Advertising/Marketing

Holiday advertising driving luxury interest in December

SAN FRANCISCO - 

New analysis shows which automakers are gaining the most from their holiday-season advertising.

December interest in the luxury segment has grown by 10 percent since December 2014, according to new data from Jumpstart Automotive Media on the impact automotive holiday advertising has had on luxury shopper interest over the past several years.

“Based on analyzing what people are shopping for throughout the year, it appears that the luxury holiday ad campaigns have been relatively effective, especially over the past few years,” Jumpstart strategic insights senior analyst Colin Thomas said in a news release.

December ranked as the second-highest month for luxury shopping in 2015 and 2016.

Last year, November ranked just slightly higher than December (31.3 percent vs. 31.0 percent), according to Jumpstart.

BMW’s “Road Home” television ad has been the most-viewed commercial this holiday season and Land Rover has the second-most viewed, according to WardsAuto.

Other notable luxury brand commercials include “December To Remember” from Lexus and Audi’s “Season of Audi”.

“Nearly 20 years ago, Lexus pioneered the holiday year-end automotive sales event with the ‘December To Remember’ campaign featuring cars with giant red bows. Now we have seasonal television spots from virtually every luxury carmaker, with creative that rivals that of the Super Bowl,” added Thomas.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing how much December advertising impacts traffic this year.”

Study: Brochures remain valuable to car shoppers, more than social media

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. - 

While roughly 90 percent of car shoppers find printed brochures helpful when in search of their next vehicle, far fewer dealers feel the same, according to a recent study.

The Latcha+Associates' study that focuses on the car-shopping journey and the impact of marketing content such as printed brochures, found that just 32 percent of high-volume dealers and only 14 percent of low-volume dealers find printed brochures to be either extremely impactful or very impactful on driver's purchase decision.

Meanwhile, 61 percent of shoppers found them to be “somewhat helpful,” and 29 percent said they are “very helpful.”

After websites at 86 percent and automotive magazines at 30 percent, brochures are a top shopper touchpoint; 28 percent of shoppers report using a printed brochure, and 23 percent downloaded a brochure, according to the study.

Interestingly, the study also shows that at 26 percent, social media currently trails printed brochure popularity among shoppers.

Across gender and generation breaks, printed brochure utility is highly consistent as well. In addition to 88 percent of men and 91 percent of women, 88 percent of millennials, 89 percent of Gen X’ers and 94 percent of Baby Boomers said they find printed brochures either “somewhat helpful” or “very helpful.”

While printed brochures were found to be as important to dealers, many find printed brochures customized with dealer information beneficial, about six-in-ten salespeople (59 percent) that have seen customized brochures find them to be “very valuable.”

Additionally, among shoppers who have not used a printed brochure in your shopping experience, most said they were not offered one, (44 percent), followed by doesn’t help me compare vehicles (35 percent), and not enough detail available (27 percent).

When asked about what they think are the most important elements of printed brochures to shoppers, the study found that dealers feel brochures with information accompanying vehicle feature options, colors and drivers POV photos to carry the greatest value.

The most important printed brochure elements according to dealers include:

  1. Features and options, 55 percent
  2. Color and trim, 15 percent
  3. Specifications and dimensions, 14 percent
  4. Model line-up, 6 percent
  5. Photos, 6 percent
  6. Fuel economy, 4 percent

Latcha+Associates conducted its study comprised of focus groups, mobile surveys, phone interviews and in-person interviews with market research firm GfK.

“GfK used its vast experience and knowledge of location-based, mobile shopper marketing research to gather timely, relevant information on the impact of marketing content within the automotive purchase journey,” GfK executive vice president of consulting, automotive Dale Drerup explained in a news release introducing the study. “Combining that with Latcha's unrivaled automotive knowledge, we produced an objective, top-quality study detailing the different roles and value of marketing content throughout the in-market auto shopper’s path to purchase.”

FCA adds AutoLoop to key vendor roster

CLEARWATER, Fla. - 

AutoLoop announced Tuesday it has been named a key software vendor for Fiat Chrysler America (FCA) dealers through Shift Digital. 

