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TAKE POLL Cars.com VS AutoTrader VS CarGurus

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Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
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Jeff
WHAT?? Who is this @Blake Arbogast guy? Maybe it's time to update that babyface profile photo you have going on??

I'm sure it depends on what region you're in when it comes to which listing sites you stick with. For my region, we are sticking with cars.com and I would keep cargurus if I didn't have some bad taste in my mouth after their shenanigans.
 
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autohitch

Noob
Aug 12, 2017
21
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6
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Steve
Great Thread. I'll refrain from too much opinion as a former dealer only because I currently seek to build a better "Mouse Trap" and these companies would be considered the competition. I guess it's out of some semblance of respect. What I will say is that from the inside of the industry it was always clear that 3rd parties could do more, not just for dealers but for both sides of "The Deal". You can do a lot from the position of middleman, far more than just taking a cut for making the introduction. I'm just glad I got off my but and decided to take all those idea napkins from the bar and get to work. Looking forward to what's next....
 

Blake Arbogast

Refresher
Apr 16, 2009
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Blake
I'm sure it depends on what region you're in when it comes to which listing sites you stick with.
I understand each third party site performs differently across the country. My questions is do we need to be on all three sites...
 
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Alexander Lau

Sr. Refresher
Feb 11, 2015
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Alex
I understand each third party site performs differently across the country. My questions is do we need to be on all three sites...
It's a great question.

IMO, either their proprietary reporting mechanisms should clearly show value / ROI or a sales attribution tool should show you. Ultimately, I feel the decision is made by your demographic and that should be shown through verifiable, trusted data, which should allow you to make your 3PA marketing decisions. What works in Seattle, might not in Miami and vice versa.
 

autohitch

Noob
Aug 12, 2017
21
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First Name
Steve
Well consider this: Rarely does a shopper use just one of those sites during their entire journey. When or what determines the moment in time that they decide to start pulling the trigger on a purchase can vary on specific circumstance down to which way the wind is blowing. So, because you can't predict where the consumer will be when they feel the urge to start engaging dealers, be everywhere you "Can" so that when that consumer's wind does change directions, your nearby. "Can" is highlighted because it refers to the cost which I doubt is anything I am more enlightened on than anyone else here.

Now the real problem shows it's head though, right? "What if a customer saw me on all 3 websites but came in because of Cars.com, won't all 3 take credit?" "What if a customer saw me on Cars.com but took action because of an ad I posted elsewhere? Couldn't I consider that Cars.com ad to have possibly been an early influence that allowed the later ad to close the deal?" All good questions where the answer is very difficult or even impossible to know for sure.
 
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Alexander Lau

Sr. Refresher
Feb 11, 2015
2,194
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Alex
Well consider this: Rarely does a shopper use just one of those sites during their entire journey. When or what determines the moment in time that they decide to start pulling the trigger on a purchase can vary on specific circumstance down to which way the wind is blowing. So, because you can't predict where the consumer will be when they feel the urge to start engaging dealers, be everywhere you "Can" so that when that consumer's wind does change directions, your nearby. "Can" is highlighted because it refers to the cost which I doubt is anything I am more enlightened on than anyone else here.

Now the real problem shows it's head though, right? "What if a customer saw me on all 3 websites but came in because of Cars.com, won't all 3 take credit?" "What if a customer saw me on Cars.com but took action because of an ad I posted elsewhere? Couldn't I consider that Cars.com ad to have possibly been an early influence that allowed the later ad to close the deal?" All good questions where the answer is very difficult or even impossible to know for sure.
Precisely, which is why Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA) is so important. Last Touch Attribution (LTA) is not a good way of analyzing success.
 
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Blake Arbogast

Refresher
Apr 16, 2009
164
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Blake
Great insight guys. Thanks. I'm interested in hearing from some dealers who have taken the plunge by canceling one or all of their third party lead providers. In know the Used Car King, Todd Caputo did it couple of years ago. Haven’t talked to him for a while, been up to my eyeballs in car business BS.
 
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Ljamie

Noob
Jun 29, 2017
2
0
1
First Name
Jamie
I’m going to resurrect my boy Jeff’s thread…

In the last couple years Car Gurus has definitely taken over the number one spot. For years I’ve questioned whether we really need to be on all the third party sites.

For example a couple months ago I bought my wife a car and visited Car Gurus, Cars.com, Autotrader, eBay, and a few other sites. Did the dealer I purchased from really need to be on every site I visited? My thought is no.

So again I ask is it really necessary to pay stupid amount of money to every single vendor? Or can we pick a select few?

This year we’ve decided to pick a select few. Car Guru and Autotrader made the cut, Cars.com did not. We will see how it goes…

I have definitely heard good things about Car Guru
 

Troy Past

Noob
Feb 17, 2015
2
3
1
First Name
Troy
I’m going to resurrect my boy Jeff’s thread…

In the last couple years Car Gurus has definitely taken over the number one spot. For years I’ve questioned whether we really need to be on all the third party sites.

For example a couple months ago I bought my wife a car and visited Car Gurus, Cars.com, Autotrader, eBay, and a few other sites. Did the dealer I purchased from really need to be on every site I visited? My thought is no.

So again I ask is it really necessary to pay stupid amount of money to every single vendor? Or can we pick a select few?

This year we’ve decided to pick a select few. Car Guru and Autotrader made the cut, Cars.com did not. We will see how it goes…
Blake, our ROI led us to lose Cars.com four years ago. Our results have been that we did not even skip a beat...