4 Lessons Learned from the 4th Annual Automotive Analytics & Attribution Summit (AAAS)

Industry News, Insights

The 4th Annual Automotive Analytics & Attribution Summit (AAAS) put on by Brian Pasch & PCG Companies is held annually in November. In an industry full of conferences, this event has always been well received. We have been involved with this event since the beginning. We participate due to its smaller attendance of progressive dealers who “get it” and find that you get a higher value at a smaller conference.

This year the event was held at the beautiful Eau Palm Beach Resort in Manalapan, FL. The three-day schedule was full of content-rich sessions rooted in topics like the sales process, digital retailing, marketing, data, and analytics.

Here are four lessons we learned from this year’s AAAS event:

1. Audit your website for what metrics you are tracking

In Brian Pasch’s first workshop, he walked us through why dealers have been tracking the wrong metrics on their websites for the past decade. Pasch explains that many dealers are solely focused on SRP (search results page) and VDP (vehicle details page) views as goals inside Google Analytics.

The problem is that SRPs and VDPs are commonly used as landing pages for marketing. If you run a Facebook Ads campaign, chances are the consumer is being linked to a particular car in your inventory or at the very least a results page of many vehicles in a specific category, like a similar model, vehicle type, or price bracket. Either way, your conversion rate would result in 100% because every site visit would trigger a conversion goal if it lands on an SRP or VDP. This is true whether it’s Facebook Ads, Google Ads, or any other type of digital ad.

Those conversion goals send signals to the ad platform indicating that the traffic sent was high quality, and you want more of those visitors. But because your goals are not set up correctly, you are essentially telling the ad platform that all traffic that came in through your ads was high-quality, whether the user clicked on or engaged with anything.

Every dealer should be tracking engaged SRP and VDP views through Google Analytics Events that fire off when a user clicks through VDP photos, engages with specifications, clicks on a CTA, scrolls past a particular point, or spends a certain amount of time on the landing page.

Takeaway:

What 3-5 key performance indicators are you tracking on your website to make data-driven decisions for your dealership marketing?

2. Analyze data you already have to acquire inventory you already sold that sells faster at higher profits

During another workshop, Jason Harper of RXA walked everyone through using Google Search Trends combined with customer lifetime value metrics and individual dealership characteristics to find the optimal user inventory to acquire.

The data suggests that these used vehicles will sell faster and at a higher profit. Customers who show a higher lifetime value are more likely to service and repurchase from your dealership. Using data from local markets, your CRM, and your service lanes, you can focus your team’s efforts on acquiring the best-performing vehicles.

Using data you already have, these recommended vehicles sold in 19% fewer days on the lot, at a 26% higher profit, and have a 109% higher chance of being serviced back at your dealership.

The best inventory to acquire is the inventory you have already sold to someone in your customer base. Using this data, you can find a customer to bring it to your dealership for a trade-in and send them back out the door with another vehicle. Now you sold a unit AND acquired a new unit to acquire a new customer. It’s a win-win!

Takeaway:

How are you using the data you already have to acquire inventory you already sold? What tools are you using that can do this?

3. Assemble first-party data to identify opportunities to improve marketing, sales efficiency, and profitability

One of the main stage panels included Tom Kerr, President of Affinitiv Advertising; Anthony Giagnacovo, CEO of CallRevu; Fleming Ford, Chief Strategy Officer of Quantum5; Amber Daniel, Director of Product Strategy at Polk; and our very own, Matt Kristo, Director of Analytics Services at Outsell.

The panelists shared new metrics and KPIs to help dealers push their reporting and decision-making tools to the next level. They also discussed metrics considered “fluff” with little to no value despite many top dealers using these metrics monthly for performance reviews.

Matt Kristo suggested that dealers need to get back to simply paying attention to the data and integrating your dealer toolkit when you can. It is challenging and inefficient when your different tools and systems don’t speak to one another or even share data. Tying all the data together can help you deliver the best possible customer experience. Kristo said, “High-value customers don’t become low-value customers; they just leave, and they’ll go somewhere else and defect to somebody that gives them a better experience.”

Tom Kerr echoed the value of first-party data, “Our first-party data is much more than just what our website is. The signals are helping us find more first-party data.”

Takeaway:

How can you retool your dealership moving into 2022 to start paying attention to first-party data and then tie all that data together to improve marketing, sales efficiency, and profitability?

4. Segment your top-value customers to engage more deliberately with those who matter most

Through a recent study Outsell conducted with RXA, the results showed that 30% of your customers account for 80% of the dealership’s total gross profit. For luxury dealers, it’s only 20% of your customers. The study suggested that top-value customers are born, not bred. A loyal customer is a loyal customer and won’t become a low-value customer but instead remain a high-value and loyal customer who may move to another dealership. It is your customer to lose. It is increasingly important to identify these top-value customers and offer them an experience worth sticking around for.

Do you know your top-value customers from your low-value customers?

Gary Marcotte, SVP of Customer Engagement Innovation at Outsell, said, “People ask me ‘Why would you send something to someone who is going to come in anyway?’ and my question [in response] is ‘For the cost, why take the risk?’” Retaining your top-value customers is the most critical thing you can do for your dealership to keep gross profits up not only right now but for the years to come.

Takeaway:

Do you know who your top-value customers are? How are you using the data you already have to identify, segment, and market to your top value, loyal customers before they defect to a competitor?

Conclusion

Throughout this three-day summit, it appeared there was a common theme: dealers need to be using their first-party data more in marketing. Specifically, how can you use your dealership’s first-party data to spend your marketing dollars more efficiently and get higher results? Using a marketing tool powered by artificial intelligence and fueled with your dealership’s first-party data would be an ideal solution.

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