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Google

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.

 

 

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.

We’ve Got the Data! Now What? (Top 3 Takeaways from the J.D. Power Data Expert Panel)

by David Metter

If anyone experienced the great misfortune of not being able to attend AutoHook’s J.D. Power AMR panel that had attendees lined up against the walls, I’ve got you covered. Below is a condensed collection of key insights from the session, We’ve Got the Data! Now What?

I know you’re probably all tired of hearing the term “big data.” You may even be a little nauseous from it – thus the critical need for this panel and the recap below.

First, let me formally introduce our superstar lineup. I do have to take a moment to say these leaders are not just auto experts with impressive titles. Each has proven a genuine desire to improve the way our industry operates and the way we share data for the benefit of all – and that’s huge.

It’s funny (and a little ridiculous) how often the solutions to the world’s biggest problems come from plain old common sense. We all have a tendency to overcomplicate even the most evident of concepts. Perhaps the secret to solving all this big data ambiguity is to take a step back and “under-complicate” the idea.

Three overarching themes dominated our big data discussion:

1. The largest obstruction to big data in the automotive industry is the automotive industry itself.

Pictured (left to right): Dean Evans, Kelly McNearney, Erik Lukas, Jenny Watson, & David Metter

Pictured (left to right): Dean Evans, Kelly McNearney, Erik Lukas, Jenny Watson, & David Metter

I’m not pointing any fingers, but it’s no secret that our three-tier system makes things more difficult. It creates large disconnects in communication from one layer to the next. Dean Evans points out, “We know at Hyundai you can’t do decent business today unless you are connecting those layers.”

We also know it’s rare for what happens at the dealer level to be properly recorded and communicated at the OEM level. That’s just how it is. Allow me to propose an idea. If knowledge is power, then sharing data is power. Imagine the influence we could claim if we all stopped being selfish with our data. A united industry is an unbreakable industry.

Kelly McNearney adds, “The challenge for tier three in this big data game is getting some team spirit going where dealers will actually share with the OE and the OE will share with the dealers, and then you’ve got really powerful stuff you can use. Then you can really start to understand who your consumer even is and what their actions are.”

We’ve completed step one, identifying the problem. Now it’s time to complete step two, taking action to solve the problem. So, who’s taking action? AutoHook already has by opening our API and the attribution data that comes with it to the entire industry free of charge. CDK and Dealer.com are doing it by creating centralized data dashboards so OEMs can have a better view of the consumer sales data collected at the dealership level. So who’s next?

2. More data is not necessarily better.

Pictured: Jenny Watson & David Metter

Pictured: Jenny Watson & David Metter

The secret is not obtaining more data. Sometimes it’s about doing more with what you have at your fingertips. It’s about taking smarter, more efficient actions. What’s the end goal? Jenny Watson says, “At the end of the day it’s really about units sold and the number of repair orders generated,” and she’s right! More is not better. It’s just more. An emphasis on obtaining more data may be the root cause of why the subject has become so complex.

It’s also important to note that each channel has its own specific set of measurable KPIs. Regardless of what they are, if you can’t validate that these channels resulted in a sale or a service order, then don’t waste your money advertising on them. It’s that simple.

3. Data Management Platforms (DMPs) are important to use and understand, but never at the cost of simple, actionable insights.

DMPs have been around in other industries for years. In a lot of ways, they’re starting to replace that “big data” term. Both dealers and OEMs should take advantage of these systems in order to better serve their network. Dean Evans says, “Feeding the dealer network is always paramount.” In addition, because of our three-tier system, the auto industry has the most complicated business model in existence. Therefore more than anyone, we need DMPs. They exist and are designed to help us – so use them.

Erik Lukas shined a lot of light on this subject. “There’s room for both,” he says. “There’s the big insights that come from DMPs that we need to unlock, but you still can’t ignore some of the things that are right in front of your face.” Erik gives the example of Subaru’s highly successful Dog Tested campaign and how it all began. “A key insight for us that we spawned a whole campaign off of was that 2/3 of Subaru owners own pets, and of those, 70% are dogs. Clearly, that’s not a big data or DMP derived result, but we built a whole disruption campaign around this one key insight and it’s really resonated with our customers.”

Kelly McNearney is a big advocate of DMPs especially for the automotive vertical. However, she speculates DMPs are perhaps given too much credit. “Some of the best data we have is actually something quite small, but that we can take action on,” said Kelly. She followed that up with a great example. “In the month of November for the past three years in a row, searches for tires have been at an all time high. That is a useful piece of data and that’s not from a machine, it’s not from a DMP, it’s just a simple Google Trend.”

