How Car Sensor’s mobile app reaches car buyers in their micro-moments

March 2016

Recruit Marketing Partners' businesses span a wide range of industries, including Car Sensor, a used car information service. Recognizing their consumers were turning to mobile for research, the company developed a mobile app, which increased conversions and earned loyal users.


Increase conversions (inventory confirmations and estimate requests for used automobiles) from the Car Sensor mobile app

Earn loyal customers by strengthening relationships through the mobile app


Used deep links to seamlessly reach car buyers in key micro-moments

Served up relevant display ads using an in-app behavior log


Increased mobile app conversions to 15% of the total

Grew long-term conversions: conversions after the 31st week are 4X higher than the first week

Mobile app users have 526% more sessions and 1,573% more page views per unique user than desktop users

Today, more than half of Japanese people carry smartphones.1 As a result, consumer behavior has forever changed. When consumers want to know, do, buy, or go, they turn to their phones and expect brands to provide immediate answers. At Google, we call these micro-moments: crucial moments in which decisions are made and preferences are shaped.

Many of these micro-moments happen on mobile. According to Google research, 49% of Japanese consumers take search results into consideration when making purchase decisions.2 For initial searches, consumers use mobile more than any other device;3 and 40% of consumers say they’ve used a mobile device to compare products.2

Car Sensor, a used car information service, and its operator, Recruit Marketing Partners, saw the opportunity to embrace micro-moments and followed three steps:

Identify consumers’ micro-moments

Recruit Marketing Partners knew that consumers looking to purchase cars have many I-want-to-know and I-want-to-buy moments throughout their journeys. In fact, 70% of searches for popular vehicle models are made from a smartphone.4

Research conducted by Recruit Marketing Partners also revealed that people’s tendency to look for information on their smartphones and mobile apps is likely to increase. Knowing this, the company invested in its mobile app with the goal of increasing conversions and winning loyal users.

2. Deliver the right information at the right time

To make its mobile app convenient and helpful to car buyers, Recruit Marketing Partners took two approaches. First, it outfitted the mobile app with deep links. Users who had already installed the app would see a link to a specific section of the app when searching for vehicle images on Google. This made it possible for users to navigate to the corresponding image of the vehicle model in the mobile app with just one click.

Second, the company displayed ads tailored to each user by leveraging its in-app behavior log. It could show the most relevant creative content to each user based on brand and price preferences.

3. Measure the results

Since searches and conversions within the mobile app may occur several months after its installation, Recruit Marketing Partners determined ROI based on Life Time Value CPA (LTVCPA), which considers a six-month period from the time of installation instead of just relying on the app's CPI.

As a result of the company’s efforts, the number of conversions from the mobile app has gradually risen and now accounts for roughly 15% of total conversions.

Conversions by Device

How Car Sensor’s Mobile App Reaches Car Buyers in Their Micro-Moments-1

Car Sensor also succeeded in winning loyal users: Thirty-one weeks after the user’s first visit, conversions were more than 4X higher than during the first week. Mobile app users also generated 526% more sessions and 1,573% more page views per unique user than desktop users.

Sessions and Page Views by Device

How Car Sensor’s Mobile App Reaches Car Buyers in Their Micro-Moments-2

Lastly, display ad remarketing also yielded impressive results. Compared to the PC campaign, the remarketing cost per acquisition was 2% lower on mobile web and 24% lower on the mobile app.

How Car Sensor’s Mobile App Reaches Car Buyers in Their Micro-Moments-3

The future is all about micro-moments

As they move forward, Car Sensor and Recruit Marketing Services are going to continue delivering on consumers’ micro-moments.

Recruit Marketing Partners’ Operating Office of Internet Business, Sakurai Kohei said, "In the future, I want to focus on the idea of micro-moments that Google advocates. When we conducted ethnographic research through a different medium to closely analyze the behavior of a large number of consumers, we found a certain amount of mobile usage during those in-between moments, like when waiting for an elevator. I think it will become more important in the future to understand and respond to the specific behavior of consumers."

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