Dealerships make money when a consumer purchases a car or services their vehicle. Why don’t digital agencies measure ROI using actual transactions? If you owned a dealership, wouldn’t you ask a simple question, “How much money did I receive in return for the money I spent in digital advertising?”. Online consumers who take action (like calling) and end up transacting with the dealership is what’s most important. Today’s technology allows us to better identify “online” shoppers. Plus, any vendor can download transactional data (or find someone who can) to store a dealerships sales and service transactions. Just cross-reference the shoppers with the buyers, it’s a simple concept.
Digital vendors and experts create their own conversion metrics to rate what they define as engaged traffic. It confuses most dealerships because what counts as conversions and engagements are purely a matter of their opinions and they vary greatly. It’s hard to argue that Google and Bing don’t already have most of the key metrics that matter to advertisers and it’s free.
My point is why not rely on the metrics that dealership executives understand and care most about…. which is selling and servicing more cars. That’s the primary reason they advertise in the first place. Most dealers simply want proof on which strategies, digital or otherwise, are genuinely driving their sales and service transactions.
Here are 5 easy and affordable steps that every vendor can do to provide their clients an undeniable return on their digital advertising investment. Below is a simple guide on how to do this.
5 easy steps to establish a return on your investment in digital advertising.
- Download all the dealerships sales and service transactions and store those into a secure database and update daily.
- When a consumer calls, texts or submits a form from a digital ad, save their information to your database. More shoppers will call from their mobile device before they visit and transact with a dealership. Especially new customers.
- Cross-reference the dealerships transactions with identified online shoppers.
- Place the cross-referenced transactions, including the actual gross profits from their sales and repair orders on a simple dashboard. This allows the dealership to easily verify the digital transactions and determine an ROI.
- Differentiate previous customers versus new customers. That’s a major benefit of downloading transactional data. It’s important the dealership understand how much incremental revenue from new customers was generated from their digital advertising investment.
With today’s technology, these 5 simple steps are easy and costs very little. This method would be so welcomed. Sure, there are a few holes that readers, myself, and the so called “experts” can poke at this. The main one is you won’t “catch” everybody. I say, so what. The ones you can match are undeniable and a leading indicator of what’s working and what isn’t. Most importantly, this attribution method is 100% based on ringing the cash register. While some buyers will be undetectable, this 5-step method will catch the majority of online shoppers and the ROI will be crystal clear.
In 2017, dealerships will require more straight-forward metrics they can digest based on their revenue model. Most importantly, it holds vendors accountable to the standard of attributing a dealerships digital marketing investment against their sales and service transactions. Really, what else matters?
Online Actions + Transactions = Real ROI.