10 WAYS TO BOOST SOCIAL CONVERSION WITH AUTOHOOK INCENTIVES

A How to Guide for Dealers

Why Social? Marketing 101 says if you want to effectively reach your customers you have to be where they are, or “in the right place at the right time.” Social media represents the most widely utilized communication channel in existence. Salesforce reported 66% of all Internet usage occurs on social sites. Facebook takes the cake as the most widely used platform with 80% of Americans using it on a regular basis (talk about being where your customers are).

Why AutoHook Incentives? That’s an easy one. In order for a customer to redeem an AutoHook incentive, they have to physically walk into a dealership. We all know the chances of selling a vehicle drastically increase when you’re able to get shoppers off the Internet and into your store. But what AutoHook does that’s even more important than driving more showroom visits (yes there are more important things), is we use the most up-to-date sales match reporting to prove exactly which incentive offers resulted in a sale.  

Below are 10 ways to boost the revenue driving opportunities already available to you as an AutoHook customer. Simply reach out to your AutoHook Client Service Specialist (CSS) to implement any of the examples listed below. They will help you set up campaigns and make sure these efforts convert into sales or service appointments.

1. PLUG INCENTIVES INTO YOUR EXISTING SOCIAL CAMPAIGNS

Plugging in an incentive into any social campaign is very simple to do. All AutoHook needs to know is the URL of the landing page you want to drive traffic to - whether it’s a specific vehicle, model, service offer, or special. We then provide you with a trackable link you can drop into any Facebook or social campaign. We attach a unique identifier to every offer so we can prove sales attribution for your store. Furthermore, we source out every link separately so that you can differentiate which specific AutoHook campaign converted into a showroom visit or sale in your CRM.

  • Customize Time Frame & Offer Amount: All we need from you is the landing page you’d like to promote, the value of the incentive you’d like to offer and the time frame in which you’d like the campaign to run.
  • Ex: Boost your new vehicle specials with a $50 offer.

2. USE YOUR CRM DATA TO CREATE CUSTOM AUDIENCES

We know no two dealers and no two markets are the same. Therefore, we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. Despite what vendors try to tell you, no one knows your pain points better than you. The most valuable data you have at your fingertips is your own customer data. Use this to pull targeted lists that address your unique needs and then work with a Client Service Specialist (CSS) to implement the campaign on social.

Here are a few examples to get the wheels turning:

  • Pull a list of customers who are in equity and provide an incentive for them to get into a new vehicle for the same monthly cost.
  • Consolidate a list of all active leads across all your 3rd party sources and retarget those individuals all in one place.
  • Use equity-mining software such as AutoAlert to identify all customers in your market who have upcoming contracts ending on a lease or purchase.
  • Target customers who visited your service drive but did not purchase from you.

3. ELIMINATE WASTED TIME & MONEY

Wouldn’t it help to know which leads in your CRM have already purchased so you don’t waste time and money trying to sell them? A high percentage of car buyers are only in market for a relatively short period of time. Through near real time sales data from Urban Science, AutoHook can help you identify which customers are no longer in market for a vehicle. No one (not even the OEMs) has access to this data within DAYS after sales transactions occur (rather weeks or months). Work with your CSS to create a suppression list of all the customers currently in your CRM that have already purchased a vehicle elsewhere.   

4. INCREASE CUSTOMER RETENTION

This is a HUGE and often undervalued aspect of the car business. Retention is half the battle. We know 30% of people will defect to a different brand after their lease is up. Use an incentive to ensure they come back to your store to test drive the newest model or any other vehicle they might be interested in. Mine your CRM data to find consumers who are “in equity” or who have a lease coming to term in the next 3-6 months.

5. TARGET UNDERPERFORMING MODELS

Real Dealer Case Study: Germain Ford of Beavercreek

  • Using the data found within the MarketMaster tool and Urban Science’s shared sales database, AutoHook identified specific areas of opportunity for Germain Ford of Beavercreek to grow their market share by targeting the top three models they were losing to competitors (including the Ford Focus, Fusion, and Edge). We then implemented a $50 test-drive incentive on all Focus, Fusion and Edge VDPs and SRPs, while running social campaigns to drive traffic to those pages. The result was a 47% reduction in overall lost sales (pump-in). Click here to see the complete case study.

Can’t move a VIN off your lot? Try increasing the dollar amount of the test-drive incentive.

6. TARGET UNDERPERFORMING AREAS

Utilizing Market Master, AutoHook can help you identify the zip codes in which you’re losing the most sales opportunities. We can also show you the areas with the highest levels of pump-in sales and increase the incentive offer to come in for a test-drive in those underperforming areas. This will help you take back market share from the top brand competitors in your market.

Never heard of Market Master? A lot of dealers don’t know this powerful revenue driver exists. Market Master is an Urban Science tool that uses near real-time sales data to identify the biggest areas of opportunity within your market. It’s typically located within your dealer portal through your OEM (currently available for Ford, FCA, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, and Nissan). 

