Negotiating the digital realm is becoming more and more important for any business and retail automotive dealerships are no exception, which is why delegates at the 2018 AADA National Dealer Convention & Expo were so fortunate to benefit from the expertise of Google, Facebook and David Kain, one of the US’ leading digital automotive marketers.

Mr Kain grew up in the automotive industry and has been both General Manager and Dealer Partner of Jack Kain Ford, where he remains a partner today. He co-founded FordDirect.com, serving as Chief Operating Officer from startup until Kain Automotive was born in 2003.

He shared the stage with Paul Balbo, Facebook Client Partner for the Australian automotive industry, and Karthik Lakshminarayanan, Google Director Product Management, who presented statistics and case studies of how dealerships have taken advantage of their platforms.

Mobile has become core to consumers. In 2011, people spent an average of 0.8 hours per day on mobile apps; in 2018 that has risen to 3+ hours, with 1 hour devoted to Facebook.

“Facebook is the connective thread. People are constantly and consistently connected to our platforms at all points across the path to purchase,” Mr Balbo said.
Mr Lakshminarayanan said three major factors impact the auto path to purchase:

  • Online – 92 per cent research online
  • Mobile – 63 per cent research on their smartphone
  • Video – 64 per cent watch online video.

YouTube is the ultimate video shopping tool:

  • 97 per cent of people perform an action after watching a vehicle video on YouTube:
  • 43 per cent visited a dealership
  • 42 per cent viewed another vehicle video
  • 40 per cent searched a dealership’s inventory
  • 38 per cent conducted more research online
  • 35 per cent talked to family and friends about vehicles
  • 33 per cent subscribed to a brand’s video channel
  • 31 per cent shared an online video about a vehicle

“Online video is the new TV,” Mr Lakshminarayanan said. “I think we’d all agree that we spend more and more time online. Our recreational web-surfing has now exceeded our TV viewing time.

“Just four years ago we pretty much spent an equal amount of time surfing the web and watching TV. Four short years later we’ve exceeded our TV watching time with the internet by nearly two hours. Where is this growth coming from? Nearly a third of it has come from online video – everything from Netflix to Hulu to YouTube.”

Buyers value YouTube in the decision making process

Of buyers who watched YouTube:

  • 86 per cent said YouTube provided credible and independent videos about vehicles
  • 85 per cent said YouTube offered videos about all types of cars
  • 84 per cent agreed many Dealers/manufacturers put videos from YouTube on their websites
  • 79 per cent said YouTube was their favourite destination to watch videos about cars.

YouTube watchers appreciate car videos on YouTube for their diversity regarding car types, independence, credibility and their presence on manufacturers’ and dealers’ websites.

Case studies

Paragon Honda is transforming the way it assists customers

  • Remove the Friction: Have vehicles picked up, serviced and returned to home within 24 hours
  • Test New Technology: Drivers can schedule service easily, using just their voices
  • Optimise Marketing: Grew its service repair order by 5x in the last year.

Leduc Hyundai: Brand Advertising drives increased engagement with DR improving sales

The auto dealership switched its advertising budget to Facebook from other channels, nearly tripling its website conversions and boosting sales by 32 per cent.
It also enjoyed a:

  • 2.5x increase in website conversions, and
  • 24 per cent rise in website traffic.

“When we realized the ineffectiveness and cost of other advertising platforms, we turned to Facebook. We saw value advertising on the platform—the ability to choose placements and targeting. The significance of moving from paid search to Facebook speaks for itself in our sales increase,” said Greg Rempel, Dealer Principal, Leduc Hyundai.

Jeff Smith County Chevrolet drives sales by 50 per cent

  • New car sales increased 50 per cent since the dealership went all digital (2014)
  • +79 per cent increase in website visitors since 2014
  • +67 per cent increase in County Chevrolet’s site page views since 2014

The strategy:

  • Always on, as opposed to reactionary
  • Search ads driving vehicle page visits
  • YouTube to build brand/push offers
  • New website
  • ROI measures: Calls, chat sessions, inventory checks, etc.

Schwieters Chevrolet of Cold Springs

The Chevrolet dealership used lead and click-to-Messenger ads to encourage customers to reach out to a sales representative and name their price auction-style, successfully boosting leads by 23 per cent.

  • 75 per cent of conversations generated from the click-to-Messenger ads led to a sale
  • 23 per cent of all digital leads came from Facebook during the campaigns.

“We liked the simplicity for the customer in submitting a lead. Facebook seemed to improve the digital experience for the customer. People like to feel connected to the places they do business, and Facebook is a great tool to connect and build a relationship with clients,” said Emily Showalter, General Sales Manager, Schwieters Chevrolet of Cold Springs.

Budds’ Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC: Thinking Digital First

• +66 per cent year-on-year increase in profits
• +51 per cent increase in new vehicle sales

The strategy:

  • Customer centric approach to address every stage of the path to purchase
    A testing mindset + automation
    Search + display marketing to address both intent and awareness
    ROI measures: Calls, contact us + directions page visits

The auto marketing and advertising agency, Turnkey Marketing, used Facebook’s offline conversion events to assess the connection between customers’ in-store purchases and Facebook ads they saw beforehand, helping automotive clients increase their return on ad spend.

“Facebook has given us an effective way to retarget customers in the market to buy a new vehicle. In addition, we are able to use data matching to measure success. Digital advertising is no longer a guessing game. We have real sales attribution,” said Susan Anderson, Marketing Director, Moss Auto Group.

Facebook, Google and YouTube are the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal. Are you using them?

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