Automotive Analytics Are Your Dealership’s Ace in the Hole.
We have been talking about how to wire a digital marketing strategy. Now it’s time to jump into one of the most exciting tools at your disposal – analytics and reporting.
First, let’s briefly define each term. From there, we’ll talk about why performance analytics and related measures are such a timely fit for automotive digital marketing, cover a few major analytics tools – include LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE’S own Dealer Scorecard – and touch on how regular reporting can boost conversion rate optimization on your website.
What are analytics and reporting?
Technopedia defines analytics as – “the scientific process of discovering and communicating the meaningful patterns which can be found in data.”
Let’s say that a manufacturer tries out two different digital display ads <LINK TO https://auto.localiq.com/lead-generation/targeted-display-advertising> for the same car. After reviewing the data on who clicked on what and how often, the manufacturer uses performance analytics to discover that Ad A appeals to younger women in urban areas. Ad B, on the other hand, appeals to all ages of men and women in urban areas. Neither ad, for whatever reason, appeals to suburban or rural consumers.
The manufacturer has just unearthed a few useful insights. It could take what the performance analytics data unearthed and:
Run Ad A on websites that younger women in cities commonly visit.
Use Ad B in a targeted social ad campaign that focuses on a broad audience that lives in big-city zip codes.
Figure out what elements of Ad A make it appeal to younger women in urban areas specifically (maybe they could compare it to Ad B) and design more ads like it.
Take a look at Ad A and Ad B and figure out which elements to change up to make it appeal to suburban and rural consumer. Maybe it is as simple as altering the background and putting the models in different clothes. Maybe what’s needed is a totally different concept.
According to Wikipedia, data reporting is – “the process of collecting and submitting data which gives rise to accurate analyses of the facts on the ground.”
This time let’s say that a car manufacturer is running the same branded content on two different websites. On Website A, the content is getting a lot of clicks. On Website B, it is not performing very well at all. This data reporting finding could be used to:
Tell the manufacturer in a straightforward way that Website A is a more profitable place for ad spends than Website B. Maybe Website B put the content in a suboptimal spot on the page. Maybe Website B is simply less popular. Whatever the reason, reporting would tell the manufacturer what “the facts on the ground” are.
Get the manufacturer started on a performance analytics approach that looks for deeper patterns. Maybe Website A appeals to a highly engaged market segment with strong purchase intent, and the manufacturer should find a comparable Website C and Website D to run this content on.
Analytics can be thought as more pattern-oriented, whereas reporting is more focused on straightforward measurements. Analytics needs data reporting to be successful, but you can use data reporting without looking for the kinds of patterns that data analytics tease out.
Why are reporting and analytics useful?
Data reporting and analytics give you an in-depth and a bird’s-eye view on your local market.
Most of us won’t know in advance if a piece of evergreen content titled “Best Hondas for Winter Driving,” or “Best Hondas for the Snow” will drive more local prospects to your website, or if prospects keep skipping over a critical part of your website. Data tools can help you come up with highly focused answers to specific problems.
It can also unearth opportunities. The industry, its consumers, and its local markets are constantly changing, and reporting and analytics gives you a way to keep up. It focuses on what consumers are actually doing online, rather than what the conventional wisdom says they should be doing.
Another reason reporting and analytics are useful to your dealership digital marketing strategy is that as technological capabilities grow, more and more businesses will invest in this area. Dealerships who neglect analytics will probably have to make better (or luckier) guesses while working with less information to run a competitive digital marketing strategy; or they’ll have to count on other factors like a favorable geographic location, being owned by a retired NFL quarterback, and so on to shoulder more of the burden.
Google Analytics is the most widely-used analytics tool on the web, and it can be very useful for dealerships. Let’s say a dealer website has an online form that the customer can fill out to learn more about dealer financing. One performance analytics measure that the platform can track is conversions, or the number of times that a site visitor does action X (in this case filling out a form). If the dealer isn’t happy with the number of leads this form is drawing, it can rewrite the page content tweak the site layout and optimize its Call To Action (CTA to see if that improves the performance analytics.
The Facebook pixel.
The Facebook pixel is a piece of code you can incorporate on your website to improve user engagement on your social campaigns. Here’s how Facebook describes it:
When someone visits your website and takes an action (for example, buying something), the Facebook pixel is triggered and reports this action. This way, you’ll know when a customer took an action after seeing your Facebook ad. You’ll also be able to reach this customer again by using a custom audience. When more and more conversions happen on your website, Facebook gets better at delivering your ads to people who are more likely to take certain actions. This is called conversion optimization.
With so many car buyers relying on social media, a tool like this can make a lot of sense.
LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE Dealer Scorecard.
LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE offers a dealer analytics tool called the Dealer Scorecard. It can be extremely useful for local dealerships.
Unlike the two web analytics tools we discuss above, the Dealer Scorecard uses Polk Automotive data to give local dealerships a data-driven perspective on their local market. This tool assesses your dealership’s local market share, how many vehicles you sell to consumers in your assigned zip codes, what vehicle models are most popular where you do business, and other actionable measures. The Dealer Scorecard has a straightforward, cut-to-the-chase format that is tailor-made for busy dealerships.
There are a lot of scenarios where the Dealer Scorecard can be useful. Let’s say you do business in a major market with a lot of competing brand dealerships. For years now, you’ve considered Dealership A your main competition. This dealership has been a local household name for years, spends a lot on advertising, is all over TV and radio, and has established outstanding brand recognition.
However, you might look at the Dealer Scorecard and find out that your real competition is Dealership B. Dealership B has a lower profile than Dealership A but it sells far more cars in your assigned sales area. In this case, you might want to zero in on a marketing strategy that takes on your true competitor.
Get cracking on your CRO.
CRO stands for conversion rate optimization, and it’s a strategy for turning more website visitors into customers.
What CRO is based on is how many website visitors take a specific action – like fill out the dealer financing form we mentioned when we were talking about Google Analytics. Regular, or monthly or so, reporting is essential because there may be a lot of reasons site visitors are (or are not) completing a desired action. Maybe your website is hard to navigate, maybe consumers need more education on your financing options than your website gives them, maybe it’s a combination of two or more problems. Data reporting can help you locate a problem, and analytics can help you identify root causes.
Data is for everyone.
This can become a highly technical topic in a hurry, but we believe that dealership teams of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels can use data reporting and analytics to their advantage. If you need help getting started, our LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE data experts can show you the way with our Dealer Scorecard and optimize your dealership digital ad campaigns while providing transparent reporting with our LOCALiQ marketing analytics dashboard.
Contact us to request a free Dealer Scorecard analysis for your dealership or Auto Group.