Social/Digital Media

Acura presents redesigned CPO site with new alert, sharing features

TORRANCE, Calif. - 

Acura has introduced a revamped certified pre-owned vehicle website, AcuraCertified.com.

The new completely redesigned site built to simplify the online CPO vehicle shopping process allows shoppers to compare vehicles and easily share their selections online, Acura announced Wednesday.

"With the booming growth in Acura Certified Pre-Owned sales and tremendous increase in online and mobile vehicle shopping, we are relaunching the Acura CPO site to offer users a more seamless and interactive experience," American Honda manager of auto remarketing, certified pre-owned Dan Rodriguez said in a news release.

"Based on input we received from our customers and dealers, we've reengineered our Acura site to make comparisons simple, and help shoppers make the best choice for a used vehicle."

In addition to a new vehicle alert feature for the most up-to-date vehicle availability, the new site now includes both a vehicle recommendations tool and an interactive payment calculator.

Two other key features on the new site include inventory alerts, where shoppers can create an alert to be notified when a particular vehicle is available and vehicle shareability, which allows visitors to share information about vehicles they are interested in with friends and family.

Tesla, Toyota among top 'talk-worthy' brands

NEW YORK - 

When it comes to social influence among automotive brands in the U.S, Tesla Motors and Toyota are a step ahead of many of their respective luxury and mass market competitors. This is according to Engagement Labs' latest TotalSocial ranking that measures brand performance among automotive brands in both face-to-face and social media conversations.

The recent analysis follows the company's first ranking in April. Brands to rank in the top 10 have earned the highest TotalSocial scores.

While Ferrari remains the top-ranked brand, within the last six months, Tesla has distinctly jumped ahead four spots to capture the No. 2 ranking, and Toyota climbed two spots to take third place.

Tesla’s social influence spike during the past six months, particularly offline, can be attributed to the introduction of its first mass-market car, the Model 3.

Though the Model 3 rollout included an opulent live-streamed launch party, despite having no advertising budget, Tesla has leveraged its image as an innovative brand, according to Engagement Labs.

"The automotive industry continues to perform better offline than on social media," Engagement Labs chief executive officer Ed Keller said in a news release. "The ability to drive consumer conversation offline and online has a powerful impact on sales, and automakers aren't yet harnessing the full potential of social influence."

While Tesla has dominated in offline influence, Toyota has stronger online sentiment and online influence scores compared to six months ago.

Another brand to show strong online influence is Kia. Though the brand did not make the top 10 ranking, it currently carries the highest overall online score.

Though other luxury brands such as Audi and BMW, dropped two and three positions, respectively, overall luxury and sports car brands continue to dominate the list.

Meanwhile larger domestic brands such as Chevrolet, Ford and Jeep struggle to make the top 10, Honda remains in the top 10 even after dropping two spots in the past six months.

CarGurus joins CDK Global Partner Program

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - 

CDK Global announced Thursday CarGurus has joined its partner program to allow dealers using CDK websites to gain exposure for their inventory on CarGurus.com and access leads from the site.

As a CDK Global Partner Program participant, CarGurus reporting will be integrated into the CDK Dealer Command Center.

The company said the integrated solutions will be first available to dealers early this month.

"We are excited to be able to offer our dealers more leads and more inventory exposure through CarGurus based on our new integration," CDK Global product officer of consumer-facing products Max Steckler said in a news release. "The CDK Customer Cloud becomes that much more powerful in being able to deliver more targeted and personalized messaging with the addition of CarGurus data."

CDK will integrate CarGurus' anonymized, aggregated data in its suite of automotive digital marketing personalization solutions.

The integration will amplify CDK’s ability to create personalized shopping experiences and cross-site consumer behavior attribution.

Dealers with CDK websites can target personalized content for shoppers who previously visited CarGurus on their own websites.

"Car shoppers rely on CarGurus for transparency and validation, and we are excited to be working closely with CDK Global to enhance that experience," said Marty Blue, CarGurus senior vice president of business development. "Through our relationship with CDK Global, we’re able to unleash even more power to assist shoppers and drive dealers' business results."

CarGurus uses proprietary technology and innovative data analytics to help car buyers shop its more than 5 million car listings.

The company said its site currently attracts over 23 million monthly unique visitors in the U.S.

New Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book social media program provides advertisers real-time data

ATLANTA - 

Cox Automotive announced Monday the launch of a new social media audience extension product that employs anonymous website behavior data from Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com.

The audience extension product is designed to help OEM's and regional associations improve social media advertising efficiency, the company said.

Advertisers can use the behavior data from Autotrader and KBB when deploying highly targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram.

"Today's customers increasingly rely on online research before purchasing, and it's critical that our industry reaches them where they are and at the right moment," Cox Automotive product operations and social media director Adam Pavkov said in a news release. "This program gives advertisers the tools they need to get the right messages in front of shoppers when it matters most."

The program creates highly-targeted and unique advertising audiences for clients using real-time browsing behavior, according to Cox Automotive.

Car buyers are divided into different audiences based on their individual behaviors and preferences, such as specific make and model, in addition to location and demographic.

Advertisers can target their different audiences on Facebook and Instagram with their own specific message.

Honda Motor Company was an early user of the service.

"We're always looking for new ways to use data to make advertising more efficient and effective," said Dan Rodriguez, manager of Auto Remarketing Certified Pre-Owned at American Honda Motor Co. "This product has helped us more accurately identify in-market shoppers and narrowly target our messaging, and we're excited by the results."

Compared to other companies, advertisers using Cox Automotive's data for Facebook and Instagram campaigns reported on average 64 percent higher click-thru rates, 497 percent higher conversion rates with a 57 percent lower cost per conversion, according to the company.

Additionally, campaigns targeting conquest and segment audiences, show 39 percent higher click-thru rates, 175 percent higher conversion rates and 22 percent lower cost per conversion, Cox Automotive said.

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.