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If You Dropped AutoTrader - Where would you put the Money

Eley Duke

Boss
Nov 30, 2009
473
254
Awards
1
First Name
Eley
Our team has done some deep CRM diving on AutoTrader and lead sources lately. The conclusion is we're canceling AutoTrader, which seems to be a growing trend among most dealers I speak with. In Q3 and Q4, plus Q1 of this year, we have sold a staggering............... 4 vehicles off AutoTrader. We get leads, phone calls etc, however they are the worst lead source we have by far, hard to appoint, and have a close rate even worse than GM 3rd Party Leads. We are paying $3,700mo. I have sent a cancellation to them last week.

So if you had an additional $3,700 to market your store and drive traffic, how would you use it?
 

john.quinn

Boss
Dec 2, 2009
1,001
660
Awards
1
First Name
John
I've been seeing some aggregated conversion rates for dealers.

In general, I would focus internally, and get my conversion waaaaaaay up higher than what I'm seeing in aggregate.

Of course, I can't speak for your store, Eley, and I'm certain your stores are performing better than most.

But I've recently been shocked to see nowhere near the 15%/20%/30% (3rd-party/OEM/DealerWebsite) conversion numbers I enjoyed when I left retail (almost 8 years ago now...wow!!).

JQ
 

Jay Nelson

Lot Lizard
Aug 15, 2018
18
6
First Name
Jay
I noticed your name on our list a few times. We're really excited that dealers have been able to see value in our report and start real conversations in their stores and make data based decisions. Whatever direction you go, I hope you find success.

Jay Nelson
DrivenData
VP of Sales
 
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Reactions: Eley Duke
Jun 11, 2019
1
1
First Name
Adam
Our team has done some deep CRM diving on AutoTrader and lead sources lately. The conclusion is we're canceling AutoTrader, which seems to be a growing trend among most dealers I speak with. In Q3 and Q4, plus Q1 of this year, we have sold a staggering............... 4 vehicles off AutoTrader. We get leads, phone calls etc, however they are the worst lead source we have by far, hard to appoint, and have a close rate even worse than GM 3rd Party Leads. We are paying $3,700mo. I have sent a cancellation to them last week.

So if you had an additional $3,700 to market your store and drive traffic, how would you use it?
Hi Eley!

Great post. I hear this all the time. I strongly believe that you should reinvest those dollars driving in-market Used Car Shoppers to your website and drive more leads through your website where you have the highest conversion rates. When I ran marketing for Prime Motor Group (a 26 store group in New England) and today running an agency for dealers all over the country I have employed running dynamic inventory ads to drive more in market used traffic affordably to the dealer website... Here is a blog article that outlines the strategy and how to position your inventory to take advantage of it - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-how-sell-more-off-brand-used-vehicles-adam-stone/.
 
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Reactions: Eley Duke

John.H

Full Sticker
Nov 12, 2018
90
81
First Name
John
Our team has done some deep CRM diving on AutoTrader and lead sources lately. The conclusion is we're canceling AutoTrader, which seems to be a growing trend among most dealers I speak with. In Q3 and Q4, plus Q1 of this year, we have sold a staggering............... 4 vehicles off AutoTrader. We get leads, phone calls etc, however they are the worst lead source we have by far, hard to appoint, and have a close rate even worse than GM 3rd Party Leads. We are paying $3,700mo. I have sent a cancellation to them last week.

So if you had an additional $3,700 to market your store and drive traffic, how would you use it?
I'm going to give it to you straight.

upload_2019-6-11_15-6-6.png

Any platform that gives people the "option" to supply their phone number clearly doesn't have a dealerships best interest in mind. From what I understand, people are ignoring emails more than they ever have, and marketers are transitioning into more suitable methods of reaching out to customers. SMS seems to be the place!

upload_2019-6-11_15-14-13.png

In my opinion, this could be why your campaign flopped with AutoTrader so heavily. That alongside little to no exclusivity to leads - people tend to submit their information multiple times, to multiple dealerships. It can be extremely hard to convert somebody when they're simultaneously sending their information to multiple dealers - starting an all out bid war if you ask me.

Let's not forget, using platforms like AutoTrader, Cars (dot) com, and CarGurus, those that have the most affordable price for a vehicle will almost ALWAYS win the customer. Turning marketplaces like these into one large contest to see which dealer can provide bottom dollar on a vehicle.

This is why I've fallen in love with media buying on social platforms, like Facebook for instance. You can target people through creative angles, without discussing price, or setting any objective. So your sales guys can do their selling, and you're affirmed you'll be getting top dollar for your vehicle.


I wrote a HUGE tutorial on running Facebook Advertisements for dealerships. I suggest you give it a read, and ask questions if you have any. Would love to point you in the right direction!
 

[email protected]

Rust & Dust
May 24, 2017
103
48
First Name
Jason
@Eley Duke

Simple....Google (it is where you find intent based audiences). You can run some clever Display Marketing campaigns that target Dynamic Keywords, Domains, Interests, etc.
 
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Reactions: Eley Duke
Get Podium

Eley Duke

Boss
Nov 30, 2009
473
254
Awards
1
First Name
Eley
I've been seeing some aggregated conversion rates for dealers.

In general, I would focus internally, and get my conversion waaaaaaay up higher than what I'm seeing in aggregate.

Of course, I can't speak for your store, Eley, and I'm certain your stores are performing better than most.

But I've recently been shocked to see nowhere near the 15%/20%/30% (3rd-party/OEM/DealerWebsite) conversion numbers I enjoyed when I left retail (almost 8 years ago now...wow!!).

JQ
Nothing converts anymore like it use to! Good to hear from you, and I agree on internal focus on conversions.
 

Eley Duke

Boss
Nov 30, 2009
473
254
Awards
1
First Name
Eley
I noticed your name on our list a few times. We're really excited that dealers have been able to see value in our report and start real conversations in their stores and make data based decisions. Whatever direction you go, I hope you find success.

Jay Nelson
DrivenData
VP of Sales
Jay, you all have some incredible data that is very worthwhile. The DR community, and all dealers, need to take note. I used your latest report, a BIG thank you by the way, to make some decisions, and will continue to study it more. Its real value and real data for educated decisions. Great job, thank U!
 
Get Podium

Eley Duke

Boss
Nov 30, 2009
473
254
Awards
1
First Name
Eley
Hi Eley!

Great post. I hear this all the time. I strongly believe that you should reinvest those dollars driving in-market Used Car Shoppers to your website and drive more leads through your website where you have the highest conversion rates. When I ran marketing for Prime Motor Group (a 26 store group in New England) and today running an agency for dealers all over the country I have employed running dynamic inventory ads to drive more in market used traffic affordably to the dealer website... Here is a blog article that outlines the strategy and how to position your inventory to take advantage of it - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-how-sell-more-off-brand-used-vehicles-adam-stone/.
Adam, thank you for the post with info, the email and call today. I am sorry we couldn't connect today but we will, very interested to hear what you all are doing. Tell Heather hi!
 
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Reactions: Heather MacKinnon