mobile apps

5 Digital Trends Sticking Around for 2016

By David Metter

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to examine trends in digital marketing and predict what dealers should be prepared to consider and focus on in the upcoming year. 2015 has seen so much innovation and change, there’s no doubt 2016 will see even more. However, which trends in 2015 will stick around for the year to come? 

Experts say these five are here to stay:

1.    Mobile – It wasn’t that long ago that marketers thought of mobile as a secondary access point for consumers. However, in 2015 mobile usage overtook desktop computers for accessing Internet information, and that trend is certain to continue. Consumers want information on demand, and increasingly they are out and about and not tethered to their computer. Mobile is much more convenient for today’s on-the-go consumer. Businesses will be forced to shift their focus and provide an excellent mobile experience in order to remain relevant. Those that do not will find customers seeking and finding that information from their competition and ultimately lose business.  

2.    Apps – Not only is the mobile experience itself becoming more important, we’re also seeing an increase in the importance of apps. When using smartphones, consumers spend upwards of 85% of that time within apps. Apps offer multiple marketing advantages including location-based marketing, push notifications, loyalty program integration, as well as dynamic and personalized offers and coupons. In addition, with its mobile-friendly algorithm change in April, Google introduced app indexing. If you’re not familiar with app indexing, in a nutshell it means that Google is now indexing content within apps and integrating that content into organic search results. This will become increasingly important for businesses’ SEO efforts.

3.    Personalization – Businesses will continue to migrate away from mass messages and better utilize their customer data to send more relevant and personalized messages. Segmentation, cookies, and retargeting, mixed with the massive amounts of consumer information now available, allows marketers to further refine messages. By doing so, businesses will see increased response rates and conversions as customers start receiving relevant messages at more opportune times.

4.    Content – Businesses are starting to realize that content is the new advertising. Pressure is being applied from all directions – search, social and consumers – and they all demand unique and relevant content as the price of admission. If you want to be noticed, it is important to understand that consumers respond much better to content that solves a problem, tells a story, or answers a question. By producing this content, you will be rewarded by increased web traffic through consumer search, and also by higher page rankings from search engines.  

5.    Video – If there’s any form of content that is exponentially exploding, it's video. Every platform in existence is making a push for video content and rewards businesses that produce it. With the new explosion and popularity of live streaming apps such as Periscope, Blab and Meerkat, along with live-streaming to all users that Facebook is rolling out, businesses who find innovative ways to integrate live streaming into their digital marketing efforts will see increased exposure and engagement.

While significant, these are just a few of the countless ways digital marketing is changing. Chances are that 2016 will see more innovative ways for businesses to market to and interact with customers. Paying attention to and adopting these five trends will certainly help your business gain a competitive advantage and position it for digital marketing success in 2016.

A Primer on Beacons and How Dealers Can Benefit From Them

By David Metter

As we head into 2016, one of the most exciting new technologies that some dealers are experimenting with are beacons. Beacons are small, inexpensive hardware devices that can be attached to a wall in the showroom or placed around a dealership's lot. Using Bluetooth technology, the beacon detects nearby smartphone devices and can send customers push notifications with a welcome message, mobile coupons, or promotional information. 

Beacons are already in use at several large retailers, such as Target, Macy's and Simon Mall Properties. Currently, beacons can only communicate with customers' smartphones via an app. For smaller retailers including auto dealers, this has presented a barrier to adoption because most stores don't have their own branded apps. However, the ability to tie beacon technology to Apple Wallet and Google Wallet changes this dynamic. If a consumer saves a dealership's event, loyalty card, or offer to their Wallet app, the dealership can use beacons to activate the app and send updated and relevant offers.

It's important to understand the difference between beacon marketing and location-based mobile marketing. Location-based marketing allows dealers to set up a "geofence" or perimeter size of their choice around their dealership. When smartphones with location services enabled cross the perimeter boundary, ads are displayed and messages can be sent to that consumer. Beacons are only used to target in-store customers.

One type of beacon technology is Visual Light Communications (VLC), a system that turns LED lights into beacons that can pinpoint consumer location with extreme accuracy. Any dealership that has indoor and outdoor LED lighting can implement VLC.

ByteLight is one brand of VLC that uses existing lighting infrastructure and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to communicate with smartphones. As a customer moves through the showroom or across a lot, LEDs emit flickering light patterns undetectable to the human eye but visible to the customers' smartphone cameras or BLE sensors.

While a beacon device can tell you the area or aisle a customer is located, VLC is so exact it can tell you the exact product or vehicle the customer is standing next to. This allows you to send hyper-targeted messaging to every customer.

Another advantage of VLC technology compared to other types of beacons is that they draw their power from the lighting grid so they don't need batteries, which standalone beacon hardware devices require.

In retail automotive, a few early adopters are already experimenting with beacons on their lots. Although some retailers are a little apprehensive about the perception that the technology may be intrusive, it won't be long before this type of targeted messaging becomes the "new normal" for mobile users.

For auto dealers, there are three primary applications for beacon technology:

1) Improve Customer Service: Beacons can detect when a new customer arrives at the dealership, even if they don't come directly into the showroom. If a customer is walking around the lot, the beacon alerts the sales team inside the dealership and displays the customer's location. A salesperson can then be dispatched to that location to help the customer.

