Advertising/Marketing

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.

Study: Entry luxury sedans interest up

SAN FRANCISCO - 

Data from Jumpstart Automotive Media's latest shopper insight reports reveals that longer ad campaigns see higher click-thru rates and, athough loyalty has continued to recently drop for entry luxury sedans, the segment remains the No. 1 most-shopped luxury segment on Jumpstart sites.

Interestingly, while loyalty for entry luxury sedans is down 7-percent from the same time last year, according to Jumpstart’s August Path to Purchase report, currently shopper interest in the segment shows a 9-percent increase since last year, as well.

Loyalty also dropped by 4-percent from Q1 to Q2 of this year, according to the report.

“As interest grows in this segment, there’s also competition from other cross-shopped segments that is diminishing loyalty for entry luxury sedan shoppers, such as midsize luxury sedan and midsize sedan,” Jumpstart strategic insights and analytics senior director Aline Hilsabeck said in a news release.

Jumpstart suggests new vehicle and model options within the midsize sedan segment continues to increase competition for shopper interest.

With year-over-year shopper growth of 37-percent, midsize sedans currently make up the highest number of hybrid models, according to Jumpstart.

“All the varying vehicle sizes, as well as alternate fuel options, are giving today’s shoppers a tremendous amount of options to choose from,” added Hilsabeck. “This certainly explains why there is a lot of interest for entry luxury, but why it’s also seeing some of the biggest increases in cross-shopping today.”

Longer ad campaigns' impact on ROI

Meanwhile, in regards to shopper interest overall, longer ad campaigns see higher click-thru rates than short-flighted ones because car shoppers are beginning their research with narrow consideration sets and spending less time making purchase decisions, according to Jumpstart’s "The Long Run: Why Constant Brand Presence Matters" report released in August.

Jumpstart found that most shoppers start their research considering just three brands, two body styles and three models.

Following their research, the report shows that 93 percent of car shoppers make a purchase in about four months, and 68 percent were found to finish within a month, according to the report.

The click-thru rate of one month-long ad campaigns averages 0.06 percent, compared to 0.08 percent at four plus months.

Both two-month and three-month-long campaigns average 0.07 percent.

Additionally, the report shows longer ad campaigns also yield lower costs per visits and visitor.

The following lists how campaign length affects ROI by month:

  • 1 Month — CTR Rate: 0.06 percent, Cost Per Visitor: $30.58, Cost Per Visits: $17.34
  • 2 Months — 0.07 percent,  $19.59, $10.63
  • 3 Months — 0.07 percent, $7.50, $4.01
  • 4+ Months — 0.08 percent, $7.55, $3.71

The report is based on over 4,000 Tier-3 dealer digital marketing campaigns that ran across the U.S. last year, according to Jumpstart.

Online video provider launches ad-serving TV service with AutoDealerNetwork

LAS VEGAS - 

Advertising online video provider Vidillion recently announced its partnership with AutoDealerNetwork.TV to provide dealership customers visiting sales and service waiting rooms with up-to-the-minute news, entertainment and targeted and programmatic ad-serving from Vidillion.

Vidillion allows dealers to both feature their own commercials and block any commercials of their competitors.

The new service’s private live TV network to dealerships includes news, sports, travel, lifestyle, business and weather content from the portfolio of networks provided by Turner, a Time Warner company.

“The AutoDealerNetwork.TV product gives dealerships the ability to feature their commercials- whether that means dealership or auto brand specific spots- while blocking competitor's commercials,” Vidillion president and chief executive officer Tom Engdahl said in a news release. “We feel that is a big deal and really brings a level of targeting into a space that can certainly benefit from local spots hyper-tailored for each market.”

More than 50 northern and southeastern U.S. dealerships took part in the initial launch of the content and monetization network in May.

This year, an additional 3,000 plus dealerships throughout the U.S. are expected to launch the service, according to Vidillion.