In addition to AutoLoop’s service and customer retention tools, FCA dealers can now take advantage of special FCA promotional rates.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to partner with FCA and offer its dealers proven solutions to help increase their sales and service opportunities,” AutoLoop chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a news release.

“We know that dealers nationwide face numerous challenges in today’s market, and we look forward to working with them to address those challenges and help drive their business in the months ahead.”

As a key FCA vendor, AutoLoop’s products such as AutoLoop Book, Messaging, BillPay, Essentials, Loyalty and Quote are now eligible for retailer co-op reimbursement.

Additionally, FCA dealers can also benefit from comprehensive support via a variety of channels, according to Anderson.

“While we design each solution to be as intuitive and user-friendly as possible, we also provide an expert team of support contacts— as well as extensive on-site training, if requested— to ensure total product familiarity and usability,” added Anderson.

“We always want to make sure the dealer is getting all the benefits our resources offer.”

Manheim to launch omni-channel experience via Marketplace

ATLANTA - 

Manheim announced Friday it will deliver an omni-channel experience through its new Marketplace that brings together all channels into one integrated destination for buyers and sellers.

The omni-channel experience will provide wholesale vehicle buyers and sellers increased opportunities to connect and transact business, according to Manheim.

“We’re well on our way to creating a first-of-its-kind, omni-channel experience that will offer many touchpoints and more effectively meet the needs and preferences of buyers and sellers,” Manheim Digital Marketplaces and RMS Automotive president Nick Peluso said in a news release.

“Next year, Manheim will do even more to bring integrated solutions and value-added experiences to Manheim’s audience of buyers and sellers – the largest in the industry.” 

The development of Manheim’s new Marketplace began in 2014 with the company’s $400 million multi-year initiative to transform its auction operations.

In addition to being able to easily add on services to increase velocity, according to Manheim several of its Marketplace solutions that have already been integrated have allowed dealers to search inventory across OVE, Manheim.com and OEM-specific marketplaces.

“Manheim’s vision is to transform our operations into a seamless, 24/7 marketplace that enables our clients to buy and sell vehicles and solutions effortlessly,” added Grace Huang, president of Manheim Inventory Solutions. “The strength of Manheim and its connection to other Cox Automotive brands offer the kind of value to dealers and commercial clients that no other company can match.”

The Manheim Marketplace currently supports 58 million unique visits and 10 million unique vehicle listings annually, according to Manheim.

Facebook announces new mobile ad features for auto companies

MENLO PARK, Calif.  - 

Facebook announced this morning that the social media giant is launching new mobile ad features designed to help auto companies grow their customer base and reach new shoppers.

No doubt about it. Mobile devices have changed and continue to change how people shop for vehicles. In response, Facebook announced a new set of mobile features for its dynamic and lead ads for auto.

The dynamic ads allow manufacturers and dealers to upload their new and used vehicle inventory with details such as make, model and year.

“It then automatically generates ads that show the most compelling vehicles to the right audiences—driving them toward vehicle detail pages, lead submission forms or other valuable places,” Facebook explained.

Facebook has also enhanced its lead ads for auto, which work to simplify the process of discovering and capturing intent from Facebook users interested in dealership inventory. Lead ad viewers are sent to a form that is pre-populated with their relevant contact info, such as their email address. Interested shoppers can then submit directly through Facebook to obtain information from that dealership, including offers and quotes.

A blog post from Facebook’s auto division focusing on the new mobile features explored how in order to be successful in the auto industry today, you simply can’t afford to wait for customers to find you—you need to reach them. Facebook’s two new mobile ad features are supposed to help auto dealers do just this.

“The people coming into a dealership are just a small subset of your potential customer base—and that's why it's helpful to generate intent before they arrive to your location,” the blog post stated.

And more and more car shoppers are doing much of their research online — and making purchase decisions, as well, before even getting to your lot. 

Serving up what online shoppers want

That means ads need to serve up what these online shoppers want. Facebook’s dynamic ads are showing people vehicles tailored to them and their interests. The dynamic ads not only allow manufacturers and dealers to upload their vehicle catalog with relevant details such as make, model and year, but they also automatically generate ads that show the most compelling inventory to the right audiences. The ads then lead shoppers toward vehicle detail pages, lead submission forms and more.

