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.