“A single AutoDealerNetwork.TV set top box and one TV will display approximately 7,000 to 10,000 commercials each month regarding your products and services,” said Dirk Newsome, operations manager at AutoDealerNetwork.TV.

“If multiple boxes are installed in a property, the revenue opportunities and ability to reach customers in a meaningful way with special offers and direct dealership storytelling are exponential,” he said.

Dealerships can install an AutoDealerNetwork.TV set top box for use with existing TVs.

"This service has unlimited uses and can be applied in auto sales & service businesses, but also in healthcare, spa services and any environment where there is a waiting room," added Engdahl.

Study reveals men's & women’s favorite car colors

BOSTON - 

iSeeCars.com recently released the findings of its latest annual Car Color Preferences by Gender Study, which found that men's interest in yellow and orange vehicles has significantly increased this year.

The study also found that men’s new preferred car color is yellow.

Last year, orange ranked first among men.

Women’s current favorite car color is teal. The study reveals they have a stronger preference for teal cars by 19.0 percent.

More details on preferences 

Since last year, men’s preference for yellow cars increased 63.8 percent, and their preference for orange cars increased 41.7 percent. 

iSeeCars said an increase in market share of yellow convertibles could explain men’s growing preference for yellow.

Convertibles made up only 11.8 percent of yellow cars in the study in 2015, and last year that number rose to 13.9 percent, according to the automotive data and research company.

Because convertibles make up only 1.9 percent of all cars, iSeeCars.com suggests that this finding illustrates men’s stronger interest in sporty and flashy cars when compared to women.

Currently, men favor yellow more than women do by 33.9 percent, followed by orange (32.6 percent) and black (14.2 percent), according to the study.

As for the results among women, iSeeCars found that since the first color preferences study in 2013, this is the first year that teal has shown up in the women’s rankings.

Ranking fifth at 4.3 percent, green also appears on the women’s list for the first time.

iSeeCars said teal reflects an interest in more practical cars, such as minivans.

While the minivan makes up just 3.7 percent of all cars, 7.8 percent of all teal vehicles are minivans, according to the site.

Additional differences

“Men and women don’t just like different colors,” Phong Ly, iSeeCars.com chief executive officer said in a news release. “Our research shows men’s preferences are much stronger than women’s, and the top color choices for both of them have actually grown to the highest percentages we’ve seen in four years.”

Additionally, men's and women’s differing preferences are also reflected in the prices they wish to pay as well, according to Ly.

“If you compare prices for pre-owned cars, the average price for men’s favorite colors is 22 percent more expensive than women’s favorite colors,” he said.

Men’s top-ranked yellow cars are 86 percent more expensive than women’s teal cars, according to iSeeCars.com.

On average, the cars in the colors men prefer cost $3,258 more than women’s choices.

The study found that among women, $14,938 is the average used-car price for the colors they prefer, compared to $18,196 for the colors men favor.

The average used price for a yellow car is $20,601, while the average for teal cars is just $11,053.

iSeeCars.com looked at data from consumer car inquiries between calendar years 2015 and 2016.

The site said it analyzed more than 700,000 consumer inquiries and nearly 30 million car sales to identify car color preferences by gender.

According to the company, it categorized male and female study responses based on participants’ first names.

LotLinx, VistaDash connect to deliver helpful marketing metrics data

CHICAGO - 

LotLinx recently announced a new partnership to fully link VistaDash's marketing metrics platform to LotLinx TURN, which provides dealers with metrics on targeted shoppers, total spend, sold VINS, conversions and engagements on vehicle detail pages.

To help dealers make marketing decisions that improve their ROI and digital ad spend, LotLinx customers now have access to VistaDash metrics via their TURN dashboard, the company said.

The newly integrated VistaDash platform is the result of research by PCG's Brian Pasch. LotLinx said he designed the platform to both provide dealers with unbiased marketing metrics and yield helpful insights related to different business goals.

