digital dealer

Part IV: The Naked Truth Exposed [EXECUTIVE EDITION] Big Data & Attribution

Big Data & Attribution…Who Has It & How Do We Get It?

by David Metter

There’s good news and bad news on this topic…but mostly good. The bad news is AutoHook’s panel of marketing experts had so many dealer-submitted issues to solve they didn’t have time to address data and attribution at Digital Dealer 21 (as this subject could take 50 minutes alone). The good news is I now have the opportunity to step in and shine my headlights upon the industry-wide struggle I’m most passionate about. This final piece of our Naked Truth Exposed series will represent the most momentous road block dealers face today: proving without a doubt the one source that led to a sale.

First, let me fill you in on a quick story about a guy named Dayn Riegel. Dayn is the eCommerce Director of Loganville Ford and he was AutoHook’s winner of our all expenses paid trip to DD21. Why would we invest so much money in a person we had never met? Because he asked the right question. In our nation-wide poll conducted over the spring and summer of 2016, Dayn submitted the following inquiry:

“The best marketing in the world can’t save a dealership from itself – it’s own greed, ineptitude or lack of drive…lack of willingness to succeed, and I don’t mean just talk about it, do something about it. So, my question is: With all the hype around SEO, SEM, PPC, Bing, etc., who is taking all the big data and marketing know-it-all and applying it? Exactly. Nobody really, truly is. Why not?”

Thank you Dayn for giving me the opportunity to take on this challenge. This question is the reason I do what I do, as I experienced the same problems during my time as CMO at MileOne Automotive. I know firsthand, one of the most common pain points for dealers exists in the gaps (or the disconnects in communication) that form when two vendors don’t properly work together. As competition rises in the digital space, and as more and more companies enter the game, these lapses in digital communication will only continue to grow - creating more cracks in our already distressed methods of attributing a sale to a single source.

During my time at MileOne, I was fortunate enough to have the resources, contacts, a great team, and insight to do something about this problem. One of our biggest strengths, and arguably the reason we had such a competitive edge was in our ability to see the unique advantages of two different vendors, and bring them together in a way that benefitted our needs. We quickly learned that combining the exclusive technologies of two (or even three) vendors made it easier for us to sell more cars. More importantly, we had the power to track the latter half of a specific customer’s buying process, which eventually led to the creation of AutoHook’s award-winning sales attribution engine.

People in general have a tendency to overcomplicate common sense concepts. But this isn’t rocket science. If you need green paint, you take some blue paint and some yellow paint and simply mix them together.

So how do we paint the automotive marketing landscape green? I can tell you since I’ve been on the other side (the vendor side) I’ve seen a need for these types of alliances to happen now more than ever. It’s monumental to think of how much we can accomplish if we open up our strengths to others to generate a mutual benefit. What I’m suggesting, is we need to change the focus from beating our competitors, to working in conjunction with competitors to accomplish a goal that guarantees success for all parties - and not just for vendors, but for dealers and OEMs as well.

As Dayn referenced, there is an undertone of greed throughout both dealer and vendor communities. Everyone wants to make more money. Everyone wants to be #1. Everyone wants to keep proprietary technology a secret. But let’s take a step back. Let me spell this out in the simplest way I possibly can. In order to solve the ambiguity that shadows big data and accurate attribution in our industry, we have to do one thing: change our mentality.

Here’s how. What if instead of keeping secrets, we shared knowledge and worked together? What if we connected the automotive universe and created one cohesive, more efficient railroad system? Wouldn’t this drastically reduce disconnects in our data and reporting? Right now, we are on the precipice of change. No one can argue that there is strength in numbers. We need to unite, rather than surround our solutions with egotistical walls, in order to reap the benefits of the bigger picture.

Going back to Dayn’s question of, “Who is taking all the big data and marketing know-it-all and applying it?” The answer is, WE ARE. AutoHook, powered by Urban Science has the fastest, most reliable sales attribution path data in the industry - 99.7% to be exact, and 95% of that data is updated daily. No one can compete with that! Furthermore, we know how to apply this data to prove our solutions directly led to a sale. So not only do we have the data and know what to do with it, but we’re willing to SHARE our AutoHook rail system and API technology with the entire industry…FOR FREE.

Imagine that, an open API that gives all automotive entities the power to finally attribute vehicle sales to a single campaign. What? Why? How can we do this? First of all, we know for a fact we have access to the most reliable and timely sales data from Urban Science. We also know that achieving accurate attribution is trifold.

