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Attribution: Do you give the last touchpoint all of the credit for a sale?

ed.brooks

Boss
Jan 15, 2010
1,104
661
First Name
Ed
I think if dealers can focus on making their websites easy to search, view photos of the vehicles (great photos), list all options clearly, provide detailed pricing, and provide several ways to communicate for the shopper, then handle every customer interaction with professionalism... they are doing the majority of what's needed to lead their local markets. Once that's solid, now we can choose where to expose your inventory and dealership online.
I understand that there is a strong desire to increase reliance on the dealer website, but the data doesn't support that -

Look at the what the sock guys found, "...when consumers used multiple channels they spent more money and they converted at a significantly higher rate." ( see We are being beaten by socks. SOCKS! )

An Autotrader.com study had similar findings, "Simply put, after having been on third-party sites, shoppers on dealer websites are more qualified, which indicates a higher likelihood to make a vehicle purchase. Shopper quality can be clearly demonstrated by comparing common dealer website metrics, such as bounce rate, page views, and time on site..."

The Groove Automotive / Dataium study also showed similar findings -
 
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mikesayre

3rd Base Coach
Jul 11, 2009
120
113
First Name
Mike
I understand that there is a strong desire to increase reliance on the dealer website, but the data doesn't support that -
Sorry Ed, I wasn't clear enough there. My point was I think sometimes dealers spend way too much time with things that aren't driving direct sales. The simple things that really matter with sales aren't done well first, either with website layouts, vehicle merchandising, communication, or on the showroom floor. So trying to increase and get more leads in your local market to drive more sales is going to get very expensive on paper.

In my opinion, 3rd party shopping websites bring in more online traffic for dealers than any other source. I see it when I deep dive into sales sourcing and lead attribution. It would appear that the majority of shoppers are entering our name in search engines, or visiting our websites directly. That's not logical though, there aren't that many psychic shoppers out there that suddenly know I have that sweet Tacoma TRD Pro in-stock, in their color, with beige leather, low miles and listed at $26,782. They are finding it somewhere online. The majority of which I attribute back to either OEM or 3rd party shopping websites. If you stop digging into the stats though, and believe all you really need is your website, then you're probably missing out on sales opportunities your competition is getting a shot at.
 
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Tallcool1

Boss
Mar 17, 2014
370
223
Awards
1
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Clint
Sorry Ed, I wasn't clear enough there. My point was I think sometimes dealers spend way too much time with things that aren't driving direct sales. The simple things that really matter with sales aren't done well first, either with website layouts, vehicle merchandising, communication, or on the showroom floor. So trying to increase and get more leads in your local market to drive more sales is going to get very expensive on paper.

In my opinion, 3rd party shopping websites bring in more online traffic for dealers than any other source. I see it when I deep dive into sales sourcing and lead attribution. It would appear that the majority of shoppers are entering our name in search engines, or visiting our websites directly. That's not logical though, there aren't that many psychic shoppers out there that suddenly know I have that sweet Tacoma TRD Pro in-stock, in their color, with beige leather, low miles and listed at $26,782. They are finding it somewhere online. The majority of which I attribute back to either OEM or 3rd party shopping websites. If you stop digging into the stats though, and believe all you really need is your website, then you're probably missing out on sales opportunities your competition is getting a shot at.
I like where you are going here, but as I look at my own website and shopper behavior,

I don't see a whole lot of what you are talking about. I see people coming to my site, clicking the Inventory button, not using any of my filters or the search function, and hitting multiple VDP's. If these shoppers were finding my vehicle on a 3rd Party site, googling my dealership, going to my home page, searching for the vehicle that they found on the 3rd party site, looking at it, and then maybe looking at my financing page, submitting a lead form, looking at the about us page...or anything else that is logical, I would agree with you completely.

I am certainly not saying that your logic is wrong. I am saying that my website visitor behavior does not logically follow this train of thought. So, maybe there is nothing logical about shopper behavior!
 
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Chris Leslie

Hat Trick
Oct 28, 2012
406
279
First Name
Chris K
I understand that there is a strong desire to increase reliance on the dealer website, but the data doesn't support that -

Look at the what the sock guys found, "...when consumers used multiple channels they spent more money and they converted at a significantly higher rate." ( see We are being beaten by socks. SOCKS! )

An Autotrader.com study had similar findings, "Simply put, after having been on third-party sites, shoppers on dealer websites are more qualified, which indicates a higher likelihood to make a vehicle purchase. Shopper quality can be clearly demonstrated by comparing common dealer website metrics, such as bounce rate, page views, and time on site..."

The Groove Automotive / Dataium study also showed similar findings -
I don't know why but this video made me think of this other video instantly
BTW this video is NSFW...

 

ed.brooks

Boss
Jan 15, 2010
1,104
661
First Name
Ed
I believe a dealer needs more than 1 attribution model and those models should be broken down by New and Used. The overall concepts I'm posting are all generalities. Analytics Attribution helps dealers make marketing decisions, talking to your customers grades those decisions. Analytics Attribution and KPI's are a monster and different at every dealership.