"VistaDash is the brainchild of Pasch, whose book "Swimming with the Digital Sharks" has been hailed by the auto industry for its research on digital advertising inefficiencies and dealers' inability to obtain actionable marketing metrics," LotLinx said in a news release.

The platform's metrics inspect ad traffic quality and allow dealership managers to easily examine and identify strategies for increasing their return on ad spend, according to the company.

"With VistaDash, it's our mission to help dealers finally understand their data," added Pasch.

He said "through this partnership with LotLinx TURN, our products are working side-by-side to provide our clients with strategy, transparency and actionable data to help them succeed—and that is invaluable in today's digital age."

Additionally, LotLinx said it was the primary sponsor for PCG's seven-city Automotive Engagement Conference held earlier this year where the companies showed dealers its latest online strategies for connecting with shoppers.

LotLinx and PCG will be at the upcoming Digital Dealer 23 Conference and Expo from September 18-20 in Las Vegas.

The companies plan to educate dealers about avoiding "digital sharks" and utilizing data-driven solutions, according to LotLinx.

automotiveMastermind named finalist for 3 SaaS Awards

NEW YORK - 

automotiveMastermind has been named a finalist for three 2017 Software-as-a-Service Awards’ in categories for Best User Experience, Best Data-Driven SaaS Product and Best SaaS Product for Sales and Marketing.

Now in its second year of recognizing innovation in software, the SaaS Awards program accepts entries from both the U.S. and across the globe.  

SaaS Award recipients in each category will be announced on Aug. 29.

“To be named a finalist in three categories is a great accomplishment and proves that the automotiveMastermind’s technology is helping to deliver the best results to our dealer partners,” automotiveMastermind chief executive officer and co-founder Marco Schnabl said in a news release.

automotiveMastermind’s proprietary technology analyzes customer, service and market data to predict consumer behavior and provide clients predictive analytics and marketing automation technology.

“Software as a service is the new standard. The global competition is incredibly fierce, with incredibly disruptive technologies shaking up the marketplace – and the dust is far from settled,” said SaaS Awards organizer Larry Johnson. “It’s a new playing field altogether, with providers constantly innovating to ensure their clients are always leveraging best-of-breed software services which are reliable yet still at the cutting edge.”

The SaaS Award is a new sister to the Cloud Awards, which are also organized by Johnson. The program was founded in 2011.

“The demand for technology that can increase profits and enhance customer experiences is growing at an incredible rate. The ultimate goal is to deliver software that is extremely intuitive, maximizes profits and streamlines outdated and cumbersome processes,” added Schnabl.

 

Data shows rising interest in subcompact SUVs, CUVs

SAN FRANCISCO - 

If an “up” walked into your showroom or went by your dealership website searching for a subcompact model, new information from Jumpstart Automotive Media shows there’s a good chance that shopper was looking for the smallest versions of a CUV or SUV.

This week, Jumpstart Automotive Media released its monthly share of shopper interest data, which indicated subcompact SUVs and CUVs saw a 37-percent increase in interest across Jumpstart’s portfolio of sites in the first half of this year when compared to the first half of 2016.

Additionally, Jumpstart noticed the subcompact SUV/CUV segment ranked as the 11th most-shopped vehicle category in the first half of this year, jumping from 22nd.

“No other vehicle segment saw that much of a lift in this timeframe,” Jumpstart said.

Consumers researching and shopping for models such as the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, and the newly launched Toyota C-HR (a top 10 most-shopped model on Jumpstart sites during June) drove much of this increase.

In addition to the HR-V and C-HR, the Kia Stonic, Hyundai Kona, Ford’s upcoming Eco Sport, which join already established models such as the Kia Soul, are among the “hottest vehicles of today and tomorrow,” according to Jumpstart.

The latest report also mentioned Toyota, Kia, and Tesla were the top brands shopped on Jumpstart sites during the first half of 2017. Toyota increased its brand share to 7.1 percent, (up 15 percent year-over-year) on the strength of the Camry/C-HR and its Hybrid models.

