Everyone knows that digital spend is a significant part of a dealer’s marketing budget, yet the majority of dealers aren’t able to accurately analyze the effectiveness of their digital marketing campaigns.
This is because the reporting they have access to only delivers part of the picture. Depending on the source, the information can be skewed to show results that aren’t necessarily 100% accurate.
Simply put, a typical dealership receives reports from numerous directions: Google, website providers, email marketers, SEM/SEO agencies, social media marketers, third-party lead providers, and more.
Making these reports even more difficult to digest is the fact that they will most likely come in different formats—some as PDFs, others as Excel docs, etc.—and offer different metrics, often with conflicting results.
Navigating through a myriad of web reports is time-consuming and ineffective. The reports either provide too much or too little information, and they often conflict with one another.
It’s ironic that with so much data available, dealers often just have to believe what vendors tell them.
As the number of “newest and greatest” digital solutions pile up on managers’ desks, the need is increasing for dealers to hold marketing partners accountable for delivering clearly attributable leads that can actually be converted to sales.
Having visibility into which sources—on- and offline—nurtured and generated each lead, versus simply attributing the lead to the last touch point, will go a long way to helping you understand how to better mete out your digital spend.
For example, a customer may start their journey at a manufacturer’s website, then visit a review site, move on to Facebook and then to a third-party listing site, end up on your dealership’s website, and perhaps leave for another Google search or to read reviews on yet another site.
Clearly, attributing a lead conversion to a single page, source, or form isn’t giving you the whole picture into your spend. It simply means you’re making decisions based on “bad” data.
Because of this, lead attribution has become a hot topic. Platforms are being developed to help dealers target this common pain point, allowing you to map out the complete customer journey in one easy-to-read interface that hones in on the data you need to make decisions.
Here are a few questions to consider when thinking about lead attribution:
- How much of the traffic that reaches your website converts into qualified leads? How about into sales?
- How many unique visitors does your website receive from paid search (not including brokers, bots, and other dealers canvassing your site)? Do they come from email or regular mail campaigns, dealer-locator sites, third-party sites, or social media campaigns?
- Can you specifically track VDP engagement to conversion?
- Do the tools you have enable you to track cross-domain traffic for consumer intensity? For example, if a customer visits several different sites before (or after) visiting your website, can you see their complete journey?
- Are you collecting the right consumer data, and accurately attributing it?
- Do you have the ability to report and see the entire customer journey, including each interaction with your dealership?
- Are you able to distinguish between new and returning consumers? If a consumer visits your website multiple times, does your reporting count them as the same visitor, or as multiple visitors?
- If an SEM vendor claims an increase in sales leads is attributable to a specific campaign it developed, do you take the time to review online and telephone traffic—and correlate it to real sales results—to verify its claims?
Taking this to the next level, imagine if you could also easily track information like which VDPs each visitor views (and how many times), the number of competitor websites a prospect visits, and even which web visitors are hot prospects, ready to purchase a vehicle or service?
It’s difficult to do all these things with the reporting you can currently access from Google Analytics and third-party vendors. A first step is to make sure your dealership does the basics for every marketing dollar spent, and insist that vendors’ reporting shows you all conversions for VDPs, including which vehicles bring the most conversions and whether that’s via a lead form, call, or chat.
Also, be sure your reporting lets you compare the effectiveness of every digital marketing source—whether it’s Facebook, Pandora, emails, or banner ads—so you can invest in those that generate the most conversions.
It’s time to replace what has become a digital wall of undecipherable data with a window to solve one of the biggest headaches dealers confront: effective management and optimization of digital spend.
Lead attribution must become transparent and easier to digest so dealers can measure campaign performance without needing a degree in statistical analytics.
The technology is there to make this happen. Now’s the time to get a better handle on what your marketing spend is really doing, and where those website customers are coming from.0