“With a single integration, you can make sure that your most relevant vehicles are always being shown to potential auto buyers—allowing you to focus on closing the sale,” the Facebook blog post stated.

One of Facebook’s early testers for these ads is Edmunds. Madhura Sengupta, director of advertising product technology at Edmunds, had this to say:

“We’re excited to partner with Facebook on a new dynamic ad solution for the automotive industry that builds on Edmunds’ extensive shopper insights to create the most relevant, personalized and informative ad experience and helps drive shoppers to their perfect car,” Sengupta said. “We are seeing promising upstream results from our early testing, and are thrilled to continue to develop this offering for both our dealer and OEM partners.”

Cox Automotive is also testing the new dynamic ads, and the company’s director of product Adam Pavkov stated, “early results have proven the product to be an effective solution for driving key onsite shopping activity.

Reaching more potential customers

When shopping for vehicles online, if a customer is interested in a vehicle, they want to connect with the business as quickly and conveniently as possible. That's where lead ads come in. 

“Facebook lead ads have been enhanced to simplify the process of capturing intent from people who are interested in your vehicle offering,” the company shard.

How? By creating an in-app experience that makes it easy for potential customers to sign up for information from your dealership, including offers and quotes.

"Lead ads for auto make it easy for people to sign up for information from your dealership, such as offers and quotes,” Facebook shared. “People are sent to a form that is pre-populated with their relevant contact info, such as their email address. They simply confirm what information they want to share with you, and voila—you have a lead.”

 

 

 

Liquid Motors announces milestones during Used Car Week

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - 

Internet marketing solution company Liquid Motors announced during Used Car Week it has met a few significant milestones, one of which includes signing its 100th independent auto auction customer during the first week of the month.

That same week, the company — along with its independent auto auction customers — signed their 1,000th “outside the gate” dealer listing aged inventory vehicles on some of the major online wholesale marketplaces: Adesa.com, OVE.com and SmartAuction.

“I am very proud of our team, our partners and our independent auction customers for all the hard work they performed to reach these milestones,” Michael Daseke, president and chief executive officer of Liquid Motors, said. “Our rapid growth is a testimony to the value our services provide to our customers.”

And 2017 is turning out to be another good year for the company. Year-to-date, Liquid Motors has listed more than 500,000 vehicles, which is almost twice the highest listing volume in a single year.

“The rapid expansion of the outside the gate program for dealer’s aged inventory has fueled much of the listing growth,” the company shared.

And this growth is paying off for its customers, as well. For the past six months, nine of SmartAuction’s top 10 independent auction sellers have been Liquid Motors customers, as well.

“We have utilized Liquid Motors’ services for two years, and we wouldn’t be able to have the success we have had online without Liquid Motors,” Keith Fetz, digital sales director at Clark County Auto Auction, said.  “The system’s automation to list vehicles allows me to focus on signing new accounts and selling vehicles rather than listing them.”

COMMENTARY: Baby You Can Drive My Car

DANBURY, Conn. - 

Maybe the Beatles were on to something back in 1965 when they released this single. If you look around the market these days; marketers have their heads down trying to figure out how to transform their business models to include some sort of subscription type offer and bring it to market.

It’s really very interesting to experience such a dramatic shift in the focus of the marketing community regarding the best way to bring new products to market. Just a year ago much of the marketing speak in our industry was focused on leveraging ecommerce and the remnants of brick and mortar retailing.

With the monopoly-like dominance that Amazon has developed in recent months thru organic growth and strategic acquisitions; it appears that many merchants have literally thrown in the towel believing that there is no way to compete with this juggernaut. At best, most believe that they are really competing for a much smaller piece of the overall consumer market that is reserved for the No. 2 position in their respective market segments.