7. CONQUEST TOP COMPETING BRANDS

Go after the models you know you’re losing to competitive brands in your market. Tailor the creative and messaging in your social ads to express why your brand is the better choice. For example, “Before you go back into a new Ford F150 here’s a $50 Visa Gift Card to come in and test drive the Dodge Ram at Hometown Chrysler.”

8. PLUG INTO VIDEO PRE-ROLL

Custom links can be embedded directly into your video ads on Facebook. Need to move more of a certain model, try offering $25-50 just for coming in to test-drive the featured vehicle. Chances are, if they’re watching the video, they’re already interested.

9. SECURE MORE FIXED OPS APPOINTMENTS

Running service specials? Why not promote them on social to get more exposure? Use incentives in your service and parts campaigns on social sites. Here are a few examples:

  • Schedule a service appointment and get a $25 Visa gift card.
  • Buy 4 tires get a $50 Visa Gift Card.
  • Get a $10 Amazon Gift Card just for getting your oil changed with us.

10. BOOST HOLIDAY SPECIALS

Memorial Day is coming up! Lift the performance of your limited time holiday offers with a $25 gift incentive (or an amount of your choice). Dealers spend countless amounts of money to get customers in the door. Why not spend another $25 to ensure the sale? This same idea can be deployed throughout the year to increase sales around the holidays and give wings to your current specials and holiday sales events. 

To conclude, the opportunities in which you can leverage AutoHook to boost the performance of your social campaigns are limitless. Plus you have the attribution reporting that goes along with it, so you know we’re delivering results in the form of sales and service revenue.

In January of 2017, AutoHook opened up our API so that other best in class technology vendors could tie in our incentive offers to their own existing solutions. SOCIALDEALER is the latest partner to join in our open API initiative. Current and future clients of SOCIALDEALER will see even higher form fill conversion rates on social due to their integration with AutoHook’s API. To learn more about the new capabilities of this partnership, click here.

IS VENDOR INTEGRATION THE NEW INNOVATION?

A Tale That Proves 2 Technology Leaders are Better Than 1

By David Metter

Too many companies these days suffer as a result of being close-minded. They think innovation means constantly developing new solutions to better service dealers and OEMs. I’d like to challenge that mindset. What happened to sticking with what you’re best at? I’m not saying don’t dream big, but I am recommending you dream a little smarter. Too often vendors attempt to do things they’re never going to be good at. For example, I know AutoHook will never be great at social advertising. We could do it, and we could do a decent job, but what’s the point of doing anything if you don’t do it right?

Great solutions are a result of knowing what you’re best at and holding on tight to that. In my opinion, strategic partnerships might just be the new and improved form of innovation within the automotive space – and here’s why. AutoHook’s core competency is securing our private offer and incentive rail system within dealerships and directly proving the source that led to a sale or a new to brand buyer. We’re great at attribution reporting because of the data we have access to through Urban Science. We’re never going to be great at Facebook ads, but we know SOCIALDEALER is.

To provide some color, AutoHook opened up our API in January of 2017 so that reputable partners could access our redemption platform and proven attribution engine at no cost to them or their dealer clients. SOCIALDEALER is the latest company to join in our open API initiative to advance actionable data and simply deliver a higher ROI through these types of technology integrations.

SOCIALDEALER’s core competency is in converting customers through social media advertising. Now that they have tied into the redemption rail system AutoHook has already put into place, they can prove exactly which social campaigns resulted in an incremental sale or service appointment. Having the ability to tie in what we’re best at with what another vendor is best at and execute on that to sell and service more cars (and prove it)…now that, that is innovation.

By integrating with our private offer and attribution API, SOCIALDEALER can do more than just show conversions from their solutions to more showroom traffic. They can validate to their dealer clients if a vehicle was purchased as a direct result of their own existing ad platform. This open and unified approach presents countless opportunities for innovation that benefits all parties involved. Most importantly, it benefits the dealers and OEMs that no longer have to pay the integration fees vendors typically charge to work with other vendors.

Here’s a breakdown of how this whole open API thing works. SOCIALDEALER can now use AutoHook’s redemption rail system to serve inventory-specific test drive offers to highly targeted audiences on Facebook. For example, if a customer views a vehicle details page on a dealer’s website and later goes on Facebook to post a picture of their cat, SOCIALDEALER will then retarget that shopper and strategically plug in an AutoHook incentive to visit XYZ dealer to test-drive the vehicle they previously viewed or showed interest in. Through a vast network of data partners (yes more vendor integration) SOCIALDEALER will plug a test drive incentive offer directly into their Facebook ads AND with prepopulated form fields. All the customer has to do to redeem their incentive is hit submit and show up at the dealership. No one else in the space can do that.

