2022 across the entire US.
  • “Diesel shortage” was the most searched “shortage” in the US.
  • The term “recession” was the 5th most searched for “definition” in the US.
  • “¿Qué es una recesión?” (what is a recession) was the 5th most popular search starting with “Qué es”.

Fuel prices have always impacted car buying decisions, but the most recent boost in gasoline prices, mixed with the global desire for change, created the perfect environment for interest in EVs to grow.

As the interest in fuel efficiency and alternative energy options continue, your dealership can benefit from helping customers explore all of their choices. By positioning your dealership as a trusted resource for consumers as they explore electric, hybrid, or simply more efficient ICE vehicles, you can establish long, profitable relationships. Explore the ways in which your dealership can have meaningful conversations about EV options with interested customers in our blog post dedicated to this topic.

Think Small

New this year, Google added a local feature to their list of Year in Search Trends. This means that viewers are able to see what searches were most frequent within their specific area, as well as see how that differed from country-wide or even global searches.

This feature is as useful as it is interesting, especially for dealerships since most customers opt to buy a car from somewhere close to them. Let’s look at an example—according to Google, the area surrounding Dayton, OH, searched for ‘gas prices near me’ more than anywhere else in the US. Their top 5 trending “near me” searches were:

  1. Liquidation stores near me
  2. Diesel prices near me
  3. Cheapest gas near me
  4. Catholic church near me
  5. Gas prices near me

While we mentioned that gasoline prices were an important factor across the country, viewing things at a local level can help your dealership get a better picture of your specific market. For dealerships within the Dayton area (or even just dealerships with a strong customer base in Dayton), they might find success getting right message in front of the right people by focusing on fuel efficiency in both sales and service marketing. It’s important to consider local trends like this, as what’s popular in your specific area may not always align with what’s happening on a larger scale.


Industry insights, like Google’s “Year in Search” can act as a great starting point in determining what your customers are most interested in, and how your dealership can provide it for them. As 2022 comes to a close and your dealership begins to make decisions for the upcoming year, consider if your current marketing strategy is achieving the results you desire, or if your marketing could use an upgrade.

Share this Article

Mollie is a Marketing Communications Specialist at Reynolds and Reynolds. Since joining the team in 2022, she’s guided initiatives for Reynolds marketing products, produced the Connected podcast, and worked with dealers to collect testimonials and success stories. Mollie received her bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and English from Marietta College. She also obtained an associate’s degree in Marketing from Rhodes State College.

Related Articles:

Woman holding mobile phone

Texting Tips: 5 Steps to Better Messaging

Fine tune your texting skills to send an impactful message every time.

Maximizing Your Marketing Potential with QR Codes

Nearly 89 million US smartphone users scanned a QR code with their mobile devices in 2022 – a number predicted to reach more than 100

ipad with Google displayed on screen

Build a (Google) Profile You Can Be Proud Of

Your customer is searching for a trustworthy mechanic. If your dealership doesn’t appear, how could they possibly choose you? That’s where your Google Business Profile

Robotic hand reaching out to touch human hand.

From Bots to Buyers: How AI is Changing Dealerships

Learn how to navigate the exciting landscape of Artificial Intelligence, and how it can help your dealership thrive in this new age of technology.