First, the solution needs to execute. Second, it needs to be validated with performance reports that show concrete evidence of incremental sales and lift in conversion. This requires vendors to surpass irrelevant vanity metrics such as clicks, impressions, and site traffic. Is there any paid search company out there that can prove to a dealership that one of their search campaign clicks resulted in a sold vehicle? The answer, just as Dayn suggested, is absolutely not!

The third piece of our bulletproof attribution model is that it’s personalized and unique to each customer, further eliminating breakdowns in sales data. By assigning a unique code to every user, we can track all post-interaction behavior. How many people walked into your showroom as a direct result of our solution? Did they end up purchasing or not? What model did they purchase? Are they new to your brand? And what led them to your store?

What if the solution to this problem afflicting dealerships, OEMs, and vendors could be as simple as breaking down the walls that separate and limit us? What if we stopped nickel and diming dealers for every integration they request? The ideal solution for obtaining actionable data must be suited for omnichannel use, meaning available to all publishers and vendors across all types of media outlets, hence the concept of an open, free API.

My friends, this is the beginning of an era. This is how we provide the world with access to big data and the reporting needed to turn it into a story worth sharing. This is how our industry becomes more efficient, more streamlined, and more powerful. If we can patch the holes of automotive’s digital rail system, every vendor and dealership can finally validate the true ROI of their marketing investments.

Stay tuned for more to come on how AutoHook will be providing free API access to all.

If you missed part I, II, or III of our Naked Truth Exposed series, check them out below:

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. 

SEM Costs on the Rise: How to Adapt

SEM Costs on the Rise: How to Adapt

I’m not saying I have a Master’s Degree in economics from Harvard, but I do understand the fundamental principles of supply and demand. The price of goods and services is a direct reflection of the market’s available quantity and requirement of said goods and services. As I assume you’ve heard, Google - the guru of digital adaptation - altered the layout of their search engine results pages (SERPs) to better align with the mobile movement. In February of this year, they removed paid ads on the right side of SERPs – leaving less ad real estate and of course, more competition amongst dealerships.

Lead to Show - A Consumer to Dealer Perspective

A customer bought a vehicle, but NOT from the dealer they had intended to buy from.

Find out why...

Receiving a (dealer) customer testimonial is GREAT! Just like the one below from Justin Brun from Acton Toyota.

Justin Brun, E-Commerce Manager for Acton Toyota has been a long time user of HookLogic Autohook's suite of products. Justin was looking for a unique way to incentivize their customers to not only increase their showroom traffic but to help drive and retain customer loyalty within their Service Department. Without giving up the secret sauce, Justin has utilized HookLogic's services to help Acton Toyota accomplish exactly what they set out to do.

A testimonial like this is not only motivating but reconfirms we're doing things right while offering our dealers and partner clients great customer service.

We have proven over and over with our new HookLogic Performance Reporting that Incentivizing the right person at the right time to take action, has massive persuasion and is very effective at getting more in-market buyers into your showroom.

As great as it is to receive a testimonial like Justin's, especially from someone of his expertise, there are times when we (dealers) like to hear or read something from the side of the consumer that's being influenced to take action. It's not every day we're able to read a testimonial like this.

Well, here we go. We stumbled across this testimonial from a customer on a dealer review website (dealerrater.com).

customer testimonial dealerrater
customer testimonial dealerrater

This particular customer, after researching online, had already found a vehicle they were very interested in. From the sound of it, they had mostly made up their mind to purchase this researched vehicle. Instead of the consumer going straight to the dealership that had this researched vehicle, they stopped by another dealership first.

Why? Because during their online vehicle shopping they had visited the Rusty Eck Ford dealership website. And while searching through their online inventory, they were incentivized to visit Rusty Eck Ford for a test drive. That they did.

The result...

"Was just planning on stopping by to take a quick test drive & collect my $25 gift (had already picked out a nice CPO car we wanted to buy at another dealership). But Nick was able to show a car that had just come in on a trade-in that was perfect and almost $1,000 less than the one we had set on..."

Todays market is much different than what it was even just a few years ago. Consumers have OPTIONS! Consumers are NOT as loyal to brands and dealers as they once were.

According to Google's latest report - Digital Drives Auto Shopping, cross-shopping amongst brands and segments is standard behavior and auto-shoppers are doing more research than ever before -  with more than 20 research points on average.

24 Points of Research
24 Points of Research

Dealers spend a LOT of money trying to cover as many of those 20+ research points as possible, but often do not budget around campaigns and services that increase the actual Show Rate.