We know conversion rates decrease when a customer is asked to fill out an online form with several fields of their personal information. Adding incentives to forms absolutely lifts conversion, but having the form already filled out with the customer's name and contact information, that’s just a no-brainer. That’s why this partnership defines innovation (along with all the other vendors in our API Partner Program).

Think about Salesforce and what happened after they decided to open up their interface and allow third party providers to integrate, for free. Their revenue grew exponentially and their adoption rates blew up. Now you can have video conference calls, send emails, post to social sites, and sign contracts all within Salesforce. Their AppExchange literally has 1,000 different apps available to their customers. That’s beyond valuable, and that’s exactly what being a little more open-minded can do for automotive. I mean heck, look what it did for Apple!

 

To learn more about AutoHook’s API Partner Program visit DriveAutoHook.com/Partners.

 

CASE STUDY: AutoHook PUMPS UP Market Share for Germain Ford of Beavercreek

In a down market, Germain Ford of Beavercreek needed a way to gain market share and reduce pump-in sales lost to their top two competitors. Using AutoHook's private incentive offers and sales match attribution reporting, they were able to reduce lost sales by 47% and gain 15.5% of their market share. 

SEE HOW WE DID IT! CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD.

5 Reasons to Attend PCG’s Automotive Engagement Conference

1. The Mission…

QUALITY > QUANTITY

Unlike any other conference in digital history, the Automotive Engagement Conference began as a collective mission to expose all digital entities guilty of not delivering QUALITY, measurable solutions to dealers. It all began as a dream, or more so, it began when industry leaders started waking up to a big problem. Study after study found evidence of dealerships paying for website traffic that consisted of BOTS – not humans – not actual people that were capable of purchasing a car, let alone converting into a showroom visit. The unfortunate reality is all too often digital advertising sources are charging dealers big bucks for clicks and impressions that did not engage with their website or the content and lead forms within it.

Orbee, an automotive software company that specializes in identifying bad website traffic, determined up to 60% of dealerships’ paid traffic, and up to 80% of their overall website traffic is coming from non-humans (or bots). Furthermore, Orbee’s late 2016 Automotive Website Traffic Quality Report stated, “Bot traffic is a $7 billion problem for the advertising industry and with dealership digital marketing budgets averaging $30-50K per month, the automotive industry must address this issue to prevent massive waste in digital adverting spend.”

Last year, Brian Pasch, host of the AEC Tour, began the PCG Engagement Project in efforts to measure the quality of traffic coming to dealer websites. “Once dealership managers understand the impact of not measuring engagement – their advertising blind spot — they will act to get their website(s) configured to start tracking engagement,” said Pasch.

Pasch’s mission to expose these “sharks” along with the rate of waste occurring under the radar was something AutoHook ethically HAD to get involved with. The AEC Tour isn’t your ordinary pay-to-play conference where vendors spend thousands of dollars just to get their product in front of dealers around the country. This is a movement. This is a collective mission to hold ALL automotive agencies and vendors accountable for providing their dealer clients with accurate reporting that shows their solutions deliver actual human traffic, capable of converting into a sale.

2. The Experts…

PCG has hand-picked the companies and presenters listed below because of the simple fact that their solutions are all proven to increase consumer engagement, and most importantly, increase sales from all lead opportunities. 

LEARN FROM AWARD-WINNING AUTOMOTIVE MAR-TECH EXPERTS

 

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3. The Content…

Dealers will learn proven methods to:

  • Accurately measure their website’s engagement metrics to further increase conversion rates and ELIMINATE areas of waste in their marketing spend.

  • Leverage marketing automation tools to create relevant advertising optimized by consumer engagement.
  • Improve their online communications strategies to increase conversions: leads, calls, chats, and text messages.
  • Lead their dealership in a digital age and protect your store from Digital Sharks!

AutoHook President, David Metter, will be presenting:

“99 Problems but the Data Ain’t 1” – Check out the teaser video below.

4. The Value…

+ $300 WORTH IN MATERIALS

+ AWESOME SWAG BAGS AND FREE PRIZES!

5. AutoHook Will Cover Half Your Ticket…

Tickets for the event cost only $50. Have you ever attended a conference for just $50? When you visit AutoHook at a city near you, we’ll reimburse you for half your ticket cost with a $25 Visa Card.

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Tactical Advice for Growth in a Flat or Down Market

FREE WEBINAR RECORDING

Only the lucky ones get to attend webinars like these. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to engage with the four marketing powerhouses with the secret sauce for digital success. AutoHook President, David Metter will be joined by David Kain (President, Kain Automotive), Todd Smith (Founder, ActivEngage) and Ken Kolodziej (Founder, String Automotive) to bring you tactical advice for growth in a flat or down market during this free, one-hour webinar + Q&A.

Learn from the industry’s masters of automotive data, sales process, conversion, and engagement measurement. Straight talk. Serious strategies. Next level digital targeting.

