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Are all VDP Views considered equal?

Kevin McKillop

Lot Lizard
Jul 25, 2012
28
9
First Name
Kevin
If you were to compare the value of a VDP view on your own dealership website vs. 3rd party listing website (ie. AutoTrader, cars.com etc.), would you say they're of equal value or is one better than the other?

Considering the environment the user is in on 1 site vs. the other. Someone viewing a VDP on a 3rd party listing can be easily distracted from that vehicle and can very quickly be viewing another dealership. If they're on your own dealership site, there is no exit to another dealership, and any other VDPs views are all of your own, they're "focused".

Would you pay more for a VDP view on your own dealership website vs. 3rd Party listing website? Do/would you measure their performance equally?

 
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JD Rucker

Full Sticker
Feb 12, 2010
49
28
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JD
Any VDP view is good because it's an opportunity, but dealer website VDP views are definitely more valuable. Exclusivity, opportunities to generate a lead through other methods (trade eval, credit app, etc), retargeting cookies, presentation of reviews, control of tracking numbers... the list of benefits go on and on.

With that said, I'm not a big fan of paying much more for one over the other. They're more valuable and worth a higher investment, but not 2-to-1 or higher as I've heard others say. I'm not stuck on that point, though, because I have not seen data to determine the value of VDP views on a dealer's website versus on third party sites. I'm going off gut and anecdotal information.
 
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Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
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What makes the VDP view on your dealership website worth more? Because it's on your own real-estate? Because a larger percentage of the VDP views are from previous customers or be-back web traffic?

How much does it cost to get a VDP view on your dealership website vs what it cost on the 3rd party listing? That's not an easy one to measure. Many times we don't consider the true costs associated to driving traffic to the VDP.

Your VDP's on a 3rd Party listing website could potentially get you in front of more "conquest" opportunities - great for used cars.

I know I'm just adding more questions into the mix and not offering any type of answer but I'm not sure they should be compared.
 
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ed.brooks

Boss
Jan 15, 2010
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Ed
Your VDP's on a 3rd Party listing website could potentially get you in front of more "conquest" opportunities - great for used cars.
And it's entirely possible that the VDP view on the 3rd party site initiated the interest in the dealership, in effect driving the customer over to the dealership's site.
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
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The two work together. Although the path isn't always obvious to track because of many different reasons like some of these:

  • Third party VDP doesn't have an obvious link to the dealer's VDP because they want the consumer to submit a lead
  • This causes many shoppers to head toward a search engine and search on any number of combinations: dealership name, VIN, Year + Make + Model + geographical reference, etc.
  • The website vendor doesn't have the capability to report on third party referrals in much depth or doesn't do a great job of making it easy to find
  • The third party doesn't report on how many clicks went to the dealer site, or doesn't do it in much detail
  • Customer switches from a PC to a mobile device or vice versa to create different sessions that are very difficult to piece together for one analytical story

When it comes to advertising ROI it makes a lot of sense to gauge how much of that ROI needs to be chalked-up to faith/gut. The most trackable asset you have is your website and a huge chunk of your traffic cannot accurately be accounted for exact conversion metrics. For example: Leads are the most trackable, but it is really tough to get the perfect picture on how many visitors just drove in.
 

Tallcool1

Boss
Mar 17, 2014
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Clint
I don't have near the experience level that most members here have, but for me a VDP view on my own website is worth much more than a view on a 3rd party site.

I really agree with JD's first paragraph. In addition, when a visitor is on my website I am able to monitor their activities. I can see which picture may turn them off, or see how long they are engaged with the particular VDP. That is valuable information for me because it shows me how to make my website better or at least more in line with what I can see is important to customers. I feel that when someone is on my website, I have a captive audience. I am the only game in town...if only for a few minutes. I like that.

I am not much of a fan of any "marketplace" advertising. I realize that these marketplaces have built quite a following and ultimately I want to go where the customers are. I just feel that so much of the success of these sites comes down to price.
 

Amy Eddins Hughes

Lot Lizard
Jan 8, 2014
28
11
First Name
Amy
I'll throw a little kerosene on the fire. Take a look at these two campaigns - Cars.com referral traffic landing on the home page and SEO traffic landing on a model specific page. Compare the conversion, bounce and engagement statistics and let's discuss which VDP views are more valuable? (inventory % equates to % of visitors who made it to at least one VDP page; and in this case conversion rate includes form submissions and visits to maps and directions pages) VDPs more valuable.jpg

Of course, this graphic is only comparing and contrasting two streams of visitor experiences on a dealer website, so I am cheating the question a little bit. But, for this dealer it appears that the third party traffic has a higher quality, even if it doesn't have a higher quantity. Yet the dealer would not dare alter or take away from their efforts to maximize the SEO to Frontier landing page combination.

Now take a look at this Audi dealer's two campaigns...
VDP Value Audi3.jpg
Which VDPs are more valuable - the OEM site referral views, or the conquest campaign views? Here, because we have the context that the conversion rates are higher and bounce rates are lower, it appears that the audiusa.com traffic is bringing more value. But, if we looked strictly at VDP views in quantity, these two consumer paths would get equal billing, or at least a similar ranking.

What's the point? When we try to measure VDP views we are looking at a metric out of context. Unless you know the who, what, where, when and why of a shopper's VDP visit experience you cannot measure their value. Without context, I may see spike in VDPs on my own site or through a third party vendor report and think, "Hey, I'm doing great!" only later to realize that someone priced a vehicle $7K below fair market value and 3000 clicks to that one vehicle skewed the analysis.

Also, unless I know how effective my own site is at converting shoppers, I don't have a fair comparison of what I can actually accomplish without a presence on a third party site. What does it cost me to acquire that shopper on my own. How many unique users (car shoppers) does the third party site claim to influence in my market? What percentage of my top "cross-shopped" competitors are extremely competitive on those sites. Is the inventory in my used car mix in hot demand? If not, I may be better off moving those vehicles on my own through more targeted dealer driven marketing, such as an email campaign with special financing for sub prime customers. Has the market been heating up for my new vehicles? Do I need to get a special offer message out to in market shoppers quickly, or do I have only enough inventory to see me through this week, this month, without dropping gross?

Our industry has a thirst for metrics. We have a thirst to improve every month, every week, everyday. But, the answer to defining success is not always as simple as a quantitative comparison. Add context and listen to what the consumer paths are telling you, then layer in what you can actually accomplish this month.

Here are two great blog posts that explore third party referral metrics and VDPs more intensely.

http://blog.stringautomotive.com/cr...and-other-vendor-traffic-in-google-analytics-

http://blog.stringautomotive.com/how-to-calculate-value-per-page

Love this debate. And, the answer is attainable for each dealer, it just takes a bit of digging into the layers of your data to find it.
 
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joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
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Amy,

Love the analysis, but, if we're looking at referral performance, I'd like your thoughts on the impact of comparing performance stats of 2 different landing pages (i.e. home page vs model specific page).
 
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Amy Eddins Hughes

Lot Lizard
Jan 8, 2014
28
11
First Name
Amy
Referral Traffic - multiple landing pages.jpg
Sure, Joe. Above is an analysis of Autotrader traffic through to all three popular landing locations for one of our shared dealer clients. Was there a particular source that you are interested in comparing the experience for? OEM traffic for instance? or 3rd Party referrals vs. Lotlinx? As I mentioned, all the metrics are relevant in the context of what this dealer is willing and able to accomplish with his third party traffic. Message me and we can jump on a screenshare to look at a this client inside the platform.
 
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