The Toyota Camry (up 56 percent), Camry Hybrid (up 84 percent), Highlander Hybrid (up 65 percent) and C-HR (up 728 percent) all saw significant gains versus the first half of 2016.

Kia raised its brand share to 3.1 percent, representing a 36-percent lift, stemming primarily from its new 2017 hybrid subcompact SUV Niro (launched in 2017), future model Stinger (that was revealed to public during this year’s auto shows), a redesigned Rio and shopper interest in the Soul and Sorento models.

While it still holds an overall small percentage of shopper interest across Jumpstart sites, analysts noted Tesla grew its brand share to 1.0 percent, marking a 122-percent spike with the Model X driving much of this growth (up 224 percent).

“New and redesigned models will often win the attention of car and truck shoppers, especially when new styles, features and performance are highlighted,” said Libby Murad-Patel, vice president marketing and strategic insights at Jumpstart.

“That being said, we’re keeping a close eye on the subcompact utility space, which offers a unique blend of versatility, comfort, value and functionality that appeals to a wide range of consumers,” Murad-Patel continued.

Other key shopping trends from the first half of 2017 included:

• Honda CR-V was the third most-shopped vehicle during the first half of 2017 after Ford F-150 and Ford Mustang.

• Toyota Camry (redesign) share grew 56 percent from Q1 2016, making it one of the top 10 most-shopped vehicles during the first half of this year.

• Ford Expedition (redesign) share rose 70 percent from Q1 2016, making it one of the top 25 most-shopped vehicles during the first half of this year.

• BMW 5-Series (redesign) share climbed 83 percent from Q1 2016, making it one of the top 75 most-shopped vehicles during the first half of this year.

• In June, launch vehicles Toyota C-HR and Volkswagen Atlas had the best months for share of interest. The C-HR cracked the top 10 most-shopped models, with a month-over-month interest growth of 179 percent. Atlas rose to the top 25 most-shopped models, with a month-over-month interest growth of 50 percent.

Study: Many dealers ineffectively measure success of ad campaigns

COLUMBUS, Ohio - 

Sixty-eight percent of dealers either aren’t effectively using or simply are not using marketing attribution to gauge the results of their advertising campaigns, according to a recent study by Clarivoy.

The marketing technology firm’s latest study, the 2017 State of Automotive Attribution Report, examines the current state and usage of marketing measurement among retail dealers.

Clarivoy's findings are based on an April survey of approximately 120 dealers.

“This is a glaring hole and effectively makes measuring marketing efforts and spending a guessing game,” Clarivoy chief executive officer Steve White said in a news release.

“Things have changed considerably with the state of marketing measurement, and we wanted to know how dealers are adapting to new measurement tools like Multi-Touch Attribution,” he said.

Clarivoy found that only 30 percent of dealers report being satisfied with how they currently measure their data.

When asked, “Which vendor categories need the most blind faith as to if they are working?” Forty percent of dealers told Clarivoy display ads and 38 percent said third-party listing sites.

According to the study, most dealers rely on in-house reporting and/or vendor reporting (68 and 64 percent, respectively). 

“The display ad answer is a little curious as, set up properly, they should be easy to measure,” White said. “However, the third-party listing site answer is not that surprising.

“The actions a consumer takes following a visit to a third-party listing site and viewing a vehicle of interest can vary over an entire spectrum of possibilities. They could submit a lead on the third-party listing site, call a phone number, bounce to the dealership’s website and convert there, call the dealership or simply show up,” he said. 

“The effectiveness of a third-party listing site can be far from black and white in terms of measurement. And, more often than not, attribution depends on proper sourcing by the salesperson or last-click attribution models — both of which have huge gaps in accuracy,” White explained.

When it comes to attribution tools, 46 percent of respondents said they would prefer a multi-touch attribution solution because they believe that last-click fails to report accurate sources, according to Clarivoy.

Additionally, Clarivoy found that 59 percent of dealers want attribution solutions that include the ROI contribution of each marketing channel.