To conclude, if you’re going to remember anything, remember these three things:

  • The only way for us to overcome barriers across tiers is to knock down the egotistical walls that separate us and work together.

  • Instead of more, more, more, when it comes to big data, remember that the end goal is to increase sales and revenue at the dealership level.

  • And lastly, do your research on DMPs and allow this tool to help you – but never ignore the immense potential of a single statistic such as 67% of Subaru owners are animal lovers.

Click here to watch the complete live recording of the J.D. Power AMR panel, We’ve Got the Data! Now What? 

10 Most Memorable Quotes from the J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable

The 11th Annual J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable

AutoHook was honored to attend the 2016 J.D. Power Automotive Marketing routable at the Bellagio, Las Vegas. From Tuesday, October 25th - Thursday, October 27th, we had the privilege of networking with some of the most brilliant leaders in our industry. Things can get a little chaotic between fast-paced sessions and panel discussions, meetings, parties, and catching up with all our friends, clients, and partners.

We've taken the liberty to bring you the 10 very best, most memorable quotes of 2016 - straight from the mouths of automotive's smartest minds themselves. 

1. “Don’t start with the big data, start with the business needs first. Identify them and then work backwards. I hear too much of let’s get big data let’s get DMPs in the room, but we need to start with the business needs first.” 

- Dean Evans | Chief Marketing Officer, Hyundai Motor America

2. “If there’s ever any hope of attributing all these touch points along the shopping journey, you’ve got to have some place where all the data rolls up and you can analyze it as one set.”

- Erik Lukas | Retail Digital Operations Manager, Subaru of America

3. “There’s no silver bullet when it comes to KPIs. Big Data has become a muse for creativity.” 

- Trace Przybylowicz | Autos Lead: Industry Relations, Facebook

4. “The challenge for tier 3 in this big data game is getting some team spirit going where dealers will actually share with the OE and the OE will share with the dealers, and then you’ve got really powerful stuff you can use. Then you can really start to understand who your consumer is and what their actions are.”

Kelly McNearney | Senior Automotive Retail Strategist, Google

5. “A discussion that seems to be both prevalent and imminent is around DMPs. Data management platforms are almost replacing that ‘big data’ term.” 

- David Metter | President, AutoHook powered by Urban Science

6. “A DMP can really give you a full view of who your customer is and how to personalize that experience – that’s the holy grail – making sure your marketing investments are put in the right place.” 

Jenny Watson | Digital & Performance Marketing Expert

7. “Because everyone is online shopping at the dealer’s site, the dealers have a wealth, almost a paralyzing wealth of information. Using that to understand and to empower their marketing - online marketing efforts in particular - can make them much more efficient and vastly more powerful in what they do.”

Jason Knight | COO & Co-Founder, Lotlinx

8. “Unfortunately too many businesses today do focus just on the transaction and not the experience. We assume people don’t want to be there so we treat them that way. The truth is, people don’t come back if it’s not a great experience. If it’s just a transaction, how is that a great experience?”

Beau Boeckmann | President, Galpin Motors

9. “With big data comes big challenges in verifying consumer data. We need free from fraud, viewable consumer content and data.” 

- Mark Pearlstein | Chief Revenue Officer, DoubleVerify

10. “55% of advertisers consider themselves beginners in mobile advertising – that’s alarming.”

Christian Fuller | Chief Relationship Officer, Search Optics

Pictured (left to right): Dean Evans, Kelly McNearney, Erik Lukas, Jenny Watson

Pictured (left to right): Dean Evans, Kelly McNearney, Erik Lukas, Jenny Watson

Pictured: Christian Fuller

Pictured: Christian Fuller

Pictured: Beau Boeckmann

Pictured: Beau Boeckmann

Pictured (left to right): Joe Gumm, Bert Boeckmann, Beau Boeckmann, and Bridget Fitzpatrick

Pictured (left to right): Joe Gumm, Bert Boeckmann, Beau Boeckmann, and Bridget Fitzpatrick

Pictured (left to right): Jeremy Anspach, Trace Przybylowicz, Myles Rose, Miran Maric

Pictured (left to right): Jeremy Anspach, Trace Przybylowicz, Myles Rose, Miran Maric

Pictured (left to right): Andy Jacobson, Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, and Mark Pearlstein

Pictured (left to right): Andy Jacobson, Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, and Mark Pearlstein

Pictured (left to right): Dean Evans, Kelly McNearney, Erik Lukas, Jenny Watson, & David Metter

Pictured (left to right): Dean Evans, Kelly McNearney, Erik Lukas, Jenny Watson, & David Metter

Pictured (left to right): Jenny Watson and David Metter

Pictured (left to right): Jenny Watson and David Metter

AutoHook’s Vegas Adventure: DSES & JDPowerAMR Highlights

Brought to you by the AutoHook Marketing Team

Last week, the AutoHook team had the privilege of attending these two back-to-back events at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Our Vegas adventure began with the DrivingSales Executive Summit, or the “perfect storm of awesomeness,” according to DrivingSales Founder & CEO, Jared Hamilton, and ended with the J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable – a sophisticated gathering of the smartest minds in data, analytics, and automotive marketing.