If you're already differentiating yourself and using a service to influence more shows into your dealership - then you already know how powerful it is. If you're not - you may want to consider. 

*If you're not - come take a Test Drive of the AutoHook Suite of Products and get a $25 Gift Card

Complimentary Limousine Service - On Us!

In the true meaning of HookLogic being a "Show Provider", we would like to provide you a ride to the "Show".

If you are attending Driving Sales, Digital Dealer or J.D. Power conferences this month, Follow HookLogic into Conference week 2013 as we invite you take advantage of our complimentary limousine service to shuttle you and your party between the conferences, your local hotel, and the Vegas strip.

We will be offering refreshing "beverages" while you enjoy your ride with us, compliments of MSCloud Services.

All you need to do is text the word VEGASLIMO to 55678 from your mobile phone and drivers will contact you to arrange for pickup.

The service is first-come-first-serve and our drivers will give priority to our HookLogic premier clients, OEM partners, and agencies of record so depending on the number of people requesting transportation you may or may not have to wait. The limos will be in service on Sunday between 12pm and 10pm and Monday through Thursday between 8am and 10pm.

HookLogic, the industry innovation leader in providing quality traffic into your showroom, looks forward to providing you quality ride to the Vegas fall conferences.

We hope that you have a great time in Las Vegas.

Video Highlights of David Metter's Automotive ZMOT Panel at DD12

ZMOT ZMOT ZMOT. It seems to be all that we are talking about these days. If you are in e-commerce and/or automotive, it is hard to escape this new term that was introduced this past year by Shopper Sciences as part of Google's quantitative review of decision making behavior across shopping, services, and voting.

Although the term ZMOT, which stands for Zero Moment of Truth, might be new, the concept is far from new. The zero moment of truth for a shopper refers to "all the research consumers do online before making their purchase." Source: TechWyse.com.

In today's language, ZMOT pretty much occurs online during a shopper's quest to better understand product and availability. Product of course if mandated by the OEM but availability is primarily determined by the dealerships.

The automotive zero moment of truth for an auto shopper often begins with a search engine and ends either on a dealer's website or in the showroom.

By "end" I mean that the shopper comes to a conscious decision as to which product she is going to buy and from which dealer she will buy from.

From this point, FMOT enters the scene, which stands for First Moment of Truth. In a new car owner's  first moment of truth, the customer is on her honeymoon with her purchase and is more likely now to share her joy with friends as opposed to several weeks later. Thus, dealers today must consider their role not only in ZMOT but also in FMOT.

In a recent interview with Mike Esposito from Auto/Mate Systems, Mike summed it up perfectly by stating, "We used to talk about 'ups' and 'be backs'. Now you hear about ZMOT, and SEO, and digital marketing. The whole language has changed. The dealer that doesn’t come up to speed on these things is going to be left behind.”

In the video below, HookLogic President of Automotive David Metter moderates a panel on Automotive ZMOT and FMOT at DD12 with panelists Shaun Kniffin from Germain Motorcars, Andrew DiFeo from Hyundai of St. Augustine, Tom White Jr. from Suzui of Wichita, and David Kain from Kain Automotive.

The premise of the panel revolves around the debate of whether or not dealers are responsible for stimulus advertising which again is where a shopper's ZMOT will occur. As you will see, some dealers must generate their own stimulus while others do not, but the overlying business problem facing all auto dealerships is how they address ZMOT and how they address FMOT.

The original panel was pretty much an hour long. This video is all but three minutes so clearly only a very limited amount of what was discussed made it into this video. The pieces that did make tell a simple story that we hope all dealers can use to their benefit.

Take a look and feel free to respond with your thoughts by leaving a comment on this post.  You are welcome to share this post and/or video with others on your own blog or in social media. If you do please let us know where you are sharing it so that we can chime in to people's responses.

To learn more about how your dealership can take its customers from ZMOT to FMOT using HookLogic's AutoHook Suite of Products, visit our website for a free demo or to read some of the success stories that our own customers have shared.

Video: HookLogic and Friends at DD12 Orlando

HookLogic at DD12 Orlando
HookLogic at DD12 Orlando

Here is our video on YouTube from the 12th Digital Dealer Conference at Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida in April 2012. You will see it introduces members of our sales team that were there including Vicki O'Neill with the Great Lakes Region, Clarence Romero with the Northeast Region, Shawn Maiorino with the Southeast Region, and Jeff Kershner, National Sales Director.

