Social/Digital Media

Edmunds adds new virtual vehicle 'fit test' tool to app

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - 

Edmunds announced Tuesday a new augmented reality (AR) feature for its app will soon be available to help car shoppers determine whether any vehicle will fit in their garages, parking spaces and driveways.

With an iPhone, Edmunds said the feature allows car shoppers to conduct “fit tests” virtually, with as many vehicles they want.

The new capability will be available on version 12.0 of the Edmunds app with the release of iOS 11 for the iPhone.

By tapping on the button labeled “Can It Fit?,” users can find the feature in both the tools menu and vehicle overview pages in the app.

“Mobile-driven AR technology is evolving in ways that we can now start to leverage it to make car shopping easier and more convenient, similar to the disruption we’re seeing elsewhere in retail,” Edmunds’ director of immersive technology Brock Stearn said in a news release.

“By developing and making this industry-first AR feature available within our robust suite of car shopping tools, Edmunds continues to lead the way in empowering consumers to make informed decisions throughout their car shopping journey.”

By leveraging depth-sensing, area learning and motion-tracking technology, the AR feature scans a local environment to create a 3D mesh of an environment.

The 3D mesh is used to determine if the 3D model of a vehicle can fit within any particular environment scanned.

The new feature uses the phone’s camera to scan an environment and then overlays a 3D model representative of the vehicle onto the image.

Users will be able to create "virtual walls" for driveways and other areas outdoors, according to Edmunds.

Additionally, the feature will support specifications of nearly all U.S. vehicles introduced after 1990.

'Disruptive' web users spend more time on car research

COSTA MESA, Calif. - 

Prior to visiting a dealership, users of “disruptive” websites and apps such as Zappos, Netflix, Uber and AirBnB, spend more time online researching new cars, says J.D. Power.

Compared to non-disruptive users, which average 12 hours, disruptive site users (or users of brands that challenge traditional business models), spend an average of 19 hours online during the car shopping process, according to J.D. Power’s 2017 New Autoshopper Study released Thursday.

The study analyzes how new-vehicle buyers, in particular, gather vehicle information before making a purchase decision.

J.D. Power examined both how consumers use digital devices and which websites or apps they use during the car shopping process.

Users of disruptive websites and apps tend to be younger and make up 13 percent of new-vehicle buyers who use automotive shopping sites for research.

Among older generations, 33 percent of Gen Y, 18 percent of Gen X and 6 percent of Boomers and pre-Boomers are disruptive users, according to the study.

Additionally, the study found that seven in 10 users of disruptive technologies use smartphones for vehicle research and are most likely to visit the most car shopping sites.

Sixty-nine percent of disruptive users conduct their car using a smartphone, compared to just 38 percent of non-users.

And on average, disruptive users visit 12 sites, versus nine sites for non-disruptive users, according to the study.

J.D. Power said the study is based on a survey of 18,393 new 2015 to 2017 model-year vehicle buyers and lessees from February through June.

Study: The desktop drives most car shopper calls to dealerships

CARY, N.C. - 

While car searches on mobile devices surpass those performed on desktops and laptops, because most consumers who make phone calls to dealerships shop on their desktops, automotive marketers should consider how they direct digital ad spend between both desktops and mobile devices, especially during the industry’s two peak sales seasons, says a recent study.

Shoppers on their desktops and laptops made up 54.8 percent of call conversions from dealer websites, while only 45.2 percent of calls come from visitors on mobile devices, according to a study on shoppers who make phones to dealerships by DT University, the educational and training center of DialogTech.

DialogTech said its DT University examined more than 1.1 million phone calls made to thousands of U.S. and Canadian dealerships from 2015 through August 2017.

During the two peak sales seasons, March to May and September to November the study found that gap between desktop and mobile generated calls is even greater.

Desktop shoppers drive both the most calls and revenue, according to DialogTech.

Below lists the percentage of how many more desktop and laptop calls dealerships received during peak sales seasons:

First Peak Sales Season

  • March: 22.2% more calls from desktop/laptop than mobile
  • April: 27.3% more calls from desktop/laptop than mobile
  • May: 27.3% more calls from desktop/laptop than mobile

Second Peak Sales Season

  • September: 22.2% more calls from desktop/laptop than mobile
  • October: 22.2% more calls from desktop/laptop than mobile
  • November: 56.4% more calls from desktop/laptop than mobile

“There is no shortage of great marketing research on the importance of smartphones to the customer journey of every industry, including automotive,” DialogTech director of content marketing, Blair Symes said in an email interview with Auto Remarketing.

“At DialogTech, we've even published a lot of it. But in the rush to optimize everything for mobile, it can be easy to forget about the desktop. That's why it's important that marketers understand what devices shoppers use at each stage of the customer journey, including when they convert online or over the phone, and tailor their ad campaigns and customer experiences to generate maximum return,” he continued.

