On the face of it, as a car dealership, we’re tempted to think proving digital marketing ROI should be simple

After all, technology has given us access to more performance metrics than ever before.

In reality however, it is never as straightforward as we would hope. Marketing efforts can affect revenue in both direct and indirect ways.

3 ways that, as a car dealership, marketing affects your revenue:

  • The quality of your Consumer Advert View (CAV).
    • Not only on 3rd party portals like AutoTrader, but also on your dealership website.
    • The higher the quality of the advert the more conversion the car will get. The 3 main things impacting advert quality are: Images, non-functional descriptions and pricing to market often and not only when the car is advertised.
  • Choosing which 3rd party websites you partner with to ensure you are reaching the RIGHT in-market shoppers. Not all advertising that your car dealership does reaches in-market car shoppers. Ensure that you understand the different advertising channels you use in terms of marketing brand vs performance marketing.
  • Knowing the source of every lead is key to the success of your business. More and more consumers that are comparison shopping your car dealership, want to remain anonymous. Worldwide studies, including local research conducted by AutoTrader, show that more than 50% of consumers prefer not to respond by emailing, filling out a form online or calling. They prefer building a shortlist of cars in their consideration set (now down to 2) and simply going directly to the dealership to view the car. Remember, in the world of second hand cars, the car is the hero!

Get more ROI by following these 4 steps

  • Increasing revenue trumps “cost cutting”. When the business is tough, market more. All your competitors will be cutting back on marketing, it’s a good time to get the business into your car dealership.
  • Increasing eyeballs to your stock in creative ways other than just a race to the bottom of price. Dropping stock prices creates a price war where everyone loses. Rather price to market and re-price more often. Car Dealerships re-price way to infrequently (2 or 3 times a week), re-pricing should be done daily. You will find that sometimes you can re-price up. Recent examples of the Hyundai Tuscon going up in average market price from December 2018 to March 2019 as a result of increased consumer demand.
  • Improve on your conversion rate to sale by getting back to and engaging with customers more frequently and differently, on their terms. The new generations want you to communicate in new ways. Ask questions in every piece of communication to ensure the consumer remains engaged by answering your questions. E.g. what other colour cars would you consider? What other cars are on your shortlist at the moment?
  • Delivering a seamless experience between online and offline (inside your car dealership) for your customers. AKA digital retailing in the 21st century..


In summary

This means more eyeballs on your dealerships cars, more relevant adverts for your customers, a seamless online customer journey, and a killer upselling opportunities.

Decide which metrics you’re going to improve, and own them. But, focusing on key metrics at a moment in time is not enough. Measure your metrics over time, both before and after your effort. Then learn from failures and improve.

This is for two very important reasons. The first is to show the long-term, positive impact of your work by comparing it to previous performance; the second is to prove, wherever possible, that your work didn’t have any negative effect on other key metrics.

Identify the metrics that directly impact your bottom line and be relentless at monitoring these. In other words, a reduction of 12% in cost per click this month sounds great, but if you can’t prove that the reduction in CPC generated more sales of cars, that’s not really a metric or trend you should be focusing on.

Do you believe there are other key components that should be added to this lists? Message me on Twitter @georgemienie or add me to your Linkedin connections!