BOTS EXPOSED: Defining & Uncovering Your Wasted Ad Spend

| by David Metter

Over the last several months, it’s been refreshing to see more and more automotive leaders shifting their focus from quantity to quality when it comes to their website traffic and overall marketing. Rather than holding value in the number of site visits, the value has shifted to the percent of visitors that either complete a lead form or show up at a dealership. In other words, traffic that is capable of converting into sales or service revenue is the most valuable, and it’s the only type dealers should be paying for. There is an undeniable growing need for technology that flags sources that drive bad traffic so that those sources can be eliminated.

When I say bad traffic, I’m referring to BOTS. Bots (defined below) are also referred to as Internet crawlers or spiders. There are both good and bad types of Internet bots, but none of them are human, and none of them are capable of purchasing or test-driving a vehicle. Bots have been around for years, yet so many marketers still suffer from “bot traffic denial” thinking it couldn’t possibly happen to them. The reality is, no website is safe from these digital creepers. If you’re paying for digital marketing, you are absolutely paying for bot traffic – unless you fight back.

Source: Techopedia

Source: Techopedia

What’s The Big Problem?

The problem is SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS of wasted money. Orbee’s Q3 2016 Bot Traffic Report stated, “Bot traffic is a $7 billion problem for the advertising industry and with dealership digital marketing budgets averaging $30-50K per month, the automotive industry must address this issue to prevent massive waste in digital advertising spend.”

The setbacks these invasive pests present is incredibly simple. Dealers put a lot of trust (and a lot of money) into driving website visits when over half of their paid traffic could be derived from false or suspicious clicks. ClickZ warns advertisers, “Some non-human traffic is fraudulent and some merely causes a technical problem. Both kinds can cost advertisers a lot of money, whether intentionally or not.” Regardless of the type of bot, dealers and their advertising partners do not want bots clicking on their ads, generating bad traffic and sucking the life out of their finite monthly budget.

How Do I Avoid Bots?

When reviewing your vendor services, or if you’re considering a new advertising vendor, make sure to ask the questions that can save you thousands of dollars. Orbee recommends starting with the following questions:

1. What measures do you have in place to detect bot traffic?

2. What % of total traffic do you mark as bot traffic?

3. What is your refund policy regarding bot traffic?

Conquest Automotive has defined 5 red flags dealers and their vendors should look out for to identify bot traffic:

1. Percentage of Out of Market Visitors – If the majority of visits to the dealership’s website were outside of the dealership’s primary market area (PMA), it is characterized as abnormal traffic.

2. Percentage of Desktop to Mobile Devices – If the percentage of visits to the dealership’s website from desktop devices is higher than 90%, it is characterized as abnormal traffic.

3. Percentage of Windows Operating Systems – If the percentage of visits to the dealership’s website exceeded 90% Windows operating system devices, it is characterized as abnormal traffic.

4. Percentage of Footer Link Clicks – If the visits to the dealership’s website triggered an abnormal number of visits to the dealership’s privacy or sitemap pages, it is characterized as abnormal traffic.

5. Hours of Day Clicks – Most Clicks should come during normal hours, not in the middle of the night. 

Remember that when all else fails, you can always trust the data. Data never lies. If you receive a report showing a high number of website visits but no engagements or conversions, you most likely have a case of the bots. If you are one of the thousands of dealers that use AutoHook, contact us and we will set up a feature that will trigger an alert to catch this type of activity…or lack there of it. There are also new technologies specifically made for attacking and exposing bots, while also alerting dealers of potential problems. PCG is one company taking big steps to expose the issue through the PCG Engagement Project and through tools like Vistadash that measure actual human engagement metrics across all your ad sources.

Better yet, come out to one of the upcoming Automotive Engagement Conferences (AEC), starting in Atlanta on March 23rd. AEC is seven-city national tour showing dealers how to measure consumer engagement to eliminate advertising BOTS, BLUNDERS, and BLOAT in their marketing investments. Learn more or register at http://pcgcompanies.com/aec/.

ARE YOU IN THE DARK? The Dark Truth About Bot Traffic

by David Metter

Sometime in the 1890’s, marketing pioneer John Wanamaker coined the famous phrase, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Personally, I have always hated this phrase. My old boss and mentor would say it to me all of the time. However, advertisers have lived within the confines of this mindset ever since. Even today, dealerships just “accept” that some of their advertising will work and some won’t. As a former CMO and a current “Urban Scientist,” I find this entire concept to be demeaning to marketers. This is 2017. We have the science, technology, and tools to make decisions based on prescriptive, data-based confidence rather than “going with your gut” or experimenting with different solutions. You should never be in the dark when it comes to 50% of your budget.

The same concept applies to your website traffic and the conversion of that traffic. Transparent vendors don’t just tell you how many clicks and visits you received, but whether or not those visits converted or engaged with your website. They should also be the ones alerting you of any suspicious activity. If an ad source is generating a significant amount of traffic, but none of that traffic is filling out a form or interacting with your site’s content, you’re most likely paying for bot (non-human) traffic. This is a huge problem for an industry that spends billions of dollars on paid search.