 

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23RD - THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27TH

AutoHook Limos

Pictured: April Rain

Pictured: April Rain

MONDAY, OCTOBER 24TH

AutoHook Booth & Twitter Board

Thank you to all who stopped by our booth. It was awesome sponsoring the GIANT twitter board in the main ballroom. We were honored to keep the tradition alive!

Pictured: Lindsay Kwaselow, Ani Hagopian, Danny Benites, Andrew Pargoff, Brad Somervell - and can't forget KEVIN FRYE on the twitter board!

Pictured: Lindsay Kwaselow, Ani Hagopian, Danny Benites, Andrew Pargoff, Brad Somervell - and can't forget KEVIN FRYE on the twitter board!

Team Dinner at Yellowtail Sushi (Bellagio)

A little team-bonding with an incredible view and incredible food AND service.

Pictured: Ani Hagopian, Lindsay Kwaselow, Andrew Pargoff

Pictured: Ani Hagopian, Lindsay Kwaselow, Andrew Pargoff

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25TH

Innovation Cup Awards

Congratulations to Steve White of Clarivoy for being the 2016 Innovation Cup Award Winner! Clarivoy came out on top and impressed the judges with their proprietary TV Analytics solution. Their new solution is designed to match advertising spot data with website visitors, providing a transparent snapshot of which TV ads influence sales.

Pictured: Jared Hamilton and Steve White

Pictured: Jared Hamilton and Steve White

The four other Innovation Cup finalists also deserve a special shout out and recognition for their participation in the event. More importantly, we commend these industry leaders for their efforts to change the automotive landscape for the better, through new and groundbreaking technology. Congrats to finalists, Tarry Shebesta, President of DriveItNow & Partner at GoMoto, Tom Gallaher, Co-Founder of AutosOnVideo, Bryan Harwood, CTO of Outsell, and Eric Miltsch, President of DealerTeamwork.

 

DSES ---> J.D. Power AMR

The chaos got real during the transition from the DrivingSales Executive Summit to the J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable. Thankfully, AutoHook leveraged some unbreakable teamwork (and a much needed rolling cart) in order to move from the Bellagio Ballroom to the poolside cabanas (in record time of course).

We all got a nice workout during what felt like a six-mile hike down to the pool. Except for our Client Services Manager, Ani…she got a VIP ride with all our swag boxes, courtesy of our Business Development Team Lead, Travis.

Venus-Pool-910419.jpg
Pictured: Ani Hagopian & Travis Laufle

Pictured: Ani Hagopian & Travis Laufle

The J.D. Power AMR Kickoff Gala

Complete with live musical entertainment, delicious hors d’oeuvre stations, a fully stocked bar, a silent auction (…signed Taylor Swift poster anyone?) and only the best of the best were in attendance at the poolside kickoff party.

Pictured: Kelly Carven, Ani Hagopian, Travis Laufle, Andrea Demma, and TAYLOR SWIFT

Pictured: Kelly Carven, Ani Hagopian, Travis Laufle, Andrea Demma, and TAYLOR SWIFT

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26TH

This was definitely the most jam-packed day of the week. So many sessions to see, data insights to absorb, and important connections to be made!

AutoHook’s Big Data Panel - We’ve Got the Data! Now What?

If anyone suffered the unfortunate tragedy of not being able to attend the J.D. power panel that had attendees fighting for seats and lined up against the walls, don't worry. Watch out for the official panel recap coming next week.

Pictured: Dean Evans, Kelly McNearney, Erik Lukas, Jenny Watson, and David Metter

Pictured: Dean Evans, Kelly McNearney, Erik Lukas, Jenny Watson, and David Metter

Poolside Meetings at our Bellagio Cabana

AMR Connect

The rooftop of Drai’s nightclub served as the perfect atmosphere to connect with industry peers while overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. Thank you to Deep Root Analytics for sponsoring this great networking event.

A Night at Surrender

The AutoHook team sponsored our very own cabana at Surrender Nightclub Wednesday night at the Wynn. During the party, we met a lot of incredible people, got in some good team-bonding, and networked like we’ve never networked before! 