Auto event diva April Rain of Digital Rain Management leads the way in this one with interviews from new kids on the scene to "heavy hitters" like Mark Boyd and Jesse Biter who landed a spotlight scene with a big plug for the Dealers United deal with KPA.

Clarence was a big help in our NADA 2012 video and he came through again at DD12 on an interview with Devon Sciortino from Thornton Chevrolet mentioning AutoHook.

Ben Anderson from AutoMotion TV also has a segment in here. Ben conducted an extensive interview with us at DD12 with George Peters from McGeorge Toyota in Richmond, VA. A piece of it is in this video.

PR maven Sara Callahan conducted a 2-question interview with Auto/Mate President Mike Esposito, a portion of which can be found in the video.

Another segment is from an excerpt of the David Metter DD12 Automotive ZMOT Panel Video where Andrew DiFeo and Tom White Jr. have two contrasting realities concerning stimulus advertising.

Also appearing in the video is Layton Judd from 3 Birds Marketing. Phil Penton from SocialDealer. Jeff Clark and Ali Amirrezvani from DealerOn.

Last but not least you will see clips from the ActivEngage, Haystack, HookLogic party at the Blue Martini Lounge.

Enjoy and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, like the video, share it and all that jazz. Thanks.

[hana-code-insert name='VID DD12' /]

Come Party with ActivEngage and HookLogic at Digital Dealer 12 Orlando

HookLogic-ActivEngage DD12 Party
HookLogic-ActivEngage DD12 Party

If you will be in town for the 12th Digital Dealer Conference and Exposition in Orlando, FL, join ActivEngage and HookLogic on Wednesday, April 4, at the Blue Martini Lounge as we co-host a blowout bash for clients, VIPs and friends. Every year during the spring Digital Dealer Conference, ActivEngage throws the best party in Orlando! Walk the redorange carpet feeling like a real movie star as you and guests enter this year’s most anticipated Digital Dealer extravaganza.

From 8:30 till 11:00 PM, the celebration will feature complementary beverages and the best blend of 80’s, 90’s, and today’s top hits performed by live entertainment that will surely have you on the dance floor all night! Don’t care to dance? No worries! Bump elbows and network with industry peers as well as meet the brains and faces behind ActivEngage’s excellence.

As tradition, the Customer Appreciation party will be hosted at Central Florida’s finest upscale lounge and live entertainment bar, Blue Martini. Blue Martini is undeniably the top spot for both locals and visitors from all around, delivering you an unforgettable experience.

Why ActivEngage and HookLogic?

ActivEngage and HookLogic have recently announced a strategic relationship to deliver the industry’s most advanced and effective lead generation technology. ActivEngage is the most trusted brand in automotive live chat. With over 75 years of automotive retail experience, ActivEngage proprietary chat software, fully-managed service and real-time business intelligence reporting is expertly designed to maximize the amount of leads delivered from websites while reducing the overall cost of lead generation for dealerships


Make sure to RSVP to the event to guarantee a spot to this year most anticipated social celebration by clicking the red stamp link to your right.

David Metter Leading ZMOT Panel at 12th Digital Dealer Conference in Orlando

12th Digital Dealer Conference Orlando
12th Digital Dealer Conference Orlando

Are you tired of hearing that ZMOT is important to you and your dealership but not having a winning strategy to follow? Do you struggle with that elusive lead to show metric? On Wednesday April 4, 2012, HookLogic Automotive President David Metter will be moderating a panel discussion at the 12th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition in Orlando where he and 4 other industry experts will discuss how to take your customer from that Zero Moment of Truth when they are engaged with your website or lead call-to-action and drive them into your showroom, providing your salespeople with the highest quality at-bat.

In this panel, Metter will combine great data from Google’s Automotive ZMOT study and apply it to real-world situations with our dealer panel. If you are interested in how progressive operators have figured out how to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive marketplace, you won’t want to miss this session.

On this panel are:

  • Tom White, Jr., General Manager, Suzuki of Wichita
  • David Kain, President, KainAutomotive.com
  • Andrew DiFeo, General Manager, Hyundai of St. Augustine
  • Shaun Kniffin, Director of Internet Sales & eBusiness development, Germain Motor Sales

Receive a $25 Best Buy Gift Certificate When You Visit Our Booth #414

If you are attending Digital Dealer and want to get a a sneak peek of HookLogic's AutoHook Suite of Products, including our new Web to Show 2.0 that supercharges your mobile websites and mobile apps, we would like to offer you a free gift.  Just visit www.leadtoshow.com/DD12 and fill out our simple form.  Then show up at Digital Dealer Booth #414 with your 8-digit code for your demo and we will redeem your coupon and show you how it all works.