Talking to a customer, I believe the first thing you want to establish is the "heaviest influence" that brought them in the door. Family/friends, former customer, internet, etc.. First and foremost I want to know if the starting point was the dealership or a vehicle shopping journey. After that I want to know the heaviest influence inside the starting point, all I care about are things that made an impact. I agree with the charts above that it's usually around 6 influences on the internet, just need to weight them on their role and monitor duplicity. I also believe the dealership should be extracting information about the whole process, but you can grow into that. (i would be writing all of these insights down and storing them in a shoe box. AI will be coming to automotive at some point and historical customer insights will give you a competitive advantage).

From there I believe you can combine analytics attribution and customer attribution to build correlations and look for signals. Signals could be dealer weaknesses or a waste of money among other things. It brings together a clearer picture for grading and discovering new opportunities.

I would never list my website as a source, I would judge it on its own merit. This is about as basic as I would go in trying to even tackle attribution, over time you can expand into where the data takes you or what you want to discover. Any sense of trying to get close to a true attribution model without your customer's input is guessing, IMO - you're lacking intent and value. I also believe a true attribution model is impossible to attain, you just want to get as close to it as possible so you can make the right decisions faster.

Start easy then go micro.
I agree that shoppers follow very different paths between used and new. This is from the PCG 2016 Automotive Shopper Influence Study


Post sale interviews and surveys are notoriously unreliable. Customers will often say whatever they think you want to hear, and really just want to drive away in their new car. I remember working with a Honda dealer in central Massachusetts at least 15 years ago. They were very forward thinking. When asked what brought them into the dealership, customers would, more often than not, say "the newspaper". Problem was, they hadn't advertised in the newspaper for years.
 

mikesayre

3rd Base Coach
Jul 11, 2009
120
113
First Name
Mike
I am saying that my website visitor behavior does not logically follow this train of thought. So, maybe there is nothing logical about shopper behavior!
There's a Uncle Joe rule # for this, not sure which, but centered around - no two dealers are alike.

I'm not sure about your local market Clint, maybe 3rd party websites aren't as influential? Maybe there is another way people are finding you online or offline that's more prominent there?

Our market here is pretty competitive to say the least. All dealerships in our group have good size inventories of new and used vehicles, and we receive a good amount of traffic from 3rd party websites. I watch the website visitors, like you do, and see similar patterns as well for both new & used. But when I watch interested shoppers I see different patterns, especially with larger volume it becomes more evident. They go directly to a vehicle or type, look at bunch of photos, maybe submit a form lead, make contact, or not, and browse similarly priced vehicles. They're simply weighing their options, gathering information, deciding to either make contact, visit, or not based on what they see. This is where focusing on what matters online makes a big difference for dealers.

I agree with "nothing logical with shopper behavior" too. The shoppers situations, online journeys, option preferences, external influences, selection choices, are way too complex to make any sense from on a broad scale. One reason why I think focusing on what matters in sales first, is the best course of action for success. We can all easily get lost in the minutia of online metrics, it can sometimes lead you down a wrong path.
 
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jeffwallen

Lot Lizard
Apr 15, 2009
25
5
First Name
Jeff
I agree that shoppers follow very different paths between used and new. This is from the PCG 2016 Automotive Shopper Influence Study


Post sale interviews and surveys are notoriously unreliable. Customers will often say whatever they think you want to hear, and really just want to drive away in their new car. I remember working with a Honda dealer in central Massachusetts at least 15 years ago. They were very forward thinking. When asked what brought them into the dealership, customers would, more often than not, say "the newspaper". Problem was, they hadn't advertised in the newspaper for years.

I agree that data gathering in the store can be tricky, but there is a method to the mayhem of follow-up surveys or interviews. That takes effort and a lot of things have to come together to be successful or have anything outside of a sampling.
 
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Reactions: ed.brooks

Chris Leslie

Hat Trick
Oct 28, 2012
406
279
First Name
Chris K
Those questions are so silly..

Q: Where did you start your research on buying that 2lbs of chicken breast.
A: Well, I suppose at the place that sells the chickens. But i've been researching all my life in all honesty.
 

jeffwallen

Lot Lizard
Apr 15, 2009
25
5
First Name
Jeff
Those questions are so silly..

Q: Where did you start your research on buying that 2lbs of chicken breast.
A: Well, I suppose at the place that sells the chickens. But i've been researching all my life in all honesty.

I agree, I don't like the way the question is formatted but it does let you know those places were a part of the customers journey. A major thing for me would be finding out the impact points of what they recall. I don't care about the 24 touchpoints, I care what had an effect. If I'm getting good feedback then I'm learning where I am in the local customer path and where I'm not, more importantly the places that matter with my local market. Overlay that on top of analytics and I'm sure some good comes out of it.

My goal would be to keep it basic in the beginning.
I want to know why they started looking for a vehicle.
I want to know the major questions they had in their mind.
Am I able to answer those questions or come close?
If not, can I be where they are getting those answers.
If I can answer those questions, am I doing a good job of showing it? How do I let the local market know I have the answers?
Can I get higher up in the shopping/researching funnel by showcasing those answers?
and it goes on and on