As of January 2017, Incapsula studied 100,000 domains and found 51.8% of website traffic came from bots. Orbee is an automotive software company that analyzes the quality of dealer website traffic and specializes in identifying bots. Orbee determined up to 60% of dealerships’ paid traffic, and up to 80% of their overall website traffic is coming from non-humans. That’s extremely alarming, and it’s concerning for several reasons. First, robots don’t buy cars. Second, dealers are paying for traffic that is incapable of converting. Traffic that converts is the only type worth paying for.  

Source: Incapsula

Source: Incapsula

In a recent episode of CBT News’ Auto Marketing Now, Brian Pasch, Founder of PCG Companies stated, “Most dealers have Google Analytics installed, most dealers are getting reports about website traffic, but to be truthful many of those reports are coming from the companies who are selling them advertising.” What this means for dealers and OEMs, is they have to face the fact that their vendors and ad agencies may only be sharing one piece of the story.

Website visits are important, as your traffic patterns can be a great indicator of how to stock your inventory or prepare for future market conditions. However, when your Google Analytics are not showing engagement click actions, there is a need to dig deeper. The average dealer doesn’t get reports from their advertising vendors on cost per engagement. Dealer principals and managers don’t have the time to dig deep into their analytics and look for instances of fraudulent activity. As a result, advertisers can take advantage and get away with charging dealers for traffic coming from bot clicks with zero intent to buy.

In their August 2016 Research Report, PCG identified several automotive marketing companies that were generating “highly irregular” traffic and strongly felt dealers were being misled about their ROI. Brian Pasch wrote, “Automotive leaders are now investing in intelligent website analytics and bot detection software. Orbee is leading that charge by providing bot detection for all online marketing investments.”

VistaDash is also a great tool that combines all sales and marketing data from multiple vendors and sources into one dashboard to immediately identify instances of wasted spend. VistaDash is the only independent data dashboard that scores and measures your website traffic engagement.

With all the new technologies and third party vendors entering the market, dealers need partners that will alert them of any instances of bot or fraudulent traffic. Across all verticals, automotive is the second-largest spender in digital advertising, so you have to know your tools. Know who your tools are coming from. Know how they work, why they work, and the data that sits within them. Choose to know where your money is going. Choose vendors that take strong security measures and will go out of their way to inform you of any suspicious activity.    

 

Note: The AutoHook platform has strong security measures in place in order to catch suspicious activity pertaining to our virtual incentives. If we recognize any behavior that is out of the ordinary, we will reach out to our OEM, agency, or dealer directly in order to further investigate and resolve any issues.  

How to Avoid the Noid: Google’s New Popup Penalty

In efforts further enhance the online experiences of today’s mobile shoppers, Google activated their latest rule to mobile-specific website ranking. The Intrusive Interstitials Penalty, also known as the “Popup Penalty” was initiated on January 10th, 2017. Interstitials are simply a fancy word for “popups,” or any ad format that interrupts the user’s experience or access to content – an annoyance that has become all too familiar to smartphone and tablet users.

Reputable website providers and marketing companies will always remain compliant with Google’s search algorithms and ranking requirements. AutoHook works with both dealers and OEMs to drive incremental sales and showroom traffic through test drive incentive offers that are nonintrusive and that do not interrupt the user’s interaction with a page’s content. We’d like all of our clients to rest assured our solutions are NOT in violation of any aspect of Google’s mobile Popup Penalty for the following reasons:

1.     AutoHook incentives cover only a small portion of the screen and are designed to integrate seamlessly into mobile websites

2.     Customers do not have to take action to close or dismiss the offer

3.     Our test drive incentives do not interrupt, block, or clutter the visual or content-related experience of mobile car shoppers

4.     AutoHook’s technology is always run through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to ensure optimal conversion rates throughout the mobile environment

Mobile best practices are at the utmost forefront of our platform's development and design, stated Joe Conrad, Program Manager for AutoHook. “We remain diligent in maintaining a proactive approach to our mobile strategy in order to stay in front of anticipated changes in the space.”

Google initiated this algorithmic change in order to penalize any website or technology provider that does not adhere to the new rule. According to Google, “Pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.” Ranking lower down the page in search results, especially on mobile, can drastically affect both your website traffic and your overall business.

So how do you know if your site is in violation? Below is the list Google provided of all interstitials that could be potentially problematic to the user:

  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

Google also gave us visual examples of ads or offers that violate the Popup Penalty:

There are three types of interstitials that do not violate this rule, and thus would not be ranked lower in search results. Google listed the following types of popup banners or overlays that they do allow, and that will not be negatively affected:

  1. Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
  2. Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
  3. Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.