2) Track Customers: Beacons can aid in the gathering of big data that will help dealers better understand consumer behavior. When customers arrive on your lot, where do they go first? How do they move around the showroom or lot? Is there a difference between the movements of customers who purchase a car and those who leave without purchasing? In the latter case, if a customer's behavior pattern indicates they're getting ready to leave without purchasing, the dealership could send a sales manager or a push notification with an attractive incentive to stay.

3) Hyper-Targeted Messaging: Imagine a customer who is walking through the lot, then stops to look at a particular vehicle. Suddenly the pricing and monthly payment information for that exact vehicle pops up on their phone. Or, a special interest rate or cash-back offer that is available for that model and that customer based on their credit score and other factors is displayed. The ability to do this already exists. For auto dealers, it's just a matter of time before the mobile customer expects this type of personalized promotion, at which time adoption will become mainstream.

Beacon technology has the potential to completely transform the auto purchasing process. But before running out to implement it, consider where you are in your entire mobile marketing strategy. It's a good idea to master the basics before trying out the latest and greatest technology.

Mobile basics to be mastered first include: What is the user experience for your mobile website and mobile landing pages? Have you created successful mobile ad and texting campaigns? Do you have a good understanding of mobile metrics? Once you get the basics down, then it makes sense to start experimenting with beacons to see how they can improve your customers’ experience.

Don't Just Be Accessible With Mobile...Be Effective

"The invasion of the smartphone has changed how consumers shop for everything, including high-end purchases like automobiles."


When it comes to potential car buyers it is not uncommon to see people browsing mobile sites either looking at a dealership’s inventory, comparing prices and information, or shopping their trade in.

Walk in to any coffee shop, cafe, bus stop, train station, or almost any venue really, even at your dealership and you will see the masses browsing the mobile web or tooling through an app on the newest generation of cell phones, otherwise known as smartphones, many of them researching vehicles and local dealers.

Smartphones are defined as mobile phones that operate with advanced capabilities and operating systems, similar to that of PC functionality. These phones have Internet browsers and capabilities, and increasingly people are completing their internet browsing on these phones.

The new challenge then for auto dealers is not only how to be accessible via mobile but also how to be effective with mobile.

By effective, I mean being able to convert the right people at the right time.

Converting auto shoppers in a mobile environment often results in acquiring less information about each person because there is less real estate with which to work and also because if it isn't uber-convenient then there is a high chance you will lose the visitor all together. Therefore you need simple and highly effective conversion tools that differentiate your dealership from the others.

Gift card incentives are proving to be effective for this, and dealerships across the country are benefiting from increased incremental sales with effective tools such as HookLogic'sWeb to Show and Lead to Show products.

But it's not as simple as offering someone a gift card for coming in for a test drive. To do this effectively and consistently over time your dealership will need not only the best technology but also the right partners and a good process built in to both the front-end and back-end.

Nowadays the right tools and the right technology require being effective in mobile too. This might involve a mobile web version and/or a mobile app version of your reward incentive and it might require effective SMS (or text message) marketing techniques. For HookLogic Web to Show customers, influencing shopper behavior via mobile has recently been made all the more feasible.

As stated in a recent press release by HookLogic's Chief Product Officer John Berhman,

"HookLogic‘s new Web to Show 2.0 solution for mobile coupled with our AutoHook suite of products means we are able to influence car buyers into the showroom from whatever channel they choose to shop.”


In addition to this new mobile offering, HookLogic has also launched its mobile redemption app. With this new app, dealership personnel are now able to validate, redeem, and measure incentives directly from their mobile devices in real-time.

The dealer mobile redemption app is available in Apple iOS and Android versions and can be downloaded at the Apple App Store and the Google’s Android Market respectively. To learn more about this new app visit our recent blog post titled, Redeeming Coupons from the Palm of Your Hand.

To learn more about how HookLogic's AutoHook Suite of Products can help increase the number of incremental sales at your dealership, contact us today by visiting our website, or call 1-646-532-4707.

Redeeming Coupons from the Palm of Your Hand

Remember when customers would come in to your dealership with a print-out of a coupon code for their $25 gift card that you promised to give them for coming in to see you? Remember how you had to either write down the customers code and then later enter it into the system? Or maybe you escorted the customer back to your office right away so you could log on to the AutoHook redemption system and redeem their code on the fly?

Now with the new mobile app from HookLogic you are able to redeem coupons from the palm of your hand while standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the customer using our new Android, iPhone, and iPad apps.

That's right. Redeeming HookLogic coupons is now easier than ever.

How it Works

We took the coupon redemption and reporting capabilities that are currently present in our web-based user interface and moved them into a streamlined mobile application that allows for on-the-go productivity.  AutoHook clients are now able to validate a customer’s HookLogic walk-in incentive coupon and have the dealership's walk-in metrics at their fingertips, without being tied to their desks.

The process is the same but the convenience is greater. To redeem, users will simply launch the mobile app from their preferred device, enter the coupon code, and hit submit.  Upon doing so you will then be asked to enter the customer’s shipping address to finalize the redemption. That is all there is to it.

For reporting, users enter the desired start/end dates, the site that they wish to pull data for, and whether they want to pull data based upon coupon redemption or issued date.  Hitting “Run Report” will pull up the lead and walk-in metrics on a dealer by dealer basis.

AutoHook Mobile App Screens
AutoHook Mobile App Screens

Both Apple iOS and Android compatible versions have been released.  Future releases will bring additional functionality from the existing UI over to the mobile app. Choose your preferred app now by pressing one of the two graphics below.

AutoHook for iOS
AutoHook for iOS
AutoHook for Android OS
AutoHook for Android OS