To increase ROI, the study encourages marketers to use data on what devices brings the most calls on each specific day to help direct digital ad spend appropriately.

According to the study, desktop and laptop shoppers drive more calls during the week, while mobile shoppers make more calls on the weekends.

The study also suggests that dealerships pay closer attention to callers because on average, shoppers who call a dealership purchase vehicles 10 times more than consumers just who fill out a form online, according to the study.

DialogTech said it collected its phone call data from its voice management platform, which tracks, millions of calls generated by automaker and dealership website visitors across North America each year.

KIA makes UnityWorks certified video advertiser

MINNEAPOLIS  - 

UnityWorks has been named KIA’s latest certified video advertising provider through the brand’s KIA Digital Certified Solutions program to provide turnkey, dealer customized video campaigns featuring model-specific creative for Kia models via Double Click, YouTube and Facebook advertising platforms.

The campaigns are specifically designed to target “in-market” auto intenders who are within a 25-mile radius of a dealership, according to UnityWorks.

“One of the reasons why we selected Unityworks was based on the exceptional results that we achieved from our test campaigns last spring in select markets across the country,” KIA Motors America digital planning manager Amber Ewell said in a news release.

“During that time we received view and click rates that were well above industry averages, and Google search interest for pilot dealers increased by 59 percent year-over-year. Not only was it highly effective in reaching auto intenders, but it was very cost-efficient too,” she explained.

UnityWorks’ packages include dealer-customized model video ads, a selection of campaigns on media platforms such as DoubleClick, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram and a Full Line Kia Video Showcase to serve as the primary destination for click-through action within a dealer’s site.

“We’re delighted to partner with Kia and their dealers to offer an end-to-end, multi-platform video offering that nicely complements search activity, reaches prospects on their mobile devices, and will help drive more traffic to dealer websites and ultimately more retail sales,”  added Tim Copacia, UnityWorks executive vice president.

CDK adds SpinCar to partner program

NEW YORK - 

SpinCar announced Monday that it has joined the CDK Global Partner Program and is now part of a marketplace made up of 300 partner companies that offer more than 400 different applications for auto dealers.

“We are very excited to be a part of the CDK Partner Program as we continue on our mission to provide innovative tools and services to automotive dealers,” SpinCar chief executive officer Devin Daly said in a news release. “This program allows CDK dealers to experience our product suite to its fullest.”

In addition to its Mobile Capture Application, which is designed to boost photographer efficiency and promote higher inventory coverage, SpinCar’s 360-degree Walkaround has delivered dealerships and OEMs 42 percent more leads on average and increased consumer engagement by 56 percent, according to the company.

“We’re pleased to continue expanding the CDK Partner Program with SpinCar’s platform,” said Howard Gardner, CDK Data Services vice president and general manager. “SpinCar is a welcome addition to the Partner Program’s group of vehicle merchandising applications.”

For a full list of vendors and applications currently available through the CDK Global Partner Program, visit cdkglobal.com/partners.

Dominion approved for new Mazda digital advertising program

NORFOLK, Va. - 

Dominion Dealer Solutions is now an approved vendor for Mazda North American Operation’s (MNAO) new Digital Certified Dealer Website and Advertising Program.

Franchised dealerships can now enroll in the Mazda Digital Certified Program and choose from one of Dominion’s selection of website and digital advertising packages.

Dominion’s three website packages include Essential, Excel and Eclipse.

Mazda dealers can also select from different website accelerators such as: My Payment’s lead generation tool, fully-managed search engine optimization, fixed ops content and monthly custom display banner creation.

In addition to a reporting dashboard for various analytics data, the website packages come with a designated digital marketing manager who oversees the needs of Mazda dealers and works to resolve any issues.

“Not only are our websites responsive, but so are our people,” Dominion director of OEM partnerships Ryan Kelly said in a news release. “Dealers appreciate the white glove treatment they receive, the high level of customization, the marketing coordination and cross-product collaboration they get from our seasoned automotive veterans.”

Additionally, MNAO dealers enrolled in the Digital Certified Program can select from Dominion’s digital advertising programs such as: Essentials Search, Eclipse Search with Remarketing, Elite Search, Social Predictive Inventory, Social Dynamic Retargeting and Social Fixed Ops Lifecycle.

TIDAL partners with Mercedes to give drivers one year free music

STUTTGART, Germany - 

Mercedes-Benz and global music and entertainment platform, TIDAL have partnered to provide Mercedes drivers who connect their car to the brand's me Portal with access to complimentary TIDAL HiFi membership.

By next year, Mercedes drivers will be able to stream TIDAl’s more than 50 million songs, over 185,000 music videos and special Mercedes-Benz playlists at no cost for a year, the companies announced on Tuesday.

