13 Apr


IS20G 7 Event Offers Comprehensive Web + BDC Dealership Assessment





Hard to believe it has been more than six months now since IS20G 6 in Boston, which turned out to be a terrific event with more than 200 dealers in attendance. As before I was responsible for compiling and ranking the dealerships evaluated in the dealership composites which naturally consumed my involvement with the gig, but this time around I also have a speaking slot which will require extra effort on my part.

More to come on the speaking slot though because I am dedicating this post to the composites.

In Boston we evaluated 28 dealerships so it was about 40% more work than normal. We also announced winners of each composite for the first time which will of course be carried through for IS20G 7 in Brooklyn where I am happy to say we are limiting assessments to 20 dealers again.

These dealers are lucky in my opinion. The composite evaluation provides deep insight into key areas of each participating dealership, insight that is easily worth a few thousand dollars if it were to be purchased as a service.

Each assessment is performed by a contributing sponsor (identified below), the data of which is supplied to me for scoring and ranking to determine the winners.


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Be sure to register your dealership today at www.internetsales20group.com and enter my promo code ACIS20G7 for a special discount. By doing so you will not only receive a 10% discount but you will also receive one of my complimentary Online Marketing Assessments as a thank you for attending.

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28 Mar


Dataium Joins Polk with IHS Automotive Acquisition


IHS Automotive Acquires Dataium

What does the acquisition of Datium by IHS Automotive mean for Automotive Online Retail?

Dataium has long been one of my favorite companies. I have written about or referenced Dataium here on this blog more than half a dozen times. To hear news of the company’s acquisition last week by IHS Automotive is of personal interest to me.

When I was first introduced to the company back in 2011 while working with HookLogic, we were partnering with Dataium to integrate data-driven intelligence into the Lead-to-Show product.

The idea was that by cross-referencing with Polk data were able to better understand the shoppers coming into dealer pipelines and automatically trigger incentives to be sent to folks based on specific criteria. I often wondered by Polk and Dataium didn’t work together on things more. Maybe they did?

This is just one of numerous ways in which Dataium can be utilized for automotive online retail.

Every month, Dataium observes more than 20 million automotive shoppers across automotive websites and then aggregates, indexes and summarizes this data into key and unique market analytics. This aggregated data can predict future sales, optimize automotive audience segments, measure campaign, advertising and website performance, and perform additional comparative analysis that helps its clients grow sales, lower costs and retain customers.

Dataium is essentially like a utility company, providing analytics from which marketing and technology providers can draw intelligence to make smarter business decisions.

With Dataium’s assets now owned by IHS Automotive, which of course acquired Polk in 2013, the stage is set for a new era of intelligence about auto shoppers where transactional insights meets demonstrated behavioral insights with expressed.

As one who stands firm behind the practice of marketing to identifiable auto shoppers,  something both Polk and Dataium help achieve, this acquisition is as Jim “The Alpha Dawg” Ziegler would say is, “right on point!”

18 Mar


Penske Enters Race to Foster Online Vehicle Shopping with Preferred Purchase Program


Penske Preferred Purchase Program

Penske Automotive Group launched a pilot this month of its online sales program that will allow consumers to shop and initiate the vehicle purchase process digitally.

Called Preferred Purchase, the program kicked off last week at Audi Tysons Corner in Vienna, Virginia, and is being rolled out on the Web sites of 11 of Penske’s 244 dealerships, five in Florida and six in the Washington, D.C., area.


Preferred Purchase enables customers to handle most of a transaction online, which trims the time spent in a store, said Michael Kabcenell, Penske’s director of strategic initiatives and business development. It also improves pricing transparency by allowing a customer to research vehicles, start a purchase or complete most of the purchase from home.

“We want to give customers the process they want,” said Terri Mulcahey, Penske’s senior vice president of marketing and business development, as quoted in the Automotive News. With Preferred Purchase, customers do not have to give contact or personal financial information to get detailed pricing information. 

