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Should We Drop AutoTrader?
3rd Party Leads and Automotive Classifieds Websites Discuss Should We Drop AutoTrader? in the Websites, SEO, SEM, and Internet Marketing forums; Thanks for the input everybody! Any help is much appreciated. Jscole86, we are co-oping our AutoTrader and Cars.com accounts already, which made it a lot more affordable. I match the ...
      
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  1. #11
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    Company: Langs Chevrolet
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    Default Re: Should We Drop AutoTrader?

    Thanks for the input everybody! Any help is much appreciated.

    Jscole86, we are co-oping our AutoTrader and Cars.com accounts already, which made it a lot more affordable. I match the phone numbers in AutoTrader's back end tool to our CRM and typically see most of customers are not even entered into ProMax. I feel as though if the salespeople thought it was a half-way decent phone call, then they would at least put the customer into there so they don't get skated when the customer comes in.

    Jeff, based on the information in ProMax, on average we only sell 2-5 cars a month, on average, off of AutoTrader. That's not just e-mail leads, chats, and phone calls I get, but any where AutoTrader is marked as the advertising source. What do you feel is the most accurate way to measure the effectiveness of a lead source (besides sales, of course)? Also, I get an e-mail once a month with our figures from our rep, but I would only see him once every few months. That was a major gripe I had with them.

  2. #12
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    Company: Anderson Auto Group, LLC
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    Default Re: Should We Drop AutoTrader?

    Request that they do a Market Sourcing study for your store. It is free and I had them conduct one for each of our markets last year. They basically contact 90 days of your sold customers and survey them. It's conducted by a third party and we found it to be extremely eye opening in what our customers used for shopping and research. Broke out all media used and justified our AutoTrader spend. I will add that you need to make sure you are not paying more than $1 per VDP. Are you tracking that?
    Dan Sayer | General Manager
    Anderson Auto Group
    Ford, Lincoln, Kia, and Credit Connection
    Grand Island, NE

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Should We Drop AutoTrader?

    Jason, There are a lot of different opinions, on this, but if it were me: I noticed that you are a premium new car dealership on AutoTrader. Looking at your listings, you are not competitive with Voss and White Allen. If you are not going to be competitive, I would go to standard listings. That would reduce the bill but AutoTrader works for new, just like used.

    If you are going to push your new vehicles, this is not a description: Power Door Locks,Power Windows,Satellite Radio,MP3 Player,OnStar Communication System,Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS),Traction Control System,Air Conditioning,Cruise Control,Rear Window Defroster.....
    That is a VIN explosion that lists the same information as what is bulleted right above.

    As a premium dealer, you have your new car specials at no charge. If you don't know how to do the dynamic ads, get your rep to show you. It is time consuming but they worked for me.

    Are your phone calls sourced to AutoTrader? Are you able to monitor them?

    On your website, I was looking at your new car specials. You list a price but no MSRP. The customer can't tell if this is a good deal. I would have some lease payments, also. One says "Purchase Bonus Cash" but it doesn't say how much: click here.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Should We Drop AutoTrader?

    Jason,

    I'm always very curious about numbers so I compile a lot of stuff and try to make sense of it so I'll share some data that may help you on this 3rd party site stuff.

    The data that we measured is from Craigslist but for the purpose of my analysis I think it works for any website generating leads.

    Recently we were able to track ad opens in CL (someone clicks open the ad) then click on the ad (so customer goes to website).

    V- views (an ad was clicked on and fully opened) C- Customer clicked on the ad and went to dealer's website L- lead (phone call or email. Only from the ad, we lose tracking once customer is on website or chats).

