Efficiency of Dealer Online Advertising Mix Evaluated

Results of a Recent Study Produced by Dataium LLC

Auto­mo­tive deal­er­ships may have oppor­tu­ni­ties to invest more effec­tive­ly in dig­i­tal media, accord­ing to Dataium LLC, the largest aggre­ga­tor of online auto shop­per behav­ior.  In an inde­pen­dent study com­mis­sioned by Cars.com, Dataium found inef­fi­cien­cies between deal­er­ships’ dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing mix and the quan­ti­ty and qual­i­ty of traf­fic to their web­sites.

Mea­sur­ing the activ­i­ty of more than 20 mil­lion auto­mo­tive shop­pers per month on Dataium’s net­work and focused on eval­u­at­ing the direct and indi­rect val­ue of the two pri­ma­ry deal­er adver­tis­ing invest­ments – paid search engine mar­ket­ing and auto­mo­tive mar­ket­places — the study’s find­ing includ­ed:

  • Role of auto­mo­tive mar­ket­places: In its analy­sis of both direct and indi­rect traf­fic, Dataium found that con­sumers who vis­it­ed Cars.com were 70% more like­ly than those who had not vis­it­ed the site to click on a map, review direc­tions or look for busi­ness hours on deal­er­ship web­sites – key “walk-in indi­ca­tors” reflect­ing pur­chase intent.  Shop­pers who vis­it­ed Cars.com were also 10 times more like­ly to sub­mit a lead on a deal­er­ship site and did so with­in 48 hours on aver­age – 4 times faster than the 8 days aver­aged by con­sumers who had not vis­it­ed Cars.com.
  • Inef­fi­cien­cies in paid SEM spend: Despite an aver­age of 55 per­cent of deal­er­ships’ online adver­tis­ing bud­gets being devot­ed to paid search engine mar­ket­ing, just 6 per­cent of deal­er­ship web­site traf­fic on aver­age is referred by paid search key­words.  Fur­ther­more, less than 1 per­cent of this traf­fic result­ed in email form leads sub­mit­ted on deal­er­ship web­sites.
  • Val­ue of “upstream” media: Near­ly 80 per­cent of direct refer­rals from search engines dur­ing the study were dri­ven by key­words that were a vari­a­tion on the deal­er­ship name, rep­re­sent­ing traf­fic a deal­er­ship would the­o­ret­i­cal­ly receive via high rank­ings in organ­ic search results regard­less of the lev­el of paid SEM spend.  In addi­tion, this search activ­i­ty sug­gests that these shop­pers had been famil­iar­ized with the deal­er­ship pri­or to their vis­it to the search engine – by what Dataium calls “upstream” media in its report.

Accord­ing to Michael Page, Vice Pres­i­dent, Adver­tis­ing Solu­tions at Cars.com. “Deal­ers have access to more data than ever before, but it remains dif­fi­cult to see all of the sources that con­tributed to a sale – at the end of the day, a con­sumer still has to walk into the deal­er­ship to pur­chase a vehi­cle.  What we want­ed to accom­plish in com­mis­sion­ing this study was to under­stand the indi­rect val­ue of deal­er­ships’ online invest­ments and pro­vide deal­ers with infor­ma­tion about the qual­i­ty – not just the quan­ti­ty – of their online invest­ments.”

Dataium dis­cov­ered that Cars.com users con­sumed 2.5 times more pages and 3 times more vehi­cle detail pages on deal­er­ship web­sites com­pared with vis­i­tors from oth­er auto­mo­tive mar­ket­place sites, and Cars.com’s direct lead con­ver­sion rate on deal­er­ship web­sites was more than 40 per­cent high­er than the aver­age achieved via oth­ers in its com­pet­i­tive set.

Down­load more insights about the study by click­ing here.

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