According to reports, the program is based on customer feedback, including that from a centralized customer relationship management system it launched a year ago. Some customers said they would like to buy their cars online, some wanted integrated chat, some just want more options but still come into the dealership to finalize the transaction.

Penske’s Preferred Purchase, which links a dealership to the sort of online options available from third-party shopping sites, is the latest in online sales programs being developed by large dealership groups. Penske worked with various vendors to develop the software, and tested it for eight months and will monitor the pilot for an undetermined period before deciding whether to expand it.

How do you think Penske’s pilot will fan out? Or better yet, what do you think it will turn out? Clearly this is an necessary step towards the  direction that the vehicle purchase process that the elite auto groups are able to trail blaze.


18 Mar


Case Study: Enterprise Facebook Publishing for 2015 Chicago Auto Show


Chicago Auto Show Promotion

Chicago Auto Show Promotion


For the second straight year the Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) teamed up with SOCIALDEALER and AutoConversion to help promote the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The joint effort was designed to provide local auto dealers with high quality social media content from the auto show for their Facebook pages in a streamlined fashion. The program was free to all CATA dealer members.


As a result of the program, the CATA was able to reach more than 33,000 people on Facebook organically by scheduling more than a thousand photos, videos, and links to 65 different dealership Facebook pages using a method known as Enterprise Publishing. The majority of these posts were brand specific.


This is important because with the declining organic reach that brands are up against on Facebook, paid targeted advertising has become essential for brands to reach folks on the social network. With this effort, auto dealers are receiving free high quality relevant original content for their pages and the Chicago Auto Show is engaging Facebook users through its dealerships.


What is Enterprise Publishing?


Enterprise Publishing, also referred to by SOCIALDEALER as Content Syndication, is a way for brands such as the Chicago Auto Show which is managed by the CATA, to distribute digital content across a network of end points, much like the way syndication works in press and in mass media.


In this case specifically, the Enterprise Publishing capabilities of SOCIALDEALER allowed the CATA to schedule and distribute thousands of Facebook posts to 65 dealership Facebook pages.


With SOCIALDEALER, the participating dealerships maintain full control of what appears on their pages because each post must be approved by the dealer before it can be published. In almost all instances the dealer can even modify or override the date and time the post is scheduled as well as its contents.


Key Metrics


The key metrics that resulted from this effort have been released in a Case Study by AutoConversion who helped to form this program last year with the CATA and SOCIALDEALER during the inaugural USO BBQ for the Troops. AutoConversion provides marketing education and awareness of the program to CATA dealer members and assists with the process of enrolling dealers. Between the USO BBQ and the Chicago Auto Show this was the fourth time the program was run, each time adding more dealerships and Facebook pages and thus reaching more people online.


To receive your free copy of the Enterprise Publishing Case Study simply enter the information below and a copy of the case study will be sent to you via email. You will also be automatically subscribed to BlogPro Automotive. For questions and inquiries please contact Ryan Gerardi on LinkedIn. Thank you.


11 Mar


LotLinx drives deep-funnel auto shoppers directly to your VDPs


LotLinx VDP Advertising

LotLinx VDP Advertising


The number one car shopping activity,

Believe it or not, is searching through inventory.


The vast majority of consumers, believe it or not,

Are doing their pre-purchase research online…


To the tune of 84 distinct car searches during a 45 day sales process, according to LotLinx.


This is not new information.


What is new, however, is the process of learning and tracking exactly what those 84 car searches consist of and how to best reach those low-funnel visitors ready to buy.


Using the latest in Deeplinking ™ technology, a term coined by LotLinx, the company is able to track the digital signals of VINtenders, another term coined by LotLinx suggesting digital consumers ready to buy, and serve up the vehicle information that best matches their research criteria from the dealership’s own Vehicle Details Page (VDP).


Does it work for conversion?


You bet it does!


