What third-party site provides the most valuable leads for car dealers?
In this industry, that’s a million-dollar question.
But it’s a riddle that one company, in particular, is trying to figure out.
Driven Data, which offers a customer data platform for the auto industry, has released the Classified Lead Quality Index, which through aggregated statistics aims to measure the performance of leads provided by Autotrader, CarGurus, Cars.com, Edmunds and TrueCar.
“Our dealership partners initially asked us for aggregated performance of their classified site providers while maintaining dealership data anonymity. After hearing the same questions each month, we developed the analytics to provide the answers dealers were seeking,” Driven Data said in a news release about the index.
“We published 2018 data last month representing the first time this information has been available for the automotive community,” the company claimed.
Driven Data said it based the report on more than 365,000 leads and 16,200 sales from last year through the first quarter of this year.
“These insights help dealers evaluate the gross profit and lead conversion performance levels each deliver relative to each other,” the company said in the news release.
“The Classified Lead Quality Index highlights the performance metrics on the leads generated by the top automotive classified providers for their dealership partners,” it added. “This amount of lead conversion data was not easily available to the industry and will enable focused innovations to improve performance.
“Additionally, the aggregate data serves as a benchmark for dealerships along with their sales and marketing partners.”
Driven Data said the data is based on information from roughly 130 dealerships from all of last year and the first quarter of this year, representing about 365,000 leads from the leading third-party classified sties. The data was sourced via CRM leads, CRM appointments and DMS sales.
Driven Data said its warehouse data is “standardized from the various CRM and DMS providers.”
Its data can be downloaded here. The company is lead by founder and chief executive officer Jon Berna.
A couple of the players mentioned have shared their thoughts on the report.
In a LinkedIn post from last week, Cars.com chief executive officer Alex Vetter said: “I’m proud to report that Cars.com is No. 1 in our competitive set, delivering the highest average gross profit per used-vehicle sale to dealers, up over 20% since 2018. Thank you to Jon (Berna) and Driven Data for finally cracking which auto marketplace is delivering the most value into the CRM — one small fraction of sales transactions.
“But Cars.com has never been just a ‘lead provider,’ as we deliver so much more value for our dealer customers beyond traditional leads,” Vetter said. “This is becoming even more apparent as consumer shopping habits change and digital purchase indicators shift — you should see how much traffic we’re driving to first-party dealer websites that result in a sale (more to come on this)!
“As we continue to drive value for our customers and help them stay out of the race to the bottom, we believe the combination of Cars.com, Dealer Inspire and DealerRater will be hard to beat,” he said.
Meanwhile, in comments provided by email to Auto Remarketing, Jessica Stafford, who is senior vice president and general manager at Autotrader, said: “While I’m not as familiar with the exact methodology and client list that have been used as part of this specific lead quality report, it’s not surprising that Autotrader would have the highest show rate and conversation rate as well as deliver among the highest rate at gross per lead.
“Additionally, Autotrader delivers a significant amount of visits and leads to our dealers’ websites, which is important to some dealers and not as important to others as each dealer has a strategy and goal with third-party sites,” she said.
“Over the past year we’ve continued to innovate and find new ways to deliver increased value to consumers and clients yielding up to 80% more leads year of year, which enabled us to become the No. 1 most used third-party listings site,” Stafford said.
“One of the interesting things that we’ve been watching closely as we have been delivering significantly more leads is the quality of the lead to the dealer’s bottom line – we’re seeing that our leads convert up to 2x in comparison with internet leads. I hear from clients every week that Autotrader continues to deliver the highest margin on leads in comparison with our competitors,” she said.
“This is promising as we are committed to delivering value to dealers, and there is no better way to deliver value than to their bottom line. We use stated, behavioral and predictive data to ensure that vehicles are always targeted to the right buyers, which means that we deliver a high volume of quality exposure, engagement and leads that convert to sale more often than anyone else.”