Product marketers are feeling the impact of this brick and mortar retail channel consolidation and centralization as they vie for the love of Amazon, Walmart and other big players who are grabbing huge swaths of consumer purchasing. The Big guys are using their distribution “prowess” to crush margins and profits resulting in a product marketing arena that is desperate to find new ways to work “around the channel” and make their appeal directly to the consumer. With the dubious future of Toys R Us, toy manufacturers are looking at a holiday season that is fraught with peril from a unit sale and “are we going to get paid” perspective.

What has become most interesting about the new found awareness and recognition of the direct to consumer and subscription model is how universal the appeal is with all demographic segments and product categories in the consumer marketplace.  The incredible rise overnight of more than a dozen automakers and auto aggregators marketing subscription services around the consumer’s ability to drive the car of their dreams and/or their necessity is incredible. Before you jump to conclusions and believe these opportunities are the 2018 version of rent a wreck, consider the big brands that are already playing in this space: Ford, Volvo, Hyundai, Cadillac, Porsche & Chevrolet are all players. There are a host of other aggregators that are offering cross car brand subscription opportunities.

The model is fairly simple. Each company asks the subscriber to pay an upfront fee (as a qualifier) and then provides a number of different subscription options to select from. The options are pivoting on the subscriber’s monthly budget, style of car, number of miles to be driven etc. The subscriber pays their fee and the car is either ready for pick up or can be delivered to the subscriber’s home or business. There is no insurance or registration fee to be paid. You get to drive the car you want at the level you want for a monthly subscription fee.

The strategy is ingenious in its simplicity and the potential to deliver several different revenue streams. Clearly, the subscription fee is nice upfront cash along with a commitment to pay a monthly subscription over time brings a recurring revenue stream. Automakers and dealers have plenty of inventory on their lots these days and this is a neat way to generate revenue to the dealer prior to a sale of a car. Dealers are always looking for new buyers to “test drive” their cars; knowing that if they can get a “butt in a seat” - 90 percent of the time the driver will buy the car. In the subscription model offering, they lure customers in and have them pay for the right to “test drive” the car over time. No doubt…during that period…dealers and automakers will have a range of incentives to turn a subscriber into a buyer of the vehicle. In a sense, they are “seeding” their prospect pool and potentially getting paid twice!

The overarching lesson for all marketers in the evolution of this new business model for automakers and dealers is that holding on to the past and/or lamenting the current state of the distribution model dynamics is wasted energy. If marketers aren’t thinking both in and out of the box for new direct to consumer strategies….what are they waiting for?

Time to get moving and drive down a new road to profitability … in 2018 and beyond.

Jim Fosina is Fosina Marketing Group’s chief executive officer.

5 components of tool to deliver customized dealership ads based on user’s web activity

FORT WORTH, Texas - 

Imagine potential buyers receiving customized advertisements for your dealership before they even begin to navigate through your store website.

That’s the outcome Simpli.fi says it can deliver by introducing Prospecting Dynamic Creative for Auto, what the company claims is the industry’s first and only upper-funnel dynamic creative programmatic tool that can generate dynamic ads to buyers even before they visit a seller’s website.

The company explained this turnkey solution requires no integration to an advertiser’s inventory management system, making it more efficient for dealers who want a powerful programmatic solution that is simple, quick to set up and delivers rapid ROI.

Simpli.fi’s Prospecting Dynamic Creative for Auto can serve ads to potential buyers based on upper-funnel behaviors, such as keyword searches and the contextual content they are reading.

If a prospective buyer has searched for electric cars and read up on the environmental benefits of the vehicle, Prospecting Dynamic Creative for Auto will serve them a personalized dynamic ad showing the local dealer’s actual inventory that matches the make, model and even color vehicle in which they are interested.

Officials went on to highlight that Simpli.fi’s Prospecting Dynamic Creative for Auto is unique in that it can provide:

—An industry first that does not require a buyer to visit a dealership’s website before they are served a dynamically-generated ad showing actual inventory from that dealer

—A turnkey solution for the auto industry that requires no integration with inventory software (which is required of many dynamic ad solutions)

—Connections to buyer behavior so it can dynamically serve ads based on keywords searched and contextual content read

—Efficiencies for both buyers and dealerships. When user clicks on a dynamic ad they are taken to dealer’s vehicle dealer page (VDP) 

—Customizable ads. Customers can use their own ad templates and creative assets or take advantage of Simpli.fi templates that can be edited and personalized.