Fifty-seven percent want analytics that provide actionable insights, 48 percent desire a transparent view of a customer’s full purchase path and 41 percent look for both reporting accountability and accuracy.

To view the State of Automotive Attribution Report study click here.

4 Questions with Len Short of LotLinx

CARY, N.C. - 

In the latest installment of the annual Power 300 issue of Auto Remarketing, we go behind the scenes with some of the leading companies in the used-car space and their top executives with a few Q&A features.

Next up in this series is Len Short, founder and chief executive officer at LotLinx. The emailed Q&A is below: 

Auto Remarketing: What advice would you give to dealers on using big data to help navigate inventory management and wholesale purchases?

Len Short: Until now most of the technology available to dealers has been centered on what I would call “supply side data.” This means it’s been heavily centered around inventory trends.

Inventory levels, turn rates, pricing and volume — it’s all important, but only half the story.  And it tends to be restricted to a rear view that looks back at what has happened versus looking forward to what will happen.

We are a lot more interested in data from the “demand side” of the equation. Specifically, the volume, shopping actions and intensity of in-market buyers. Because it’s demand that will move the market. Pricing trends and inventory turn are a result of demand, not a leading indicator.

There are significant new technologies we have built to sense and respond to buyer demand that has had a significant impact to gross profit and inventory turn acceleration.

AR: How much more challenging is it today than it was 10 years ago for a dealer to get traffic to their website?

LS: What has happened in this market over the past 10 years is an exponential multiplication of available traffic. Media companies have been busy at work manufacturing clicks, especially in the automotive category.

These are the challenges of our time. Lots of crafty digital media hackers creating fake news and fake clicks. The challenge for the dealer, and all of us, is to sort out what’s real.

Traffic isn’t the issue; quality is. We are seeing an ever-increasing dilution of digital media, and frankly, an epic waste in most dealer's digital budgets. The goal for the dealer is to find the platforms that, by their design and model, block the click-bait and deliver real buyer shopping actions. 

This is a big issue. Outside of payroll, advertising expense is a dealer’s single largest cost of sales. And as we all know, digital is the lion's share of every dealer’s spend. So it’s easy to blow your margin and your business on bad digital media decisions.

AR: What are some of the latest trends in car-buying that impact your business the most?

LS: I wouldn’t say “latest” here, I would say “accelerating.”

The trends that impact a dealer’s business, and by extension our business, are a continued acceleration of the move to digital. More specifically, the move to mobile as the foundation of the buying process. Dealers have had to invest heavily in keeping up with the evolving consumer, and many ask “are we there yet?”

Frankly, as a whole, we aren’t. The lack of sophisticated mobile shopping offerings and engagement platforms is staggering, and it's another source of significant cost to the dealer. I had a dealer tell me once: “Do you know what the internet has been for us, Len? It’s been 10 years of three guys a day coming through my door with another $3,000-a-month thing I’ve got to buy to make it work!”

It certainly feels like that. A constant stream of vendors telling you you’ve got it wrong. But in fact, the opportunity for smart dealers to gain an edge by making simple improvements has never been greater.

AR: What do you see as the biggest challenge for your company, and what is its primary focus to maintain and/or grow its influence on the automotive industry?

LS: Education. We knew right from the start that dealers are smart, savvy players in a tough business.

A lot of people come from outside the car business and start preaching to dealers, and all too often its feels like they’re talking down at them. Telling them they are doing it “all wrong.”

What the outsiders miss is that they are the ones that are clueless about what really drives the car business and that they would, in fact, quickly become roadkill if they had to walk in a dealer’s shoes for a day.

Now, certainly there are things dealers can learn from outside the car business, but you need to gain their trust to start that conversation. That's where we try to start. With true respect for the dealer and his/her business, and a good dose of humility about how we can help them.

It takes time. And you can only succeed if you love the car business. We love the car business and the people who make it great, so it's easy for us to be patient.

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