    1. Dodge dealer large metro area

    V-76,358 C-5,349 L-240
    on Avg, 14 Views are needed to generate 1 Click
    on Avg, 22 Clicks are needed to generate 1 Lead

    2. Honda dealer large metro area

    V-70,719 C-3,172 L-119
    on Avg, 22 Views are needed to generate 1 Click
    on Avg, 27 Clicks are needed to generate 1 Lead

    3. Cadillac dealer outside metro

    V-38,808 C-2,262 L-84
    on Avg, 17 Views are needed to generate 1 Click
    on Avg, 27 Clicks are needed to generate 1 Lead

    4. Independent outside metro

    V-13,396 C-428 L-100
    on Avg, 31 Views are needed to generate 1 Click
    on Avg, 4 Clicks are needed to generate 1 Lead

    5. Independent in metro area

    V-73,472 C-2,786 L-117
    on Avg, 26 Views are needed to generate 1 Click
    on Avg, 24 Clicks are needed to generate 1 Lead

    6. Independent in metro area

    V-30,495 C-1,726 L-73
    on Avg, 18 Views are needed to generate 1 Click
    on Avg, 24 Views are needed to generate 1 Lead


    7. Independent outside metro area

    V-8,822 C-521 L-47
    on Avg, 17 Views are needed to generate 1 Click
    on Avg, 11 Clicks are needed to generate 1 Lead

    8. Audi dealer outside metro area

    V-31,923 C-2,492 L-71
    on Avg, 12 Views are needed to generate 1 Click
    on Avg, 35 Clicks are needed to generate 1 Lead

    9. Toyota dealer in large metro area

    V-36,470 C-2,817 L-95
    on Avg, 13 Views are needed to generate 1 Click
    on Avg, 30 Clicks are needed to generate 1 Lead

    10. Independet dealer in metro area

    V-17,312 C-1,328 L-132
    on Avg, 13 Views are needed to generate 1 Click
    on Avg, 10 Clicks are needed to generate 1 Lead



    OVERALL AVERAGE
    V-397,775 C-22,881 L-1,078
    on Avg, 17 Views are needed to generate 1 Click
    on Avg, 21 Clicks are needed to generate 1 Lead


    Autotrader, Cars.com, etc numbers are probably very similar to these numbers. So take dealer #7 for example. If their closing ratio is 8% they may say that this website sucks because they sold 2-3 cars last month from it out of the leads they were able to measure. What about the almost 10,000 people that saw their ad, name, URL, etc that drove to the dealer or Google them a day later?

    I'm not inferring that Autotrader works or doesn't based on my numbers but that what we can measure is a small piece of what online advertising provides.
    Yago de Artaza Paramo
    CEO, PGI Digital

    yago@pgiauto.com

    www.pgiauto.com Data, window label, and video system
    www.dealerlab.com High performing custom websites
    www.contentmotive.com Unique content, micro content, and blogs
    www.autoclassifiedsolutions.com Technical and flexible CraigsList system
    www.autob.com Print and Hispanic radio (Radiulo) advertising
    www.integratedppc.com PPC, retargeting, and dynamic PPC

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Should We Drop AutoTrader?

    I've posted this before but here it is again.

    Here's what we are seeing or should I say hearing when salespeople take sales calls. We teach to ask for the lead source. As you can see, AutoTrader is number two on the list. Cars.com gets beat by Craigslist.

    Jerry "The Phone Ninja" Thibeau
    President/Founder
    Phone Ninjas
    585.749.2015
    www.phoneninjas.com
    T @thephoneninja

  6. #16
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    Default Re: Should We Drop AutoTrader?

    Yago, can any of those Craigslist customers actually buy a car?

    Jerry, that graph is pretty much the same experience I had interviewing customers. Big Data is proving that a good percentage of your website traffic has already been to AutoTrader and Cars.
    One of my rep friends at AutoTrader told me that they are also doing Big Data Analysis.
    Last edited by ddavis; 12-13-2012 at 08:42 PM.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: Should We Drop AutoTrader?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason L. Laughlin View Post
    Hey everybody, we're considering dropping AutoTrader from our list of vendors. We've been a long time AutoTrader customer, but we have not seen the performance we'd like to for the type of money we're spending with them.