Since its inception, Simpli.fi has focused on building innovative programmatic solutions that drive stronger ROI for its clients. Prospecting Dynamic Creative for Auto is the latest unique solution from Simpli.fi that leverages unstructured data to target buyers at a much more granular level.

Simpli.fi’s use of automation and unstructured data can enable the company to efficiently deliver programmatic advertising to high volumes of localized and personalized campaigns.

“One-to-one marketing is the goal across all industries, and with this new dynamic creative solution we are helping our customers achieve that goal. Advertisers are now able to touch prospects very early in their buying journey with content that’s meaningful, relevant and timely,” said Frost Prioleau, chief executive off of Simpli.fi.

“The auto industry is an important vertical for Simpli.fi, and is a great fit for the granularity we offer through our use of unstructured data. We’re looking forward to bringing this type of solution to other industry categories that need it,” Prioleau went on to say.

For more information about the company or partnership opportunities visit www.simpli.fi.

CDK announces support for PCG's auto industry Google Analytics specification

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - 

CDK Global announced Friday that CDK websites will support the specification for Google Analytics that PCG Companies released for automotive dealers last year.

CDK dealers and dealer groups can now independently review website and marketing performance data from Google Analytics.

“We are excited to offer our dealers a standardized implementation of Google Analytics,” CDK Global product officer of consumer-facing products Max Steckler said in a news release.

“The demand for GA support from customers continues to grow, so it is the right time to meet that need and support this open standard. By leveraging the PCG specifications, our enterprise clients will be able to more easily compare the performance of our latest website technology and marketing solutions in their multi-vendor eco-system.”

The PCG specification provides dealer groups with a standardized set of measurement metrics across website platforms that can help dealers increase Return on Ad Spend from their marketing partners, according to CDK.

“Implementation of the PCG specification will be based on the CDK website data layer – a W3C specification for the uniform presentation of website data, which CDK supports with our responsive website platform,” the company said.

CDK joins a growing list of companies such as CarNow, which have recently publicly endorsed and implemented the PCG specification.

“By supporting a standardized implementation of Google Analytics, CDK demonstrates its willingness to increase data transparency with its clients. The PCG specification will allow dealers to more consistently document website conversions and engagement to improve marketing outcomes,” said Brian Pasch, founder of PCG Companies. “The support of the specification will also allow CDK clients to immediately leverage the independent data insights and traffic quality metrics in VistaDash, our popular Business Intelligence (BI) cloud software.”

This is the second specification published by PCG that has received widespread support from the automotive vendor community, according to CDK.

CarNow commits to PCG Google Analytics specification for auto industry

ATLANTA - 

CarNow announced Wednesday it has partnered with PCG Companies to support open standards for Google Analytics events and goals.

The company’s platform is now certified to be compliant with the PCG Google Analytics specification for the automotive industry.

Consumer interactions on the CarNow platform will be visible in Google Analytics using predefined event names and goals, according to CarNow.

“I am excited to be joining PCG Companies to support this open standard for Google Analytics,” CarNow co-founder and vice president of sales Tim Cox said in a news release.

“Our company has built its reputation on delivering outstanding dealer-centric software and transparent reporting. We love that our dealers can see our conversions and engagement in all of their marketing campaigns.”

PCG Companies created the public specification to enable automotive dealers to verify marketing reports and claims through Google Analytics. The specification was just published last year.

“Dealers do not always trust the reports that their technology partners provide,” said Brian Pasch, founder of PCG Companies. “CarNow’s timely participation in a larger movement for greater transparency and attribution confirms the integrity of their leadership team and product roadmap.”

Additionally, CarNow said it has been collaborating with PCG Companies to determine the key engagement indicators in both the Visual Sales Messenger and BuyNow products.

Cox and CarNow vice president of business development Aaron Baldwin will represent the company at the upcoming Automotive Analytics Attribution Summit (AAAS) in Boca Raton, Fla., from Nov. 8 to 9.