About the Event

The last conference in Las Vegas drew more than 1,100 dealers and managers from almost every state and featured 94 sessions and workshops and more than 95 exhibitors. Combined, the last two Digital Dealer Conferences drew more than 2,100 registered dealers, GMs, sales managers, Internet sales managers, e-commerce directors, BDC/CRM managers, fixed operations managers, and pre-owned managers – every one of them there to learn more about Internet and technology-related issues from speakers and exhibitors.

The 12th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition will continue to build on the learning and excitement from previous conferences with 94 sessions and even more emphasis on the cutting-edge topics for dealers and managers, such as using and managing social media to build business, online reputation management, effective website analytics, and more.

When: Tuesday April 3 - Thursday April 5, 2012

Where: The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida

Save $100 on Registration: Visit the conference website www.digitaldealerconference.com for more information and to register online today. As a first-time dealer attendee, let Digital Dealer know we referred you by registering with the ID Code "DD12PEBHL" and receive a $100 discount off of the registration fee!

HookLogic to Discuss the Lead to Show Process at Digital Dealer Workshop in January


Are you ready to start 2012 with a competitive online game plan? The Digital Dealer Workshops are bringing you everything you need to succeed online, and HookLogic will be there presenting as well talking about converting Internet leads into showroom traffic. Two distinctively different tracks will be offered and are customized to your level of experience:

  1. The dealer who feels behind on his or her e-commerce education.
  2. The dealer who is prepared but wants to excel.

Topics range from social media to website analytics and maximizing your CRM to converting leads.

The workshops have been carefully crafted to give you the essential information to grow your business. Digital Dealer understands how critical education is to your success so they are bringing the best information to you.


Dealers, GMs, GSMs, Internet Sales Managers, e-Commerce Directors, CRM Managers, BDC Managers and Fixed Operations Managers Dealers, bring your managers. Managers, bring your dealers.


Track 1: 360 Degrees of Automotive e-Commerce

This track is designed for dealers that know they "don’t get it" but understand the importance of it. This classroom style workshop will run the entire day with four consecutive workshops that will take you through the fundamentals of digital marketing and online sales. This workshop will have you leaving with the confidence to approach your Internet strategies.

Tracks 2-4: Intermediate to advanced education

Attendees can choose any workshops within these tracks as desired throughout the day.

Track 2: Social Media and New Technologies Track 3: Sales, Process and Fixed Operations Track 4: Websites, Marketing and Analytics

At the one day Digital Dealer Workshop you will learn essential information for online success, including:

  • Maximizing online sales
  • Improving online marketing
  • Developing strategies for SEM and SEO
  • Maximizing your social media and reputation management
  • Creating e-commerce strategies
  • Maximizing brand recognition
  • Improving sales processes
  • Demonstrations on emerging technologies
  • Gaining market share
  • Reducing costs and increasing gross profit
  • Maximizing other profit centers


Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 8:00am - 6:00pm. Workshops begin at 10:00am.


Hilton Houston Post Oak in Houston, Texas, less than one mile from the Galleria area.

About HookLogic's Session

It’s all about the Show, Baby!

David Metter is on the session ticket to talk about the evolution of Internet lead management that has lead dealers to understand that their main focus has to be on driving quality customers from their leads into the showroom floor. This is an ongoing conversation Metter and HookLogic are having with dealers across the country that offers data-driven insight into what works today.

Other sessions include:

Mobile Marketing and the Dealer with Ben Anderson; Using Auto Shopper Data to Learn More about Every Lead with Jason Ezell Practices to Improve Customer Retention with Bill Wittenmyer 7 Online Strategies to Double Your Fixed Ops Profit in 2012 with Jeff Clark LIVE Mystery Phone Shop with Jerry Thibeau 7 Secrets To Internet Marketing with Larry Bruce Connecting with Customers in Every Moment of Truth with Ed Parkin The Future of Digital Finance with Pete MacInnis How Search Has Radically Changed The Way Consumers Shop For Cars with Julio Gonzalez Social Media: The most important things you need to know today with TBD


Register early to take advantage of early bird pricing. Early registration cutoff is December 31.

Click here to visit the Digital Dealer Workshops website for registration information.

Twitter hashtag: #DDW