Google’s mentality when it comes to ad and website ranking is incredibly simple. Relevancy gets rewarded, and any disconnects in messaging from one page to the next will not be tolerated (at least not for long). We are proud to say that AutoHook is, and always will be compliant with Google’s website ranking standards.

If you have any concerns regarding your mobile site ranking, you can test it here with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

 

 

Mining Your Data for Equity

by David Metter

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Our industry has a skewed perception of big data and its intended uses. I think that the term “big data,” has been overused and I believe it’s time to replace it with “best data.” Big data will only continue to get bigger, and I don’t think “colossal data” will ever really catch on or be worthy of a hashtag. So let’s open our eyes to what’s been missing from the information age and allow a little common sense to flow through our vantage point, straight into our dealership operations.

So what is the best data? If you asked 50 different people, you’d get 50 different answers. But these are just opinions, and opinions are noise. The best data is science-based, inarguable, and absolute. The best data is something you already have, and it’s located right within your own DMS. The data that matters most, before observing any other KPIs, is sales and service data – that’s it. If you think any other type of information is more important than if people buy cars from you and if they get their vehicles serviced from you…I’d advise you consider a different line of work.

If I were to purchase a dealership this very moment, the first thing I’d put into play is equity mining. I don’t own an equity mining company, and I’m not trying to sell you an equity-mining product. But I do know good common sense solution and execution when I see it. Equity mining takes the sales and service data you already have, and identifies opportunities to drive people actually in-market to purchase into your showroom or to your service department. It’s that simple.

According to Automotive News, “Equity-mining software, sometimes called data-mining software, enables dealerships to spot current customers who are in a good position to get out of the vehicle they have and into a new one for about the same monthly payment.” They also say it's been an absolute “gold mine” for one Honda store that has utilized it to fuel profit in nearly every one of their departments.

Top Equity-Mining Software Providers:

  • AutoAlert
  • CDK Global
  • DealerSocket’s Revenue Radar
  • Dominion Dealer Solutions
  • ELEAD1ONE Xchange
  • VinSolutions

AutoAlert has one of the industry's best data mining tools that uses advanced algorithms and analytics to reveal online trends and consumer behavior in order to provide actionable, in-market consumer intelligence. Their AlertMiner Retention Alerts will inform dealers of any and all profit opportunities as they arise. The software shows dealers when a past or potential customer’s contract is ending on a lease or purchase or if they can get a newer vehicle for the same monthly payment they have now.

AlertMiner.jpg

AlertMiner alerts dealerships of relevant consumer shopping behavior and when it is a good time to reach out (or not).

AutoAlertAlertMiner.jpg

DealerSocket’s Revenue Radar continuously scans your DMS in order to highlight customers that are in a favorable position to spend money at your dealership, before they shop your competitors. Their equity mining process is shown below. 

The choice is yours. Go with your gut, or go with the recession-proof combination of science and common sense. Common sense will tell you science has a higher probability of being right – despite your intuition and experience. Equity mining is at your disposal, waiting to help you reach past, present, and future customers when they are in the market to buy. You have the best data already (sales and service data), now it’s time to mine it and work it! It’s the difference between being part of the noise and being the first one to speak up when the moment is right.

Equity mining is exactly how dealerships get their ducks in a row prior to a campaign launch. It is how you avoid wasting money on prospects that are not considering a purchase. I believe in this concept so much is because it’s common sense in its purest form and much less complex than we’ve been led to believe.

Top 12 Auto Marketing Trends of 2016

A YEAR IN REVIEW: a look back at the top automotive marketing trends of 2016...and a sneak peek into 2017

Much like the state of the automotive industry over the last year, AutoHook, powered by Urban Science has withstood and conquered unprecedented change throughout 2016. As experts in digital adaptation, AutoHook is consistently on the forefront of the latest trends in digital marketing and data solutions. Below is our recap of the top 12 headlines from the last 12 months in the automotive space. You'll also get a snapshot of how to "disrupt before you get disrupted" as we kick off 2017.

Google's Senior Vice President, Amit Singhal, announces mobile searches have officially surpassed desktop over the summer of 2015.

1. THE MOBILE TIPPING POINT

We all knew it was coming, but the speed at which mobile usage has overtaken desktop has been exceptionally faster than any other digital shift in our history. As featured in AutoHook's February article conveniently titled, The Mobile Tipping Point, "There’s no denying it. Mobile has forever changed the way marketers interact and reach consumers. We’re all slaves to it. The swiping, the scrolling, the click-to-call-ing, the convenience. In so many ways the mobile experience dictates not only where our marketing should be, but also the entire advancement of communication as we know it."

Epic flooding at the Ford Dealership in Republic Missouri after 24 hours of heavy rain. Video footage courtesy of CarScoops.com

2.  NATURAL DISASTERS STRIKE DEALERSHIPS ACROSS THE U.S.

 

Mississippi River Flooding

The residents of Missouri and Illinois had a rough start to 2016 after the detrimental flooding of the Mississippi River and other waterways spanning the two states. In some areas, more than two feet of rain graced the Midwest with its presence, resulting in over 25 deaths and thousands forced from their homes in freezing temperatures. (As featured in How Dealerships Can Stay Afloat in the Aftermath of Natural Disasters).