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27TH  

The team attended several content-packed sessions and ended the trip feeling inspired, armed, and ready for 2017.

Pictured: Roman Lesnau, Linda Yaccarino, Edward Erhardt, Steve Lanzano, John Tierney, Dean Evans, Kelly McNearney, Erik Lukas, Jenny Watson, and David Metter

Pictured: Roman Lesnau, Linda Yaccarino, Edward Erhardt, Steve Lanzano, John Tierney, Dean Evans, Kelly McNearney, Erik Lukas, Jenny Watson, and David Metter

…Until next time Vegas. 

 

 

Part II: The Naked Truth Exposed [Paid Search, Retargeting & Budget Allocation]

Part II: The Naked Truth Exposed [Paid Search, Retargeting & Budget Allocation]

AutoHook’s nation-wide survey conducted over the last 3-months revealed the top five digital marketing topics dealers currently struggling with. These issues were addressed and exposed during Digital Dealer 21’s most jam-packed session, the Naked Truth. 

Part I: The Naked Truth Exposed [Social & Video Marketing]

Part I: The Naked Truth Exposed [Social & Video Marketing]

Three marketing powerhouses combined forces at DD21 for one of the most insightful sessions of the year, moderated by yours truly. The Naked Truth was a 50-minute dose of digital reality poured straight up. Our no-nonsense mission of tackling the ambiguous topics that shadow the automotive universe was such a success, every chair in the room was filled and attendees were lined up against the walls. Literally, we ran out of seats.

Digital Wake Up Call: 3 Marketing Myths & How to Overcome Them

I always say the most successful marketers are the ones that look for problems and inefficiencies and implement new ways of thinking to solve them. There are those that follow, blend, and eventually fade, and then there are those that inspire change for the better. Einstein measured human intelligence solely by a person’s ability to change. There has been a trend in our industry that has gained a more than significant following. The time has come to take a step back, reevaluate, and make a change that will eradicate wasted ad spend.

The Automotive Marketing Home Run

By David Metter

The four bases that make up a baseball diamond can be directly related to the car shopper’s journey. We all know the path begins online. The final destination, or home base, is the dealership. The goal is to surpass all your bases and arrive back at home, or rather, get buyers into your store. You can’t get a home run without rounding the other three bases - that would be cheating. Similarly, in the car business, there are three obstacles you have to conquer first and foremost, before returning home for the win.

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First Base: Meet Expectations

The expectations of today’s digitally equipped consumers have skyrocketed. Souring shopper standards have caused additional complexities within the marketing landscape. There are more media outlets than ever before. New developments in mobile and wearable devices are generating more buzz than an overcrowded group text. Our access to data is exploding. Social media advertising opportunities are #Trending. But with all this technological innovation has come consequences. These advancements mean one thing for dealers and marketers: more competition. The following are guidelines to rise above and defeat the competition.

In a recent study, eMarketer reported 97% of US corporate executives say their customers expected an efficient, fast, cost-effective, and personalized level of experience. The two most critical components in automotive marketing today are speed and personalization. Cost aside, if you don’t offer a seamless, personal experience that spans from your digital advertising all the way to your showroom, having the lowest price in town isn’t going to matter - because buyers won’t make it to your dealership if you lack the first two pieces of the equation.

When a pitch is thrown to home plate, the batter has less than a tenth of a second to make a decision on whether or not to take a swing. When it comes to your website and mobile site, the same holds true. The modern-day consumer is flat out impatient. Google says 70% of smartphone users will leave a site that has a lagging load time and 67% will switch websites if it takes too many steps to get the relevant information they’re looking for. Dealers have a total of two seconds to ensure their mobile site experience prevails – slightly more time than a player at bat, but a very small window nonetheless.

According to AutoConversion, personalization of messaging is something we can and should be measuring. “Consumers now expect and respond better to messaging that is better customized to them personally, thus customization has become a key measurable characteristic with marketing attribution, an idea unimagined only a few years ago.”

Second Base: Establish Trust

I don’t care how you do it. Or at what inning in the game you earn their trust. But trust is paramount when it comes to selling cars. Choosing which vehicle to purchase and where to buy it is a large, emotionally dense decision. Whether it’s trust in a brand, a dealership, or a salesperson, it is ultimately that sense of security that makes people feel like they’re being provided with a personal, reliable experience. That feeling of comfort will translate across channels into vehicles sold.