“Thanks to the cooperation with TIDAL, we are enhancing the Mercedes me lifestyle range with a unique entertainment experience,” Mercedes-Benz Cars marketing vice president Jens Thiemer said in a news release.“Our customers can stream music and videos at home or on the go virtually unlimited. We also offer exclusive opportunities to contact artists or experience them live.”

Mercedes-Benz and TIDAL are celebrating the launch of their collaboration with an exclusive concert on Friday, Sept. 15 during the upcoming me Convention at the Frankfurt International Motor Show hosted by Mercedes-Benz and South by Southwest.

Convention participants can sign up for tickets during the convention using the event's app. Additionally, more tickets will also be raffled over the social media channels of both TIDAL and Mercedes-Benz.

“TIDAL is honored to partner with the world’s premier automobile manufacturer,” added TIDAL’s Lior Tibon. “The joint mission of superior quality and excellence is a natural synergy between both brands. Mercedes customers value ingenuity and we’re proud to share TIDAL’s elevated music and entertainment experience with them.”

automotiveMastermind adds GM data, its 15th brand

NEW YORK - 

General Motors dealerships can now partner with automotiveMastermind to access its technology, the company announced on Tuesday.

The company's technology shows dealers which customers are ready to buy and the reasoning behind their decisions. Its data now includes Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac.

With the addition of GM, the behavior prediction technology provider now has 15 brands utilizing its predictive analytics technology.

"As General Motors' vehicle lineup continues to evolve through 2018 — from the new Buick Regal TourX to the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Traverse — we can help dealers now precisely target those potential buyers," Mastermind chief executive officer and co-founder Marco Schnabl said in a news release.

Mastermind said it captures thousands of data points from dealer management systems and combines it with what's known as big data.

The big data includes information from social media profiles, financial records, product and consumer lifecycle information and socio-demographics.

"We are looking forward to bringing the success we've had with Cadillac dealers — helping them sell more than 7,000 vehicles in the first half of 2017 — to, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC and are confident the Mastermind technology will help them successfully target and convert the best possible buyers into loyal customers," Andrew Gillman, vice president of sales and marketing for Mastermind, added in the release.

Additionally, Mastermind provides dealerships’ sales teams with highly personalized marketing campaigns and customer-specific motivational talking points on the desktop.

Search Optics joins new Mazda online marketing co-op program

SAN DIEGO - 

Search Optics has been named a preferred provider for Mazda North American Operations’ recently launched Mazda Digital Certified Program (MDCP).

The new program offers Mazda dealers new online marketing solutions designed to increase qualified website visits, attract more traffic to showrooms and provide customers a consistent shopping experience.

“At Search Optics, results always come first – and for MDCP, our priority will be to create customer demand and increase the flow of qualified traffic to Mazda dealer websites and dealership locations,” Search Optics chief executive officer David Ponn said in a news release.

“As a Mazda preferred provider, our qualifications are second to none and include unparalleled experience with the Mazda brand, an innovative mix of integrated technology, and a staff that has earned the automotive digital marketing industry’s highest number of Google certifications,” he continued. 

Search Optics’ collaborative business relationship with Mazda spans nearly a decade.

As one of Mazda’s original preferred co-op program providers, Search Optics has worked with the automaker to develop and implement dealer group websites, according to the company.

“In supporting Mazda and its dealers as an independent digital marketing agency, Search Optics has always steered clear of cookie-cutter digital marketing solutions,” said Ponn. “Instead, we’ve focused on customized approaches that drive stronger results and improve sales. We’re very excited to continue our tradition of success with Mazda as a preferred provider, and we congratulate them on the launch of the new program.”

Additionally, Search Optics also recently worked directly with both Google and the Mazda Western Region to implement a market-wide paid search initiative.

As a result of the initiative, Search Optics said Mazda dealers quadrupled their campaign click-through-rates on Google search pages.

The global digital marketing provider received Google’s 2016 and 2015 Google Channel Sales Mobile Champion Award last year.

Each year, Google presents the award to companies it determines has the highest levels of real-world results based on several quality metrics.

Contact At Once! aquires new patent for mobile messaging

ATLANTA - 

Contact At Once! announced Monday that the United States Patent and Trademark Office recently issued it a patent for a system designed to analyze messages and initiate communication sessions for clients.

The new patent was developed to enhance the service that Contact At Once! customers are able to provide consumers who wish to communicate with businesses via chat and mobile messaging sessions, according to the company.

"Contact At Once! has continually invested in technological innovations to allow in-market shoppers and businesses to message at scale through a variety of media,” Contact At Once! vice president of product and strategy Marc Hayes said in a news release.

“This latest patent is another example of our commitment to helping our brands seamlessly connect with consumers in innovative ways that are most convenient for shoppers," he said.

Additionally, the company said the newly acquired patent expands on another recent patent by Contact At Once! that features a system and method for publishing online advertisements and search results.