The rise of e-commerce has enabled companies to better understand consumer behaviors in the digital age and reevaluate their marketing spend to provide a more personalized shopping experience. This situation is illustrated in the following example.
Consumer No. 1 opens website A and the products advertised to them are not of interest, so they exit within seconds and move on to the next site on their list. Moments later, that same consumer sees the products from the first website advertised to them, even though their visit was not of high quality.
Consumer No. 2 opens the same website A, but the products shown to them are aligned with their current needs. This consumer scrolls through products for a few minutes, adds some to their cart and moves on to read their daily dose of news. Consumer two also will see advertised content on their next website, remember that their cart is still full and return to the website to continue shopping.
So, if you had to allocate your advertising spend, would you rather it be geared toward consumer No. 1 or consumer No. 2? The same analogy can be applied to advertising digital inventory at your dealership. If dealers are not giving consumers a personalized and relevant inventory selection, they risk consumers leaving their website in favor of the dealership next door. By combining consumer data with the right digital strategy, dealerships can drive high-quality visits to their website.
A two-fold data-driven approach can be key to piquing consumer interest. The first step is understanding the “when.” When is the consumer in-market and showing buying signals online? Knowing the when allows dealers to implement an efficient strategy where they are targeting in-market shoppers and minimizing wasted advertising dollars. The second step is leveraging current consumer needs and personalizing the shopping experience. For example, a dealer targeting a growing family with their latest three-row vehicle. While it is becoming more difficult for dealers to create a complete online customer profile due to new privacy protection laws and data sets through multiple sites, if dealers don’t have the proper data needed to target in-market shoppers, they can miss out on profit potential.
To implement an accurate data-driven strategy that amplifies consumer reach, dealers need to pinpoint which digital marketing investments drive consumer sales activities. Through an easily operated, up-to-the-minute, centralized dashboard, dealers can receive actionable insights toward consumer preferences, informed data surrounding advertising spend plans, and intuitive management tools that drive better quality website visits and consumer engagement.
Providing actionable insights
Consumers are quick to leave website pages, taking only seconds to decide if they continue to scroll through inventory or exit for their next destination. For car shoppers, low-quality visitors do not look at vehicle deal pages, submit forms of save vehicles to view later. Dealers need to figure out what drives quality visits to their websites and how to best convert those leads into customers.
Third-party vendors can make it easier for dealers to evaluate their online presence in real-time as well as track the shopper’s journey from online to in-store. Through easy-to-understand visuals and cross-media analysis, dealers can identify which digital marketing products are influencing consumer behaviors. This enables dealers to provide a highly personalized shopping experience by tailoring their approach to meet consumer demands. Dealers also can detect consumer purchase intent, driving stronger leads to showroom floors.
Informed advertising plans
As digital retailing becomes commonplace in the auto industry, dealers should maximize marketing spend and optimize targeting to maintain a competitive edge. Instead of focusing on the quantity of visits to their sites, dealers need to better understand what forms of advertising lead to quality visits.
An in-depth analysis that includes dealer-specific performance recommendations, such as overall spend and investments per channel, can be instrumental to delivering a data-driven approach to consumers. With this data, dealers can adjust marketing plans as needed based on monthly priorities. By properly allocating media dollars, dealers can influence shoppers at every stage of the buying process through online marketplace sites, paid search, display, Facebook and video advertising. Being able to review campaign performance metrics in real-time and reconfigure to increase spend on a specific channel will drive higher-quality traffic to dealership websites.
Intuitive management tools
Leveraging information compiled in their systems, dealers can better target in-market shoppers and manage their leads with one website application. Promoting the dealership brand, merchandising inventory, creating offers and promoting the dealership across channels is much easier when you can holistically view your marketing performance and spend in one location. This allows you to connect the dots, and gauge where a consumer is in the car-shopping process by monitoring online behavior and engagement to indicate purchase intent.
While many dealers want to focus on increasing profits and selling vehicles, they should focus on the data and strategy that goes into attracting consumers to their dealership lots. Dealers edge out competition by analyzing their marketing spend and reallocating funds to target the right shoppers who will drive higher conversion – and eventually turn into hot leads.
Kevin LeSage is the director of digital marketing at Autotrader.