Salespeople are already at a disadvantage when it comes to trust. A new survey from HubSpot says, “Only a mere 3% of people consider salespeople to be trustworthy.” Dealers need to be cognizant of this when staffing sales and BDC staff. Your team’s ability to communicate with honesty and transparency should be equally as important as their experience and knowledge of your inventory.

The same rules apply in marketing. Your brand, your digital campaigns, your “why buy” messaging, and your reputation management, all must collectively paint a picture of trust. A dependable brand provides helpful tips and easy access to information. Dealers can establish integrity by sharing useful advice or articles throughout their digital endeavors, not necessarily related to their given product. 

Third Base: Achieve Conversion

We know vehicle details page (VDP) visits are important. There is no denying the correlation between VDP views and units sold. But what is even more important is the experience your VDP offers once the customer gets there. Your landing pages need to do three things: be easy to navigate, load fast, and above all, convert. Ask yourself, how do your VDPs incentivize customers to take that next step toward home base (your showroom)? KissMetrics says a one second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

And finally…

Home Plate: Your Dealership

The culmination of the home run occurs when all these factors are simultaneously in play. The trajectory includes every digital touch point (base) that ultimately drove a buyer into your showroom. Just as players must work together as a team, these micro-moments must all work in harmony in order to meet expectations, establish trust, and offer a fast and personal experience.  

Auto Attribution: Are We Stuck in the Minor Leagues?

By David Metter

There are a lot of rookie players in the game when it comes to accurate attribution reporting (measuring your digital sales return on investment). More often than not, the task of obtaining valuable sales attribution metrics is put on the bench due to their roaring complexity. The problem is not the data. The data is there; we just need the right players in the game to tell us what to do with it and how it connects. Obscure conundrums of the digital world can be “attributed” to the ongoing development of new media channels and information available. This new-age, omni-channel playing field has resulted in an upheaval of brand interaction opportunities – leaving the one source that led to a sale increasingly difficult to pinpoint. Keyword being difficult, not impossible.

The concept of attribution itself is relatively simple. According to DrivingSales, “Attribution allows you to understand which elements of your marketing mix were involved in the purchase decision process, and ideally, which were the most effective.” The problem lies in securing truthful statistics. What use is big data when you can’t put it into perspective and draw logical conclusions? If we knew which touch point led to a sale, wouldn’t we have a much better gage on how and where to spend our ad dollars?

In Google’s recent article, they highlight one consumer’s 900+ digital interactions that took place preceding her final vehicle purchase.

·      The Good News: That’s 900 opportunities for dealers and manufacturers to engage customers with relevant, impactful information. Or in Google’s words, 900 chances to “be there and be useful.”

·      The Bad News: The more digital interactions that make up a single consumer’s online profile, the more difficult it becomes to identify which interaction was the tipping point that led to the purchase.

Experian’s Global Marketer Report highlights the current depth of the issue. “The biggest hurdles and key priorities for marketers this year are dependent on having accurate, enriched data, linked together in a central location for a complete customer view.” In 2016, 81% of marketers are still struggling to attain this information. “Proper revenue attribution is crucial to determining each channel or touch point’s role in the customer journey.” But the reality is too many marketers have very little, if any understanding of which investments are paying off.

So let’s get to the point. The answer to the title of this blog is an obvious YES. Overall as an industry, we are stuck in the minor leagues when it comes to correctly measuring ROI. It’s a huge problem for marketers. But I assure you there is hope. If we only had the reporting to know which interaction point transformed a browser into a buyer, we could make much smarter, more efficient decisions with our money.  

So, what are we going to do about it? First, manufacturers and dealers need to hold themselves accountable for seizing the limitless opportunities to connect. Second, ask yourself if you’re holding your vendors accountable for providing you with the attribution metrics that led to a sale? And I don’t mean how many clicks, impressions or unique site visitors your vendors have sent your way. That’s all great to know. But the major league players know that those executions drove traffic into your showroom and they know how many sales they got you.

CDK’s eBook, Automotive Moneyball says it best. “Leads, clicks, visits and VDP views all have value—as do inventory searches and hours & directions lookups. They just can’t tell the whole story when viewed in isolation. No single number can. They’re simply incomplete—pint-sized, partial pictures of the shoppers they represent.”

The major league players have the good stuff: clear, proven, and complete attribution models. However, it is up to you to key up your bases with ONLY major league vendors.

As the former CMO of one of the largest dealer groups in the country, I know from experience how difficult this can be. I also know that dealers are not getting the most out of their vendors for a variety of reasons - one being lack of time, another being the fear they may try and upsell you during a meeting...I get it. But the truth is, vendors are the experts (think of a player using better equipment) and their expertise is up for the taking - just make sure your scouts know how to draft the players with major league talent.