Timbrook Kia and Timbrook Buick/GMC in Cumberland, Md., received 28 inches of snow, according to the dealer. Photo credit: DINA WILSON. Originally featured in Automotive News

Timbrook Kia and Timbrook Buick/GMC in Cumberland, Md., received 28 inches of snow, according to the dealer. Photo credit: DINA WILSON. Originally featured in Automotive News

Winter Storm Jonas Hits East Coast

Automotive News reported the “Jonas Effect” forced Toyota to temporarily close 200 of its dealerships. Herb Gordon Volvo, in Silver Spring, Maryland experienced a roof collapse due to the overly dense snow. Forbes noted auto sales were better than expected in January despite the harsh weather conditions. "Sales actually managed a small increase in January according to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

“It’s not just hurricanes. Any natural disaster, such as an earthquake, can cripple a dealership. There need to be provisions for natural disasters in areas susceptible to them.”  - Mitch Phillips, Global Director of Data, Urban Science
Image courtesy of ColumbusAgency.com

Image courtesy of ColumbusAgency.com

 

3. GOOGLE'S SERP CHANGE

Google has bulletproof adaptation skills. They seek out disturbances within the digital space and adjust accordingly. Due to the fact that mobile searches have now surpassed desktop, Google altered the layout of their search engine results pages (SERPs) to better align with mobile’s responsive design. In February 2016 they stopped displaying paid ads on the right side of SERPs. (Content originally featured in AutoHook's latest eBook, Adapt or Die: The Auto Dealer's Digital Adaptation Survival Guide).

 

 

4. RISING PAID SEARCH COMPETITION

What does this mean for dealers? For starters, a huge potential for increased SEM costs and more competition for top ad ranking. Search Engine Land analyzed the results of Google’s most recent adaptability demonstration: “Looking at the median change from February 8 through March 16 (2016) for a sample of advertisers year over year, we find that first-page minimum bids continue to increase steadily since the removal of right rail text ads.”

 

5. THE CLICK-TO-CONVERSION SHIFT

"If you start with conversion first and foremost, the thousands of dollars you spend driving traffic to your site each month will actually be validated. eMarketer reported $61.5 billion will be spent on search and display alone in 2016. If the majority of your digital ad budget goes into SEM and banner ads that drive shoppers to your website, but you don’t first ensure your site has the ability to convert at a high rate, you are willingly throwing money in the garbage. It’s like throwing a pitch to home plate without a catcher. It just doesn’t make any sense." - David Metter, President, AutoHook Powered by Urban Science

6. OMNICHANNEL MARKETING BECOMES A MUST-HAVE APPROACH

Omnichannel shoppers are the most valuable to your business. When both your dealership's in-store and digital efforts communicate and work together, it creates an ideal shopping environment resulting in customer loyalty. IBM’s recent whitepaper states, “The most sophisticated retailers are enabling customers to convert on any channel. After all, shoppers who buy in-store and online have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel.”

Google's Kelly McNearney talks video at #DD21. Click to watch.

Google's Kelly McNearney talks video at #DD21. Click to watch.

7. VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO...& MORE VIDEO

Scott Empringham, CEO of Flash Point Communications joined AutoHook's panel "The Naked Truth" at Digital Dealer 21 this past August. His advice? Video is the #1 driver of consideration for new vehicles. Scott recommends dealers create 90-second videos just using their iPhone to post on social channels. “If you’re looking for a vehicle, you probably want a good look at the vehicle. Include shots of the vehicle’s exterior, interior, features and benefits.” 90-second videos have been enormously successful for Flash Point and their clients.

Fellow panelist, Kelly McNearney, Google's Senior Automotive Strategist could not agree more! Kelly says, “All I care about is online video. It’s great because you don’t need to customize your content for each individual channel, you can run the same video across platforms.” 

 

8. ONLINE BUYING: ARE WE THERE YET?

The article, 5 Reasons Online Buying is NOT Everyone's Reality highlights the results of DealerSocket's 2016 Dealership Action Report. “While there is a segment of car shoppers who want to buy vehicles online in an Amazon-like experience, a new report indicates dealers may be overestimating how strong consumer demand for this capability really is.”

 

 

Lindsay Kwaselow, April Rain, Kevin Frye and Julie Frye at #DD21 Exhibit Hall

Lindsay KwaselowApril Rain, Kevin Frye and Julie Frye at #DD21 Exhibit Hall

9. DEALERS AGREE, PAID SOCIAL ADS DO IN FACT SELL CARS

In 2016, the industry determined that social ads really do sell cars, and we heard it straight from dealers themselves! In Part I of our Naked Truth Exposed series, Alex Jefferson, eCommerce Director of Proctor Dealerships said, "Social media DOES in fact sell cars. Social outlets give us the power to build quality relationships, which then translate into quality website traffic. As long as your website converts, BOOM you can sell cars through social!"