Based on information published in January 2014 by PCG Consulting, LotLinx dealers shifted 11% of their SEM spend to LotLinx – an average of $1,933 per month:

  • They reduced their cost per shopper from an average of $23.70 with Adwords, to $3.99 with LotLinx
  • They reduced their cost per VDP view from an average of $18.55 with Adwords to $3.17 with LotLinx
  • The increased their Time on Site from an average of 1:96 with Adwords to 4:16 with LotLinx
  • LotLinx delivered 94% new visitors – nearly 20% better than Adwords.

In a study conducted in 2013 by Cobalt called, 9 Million Reasons Why VDP Views are the Metric that Matters, it clearly shows that vehicles that have more Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) views sell faster.


If you want to sell more cars then you need to get your vehicle detail pages in front of as many Internet auto shoppers as possible.


LotLinx drives deep-funnel auto shoppers directly to your website’s Vehicle Detail Pages (VDP). Click below to learn more about LotLinx VDP Advertising.


Learn More

28 Feb


How to Set Up a Google AdWords Call-Only Campaign for Your Dealership



Call-Only Ad

Did you know that about 70% of people doing mobile searches
call a business directly from the search results?

This is not surprising considering that typically we are
on the go, phone in hand, and in need of
immediate attention or information.

Pressing that handy call button on your screen is
the quickest way to achieve all this,
especially for people attempting to reach your dealership.

This is why businesses and advertisers are flocking to implement
Google’s new call-only campaigns in AdWords.


Generic Example of Call-Only Ad

Generic Example of Call-Only Ad


Call-only campaigns provide a new and easy way
for businesses to reach potential customers
by prominently showing your phone number, business description and call button — right when people are searching.

This is particularly useful for car dealers obviously.
Competition for showroom traffic is fierce and
the next best thing a dealer can get is a phone call.

Dealers have long been able to include a phone extension in their AdWords
but with call-only campaigns
the display is much more deliberate with bigger, bolder, and brighter text
with a more prominent call button.

When I research dealerships
the first thing I do is a Google search.
Many dealers have been quick to jump on this
but for ones that haven’t, you have to wonder…
Are they missing out on an important opportunity?


How to Set Up a Call-Only Campaign



AdWords Wizard


Assuming you already have an AdWords account and are familiar with creating ads, all you need to do is select the “call-only” option and follow the prompts on your screen. The screenshot above is an example of what you can expect to see, but if you require additional assistance visit Google’s announcement post about these types of campaigns for more information.


03 Feb


How to Get Free Social Media Content from the Chicago Auto Show for Your Dealership



CATA Social Dealers Program

For the second straight year, Chicago-area auto dealers are able to acquire free brand-specific social media content from the Chicago Auto Show and have it published directly to their dealership Facebook pages, courtesy of show host The Chicago Automobile Trade Association and SOCIALDEALER.


This is significant because as the effect of organic content on Facebook dealer pages continues to diminish, auto dealers are faced with the challenge of keeping their Facebook pages fresh and interesting but without investing too much time or money into the process, something I talk about at length in the post, How to Combat Declining Organic Reach on Facebook.


With the CATA Social Dealers program, dealer members can benefit from having auto show content on their pages with little to no effort on their part.


The way it works is simple:


  1. CATA Dealer Members register their Facebook page(s) with SOCIALDEALER’s Social Integration platform and select the brand (or brands) they represent.
  2. During the show, registered dealers will receive email alerts that provide a preview of the content that has been prepared for their page
  3. Using the platform, dealers will be able to approve, modify, or reject each piece of content that is prepared


The program is free to all CATA dealer members. If you missed the Dealer Summit we held on January 20 where we discussed the program then you can contact me directly for a recap. There is a video I had prepared in a June blog post for the 2014 USO BBQ For the Troops event that demonstrates how this program, formerly referred to as the CATA Connect4Content program, works. In this video you will see reference to what the declining reach of organic Facebook content means for dealers and how Facebook Targeted Advertising can be utilized to produce a more desired result with Facebook.


What Type of Content?

To view samples of the type of content you can expect to receive for your Facebook page, check out this post on my Google+ profile.


To get started simply click on the image below.


CATA Social Dealers Program

Filed Under: Announcements, Events

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