    Our Used Cars Manager strongly supports keeping them, but we're not all of the same opinion. His salespeople have done a terrible job of marking advertising sources, so according to our CRM, we're only selling about 5 vehicles a month off of it.

    Has anyone else dropped AutoTrader recently? If so, how has that affected your used car sales?
    Thanks for sharing that shirt again Jerry good stuff and Yago thanks for sharing your information and data around your craigslist performance.

    I believe this question gets asked here in the dealerrefresh forums once every 3 to 6 months.

    Lets all agree that before any dealership decides that they're going to cancel autotrader (or any listing service) they need to first be sure they're performing all the best merchandising practices.

    1. Do we have great multiple value building photos?
    2. Do we have descriptive value building comments for each car?
    3. Are we priced to market? (You're ATC rep can provide these reports as they are also available in your admin UI)
    4. Are we stocking the right inventory (inventory demand index)
    5. Are we taking full advantage of every feature provided in our ATC package?

    Basically, are you doing and are you able to do your part in what it takes to get the eyeballs on your inventory?

    If you can't answer 100% to each of these questions - then you have bigger questions to ask than whether not not you should be dropping AutoTrader.

    Jason, what's your answer to the above questions?

  8. #18
    Ultimate Refresher
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    Default Re: Should We Drop AutoTrader?

    Quote Originally Posted by ddavis View Post
    Yago, can any of those Craigslist customers actually buy a car?

    Jerry, that graph is pretty much the same experience I had interviewing customers. Big Data is proving that a good percentage of your website traffic has already been to AutoTrader and Cars.
    One of my rep friends at AutoTrader told me that they are also doing Big Data Analysis.
    Well... I sold my 2006 Dodge Viper via Craigslist to an off market customer. Go figure.

    My point was geared towards the large amount of views (full click and open an ad) to get a click/call/email. We have dealers that get 100 leads and 70,000 views (look at #2). That is a large number of people seeing your name. Perhaps if you are a large TV dealer in the area once they know you have the car they just go to your website? I don't know but I know there is more than 100 leads with over 70,000 views. We recently started tracking unique's, that may give me better data in the future.
    Yago de Artaza Paramo
    CEO, PGI Digital

    yago@pgiauto.com

    www.pgiauto.com Data, window label, and video system
    www.dealerlab.com High performing custom websites
    www.contentmotive.com Unique content, micro content, and blogs
    www.autoclassifiedsolutions.com Technical and flexible CraigsList system
    www.autob.com Print and Hispanic radio (Radiulo) advertising
    www.integratedppc.com PPC, retargeting, and dynamic PPC

  9. #19
    Getting Refreshed
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    Default Re: Should We Drop AutoTrader?

    We also dropped 'Trader a while back. My dealer was bent on making cuts to my online budget and I was forced to choose between cars.com and Autotrader. I went with cars because I find their site to be more useful and attractive to shoppers and found that I get a small but measureable result from them. BUT, had my arm not been twisted I would not have dropped 'Trader. I am a firm believer that, regardless of how hard you try to put each ad source in CRM, many customers still do not mention it. Plus, Autotrader still (unfortunately) offers huge name recognition to draw customers to your inventory Do you use an advertising questionnaire or have a basic set of interview questions to be sure each customer is at least asked?
    Also, those working the leads tend eventually take the leads for granted. Perhaps if faced with losing the tool, your Used Car Manager and his staff will use the tool more effectively, work each lead thoroughly, and record more info in CRM...

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Should We Drop AutoTrader?

    Connecting a sale to a SINGLE ad source is madness.

    Google ThinkAuto 2011:
    -50% of all auto shoppers were in market 3 months or longer.
    -Typical Auto shopper visited 23 auto web sites prior to purchase.

    Take yourself off of AT or cars.com or CL and you'll sell less cars.
    Car shoppers are a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, but perhaps there is a key. That key is understanding shopper's needs.


    LinkedIn: Joe Pistell

    Twitter:Joe Pistell


 
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