Kevin Frye, eCommerce Director of the Jeff Wyler Automotive Family also presented at #DD21 with his session, Have You Lost Your Mind? The Demise of Common Sense in Automotive. Frye asked the question, “Can you track ROI with social media?” In his DealerRefresh recap he confirmed, "The answer is yes! I excited many dealers a few conferences back when I showed how they could build attribution models and see for themselves how they could track a return for their social media efforts."

Scott Empringham, also reminds dealers to hold their social media companies accountable. In his October blog, Empringham states, "While traditional media offer varying levels of accountability, social media (especially Facebook) is off the charts regarding accountability and transparency. In fact, it’s more accountable than the previous champion, direct mail, with only 20% of the cost."

 

10. DATA SHARING ACROSS ALL AUTOMOTIVE TIERS

* Content featured in the October 2016 edition of AutoSuccess Magazine 

* Content featured in the October 2016 edition of AutoSuccess Magazine 

AutoHook is doing our part to build one, solidified automotive railroad system by opening our API, and the sales validation data that comes with it, to all vendors – free of charge. In an industry where everyone charges to be connected, we want to be the player not to charge so that we can make stronger connections.

By adopting Apple’s open app approach, we can then simplify and unravel a very complicated subject. A subject that is perhaps the one absolute in an industry inundated with ambiguous topics like “big data” and “attribution.” Backed by near-real-time sales data from Urban Science, AutoHook has actually built an attribution engine that validates without a doubt that our solutions led directly to a sale. Sharing this type of knowledge is the one thing that could change this industry for the better. Having access to both accurate and up-to-date sales attribution data will make every decision this industry makes smarter, every solution more efficient, and every dollar we spend go further. Now THAT is something to get excited about!

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11. DMPS TAKE CENTER STAGE

During the Fall of 2016, DMPs gained escalating attention among the automotive marketing elite. In the November blog, What You Need to Know About DMPs, we learned the biggest uses for these data management platforms, including more accurate sales attribution metrics, more opportunities for personalization and one-to-one marketing, and that DMPs are an ideal tool in terms of audience targeting and segmentation. 

12. ATTRIBUTION CLAIMS ITS THRONE

In the August 2016 blog titled, AT LAST: Attribution Claims its Throne, David Metter, President of AutoHook powered by Urban Science writes...

"Mark my words - 2017 is going to be THE YEAR OF ATTRIBUTION. eMarketer admitted companies have been slow to adopt proper attribution methods due to a number of obstacles, however they estimate over 50% of American businesses will make multichannel attribution a priority for their marketing efforts in the year ahead."

FUTURE FOCUS: 2017 Trends

CROSS-CHANNEL ATTRIBUTION

What is the point of marketing if you can't prove it resulted in a sale? There’s no argument that with everything our industry is capable of measuring, it all comes down to physical transactions between customers and dealers, specifically units sold and closed service ROs. That’s what you measure before anything else. That’s the reason the concept of attribution exists in the first place – to help you generate more sales and service revenue. Learn more in David Metter's December blog, VDP Views are the Top KPI...and Other Data Myths.

According to The Marketer's Guide to Cross-Channel Attribution, "Marketers need to be measuring every campaign, regardless of channel, against the same goals they set out to achieve at the start of the year. These tend to sound a lot more like increasing lifetime value and average order value, and driving repeat purchases and customer loyalty, rather than increasing open rates or click rates, reach or visits. But this is only possible through cross-channel and cross-device attribution."

EQUITY MINING

If you're not doing it already, equity mining software should be the first thing dealers put into play in 2017. If you're not familiar with the term, Automotive News explains it as, "Equity-mining software, sometimes called data-mining software, enables dealerships to spot current customers who are in a good position to get out of the vehicle they have and into a new one for about the same monthly payment." AutoAlert has one of the industry's best data mining tools that uses advanced algorithms and analytics to reveal online trends and consumer behavior in order to provide actionable, in-market consumer intelligence. Equity mining could be the difference between being a part of the noise or being the first one to speak up when the time is right. 

ONE-TO-ONE MARKETING

Personalized marketing campaigns based on a consumer's previous actions and their digital footprint are increasingly becoming the most effective, if not the only way to impact buyers at the right time. Custom-built, targeted messages with a personalized touch elicit fiercer engagement rates. People don't just want personalized messages, they now expect them and are most likely to respond to an ad or message exclusively crafted for them.

How else can you break through layers upon layers of digital ads screaming, "Look at me! Look at me!" People want personal. If your marketing initiatives don't take this into consideration, you will fall flat on consumers ears and invisible to their very short (and shrinking) attention spans.