The ability to “read digital body language” helps determine which Internet users are the most serious about buying a vehicle, says Andy MacLeay, Dealer.com’s director-digital marketing.
He offers examples. If someone online only fills out a trade-in form, they may be interested in that vehicle’s value. It doesn’t mean they won’t ultimately buy a vehicle, but they’re not necessarily a hot prospect.
Conversely, “if someone gives credit information and fills out a credit application, that’s someone who’s probably going to buy,” says MacLeay whose company provides dealership marketing and website services.
The way people shop for cars today is far different from the days of driving from dealership to dealership to get information.
Gone is the traditional model in which a buyer straightforwardly enters the top of a sales funnel and exits the bottom.
Marketers have adjusted strategies to “a non-linear process and a multi-channel world,” MacLeay says. “The sales funnel does not represent how people shop today.”
Another change affecting modern marketers involves attribution, or who gets the credit – or at least the most credit – for converting a shopper into a buyer. Determining that isn’t always easy, as online users encounter so many marketing messages on their shopping journey.
“Google for a long time was an adherent to last-click attribution,” MacLeay. “But that’s just not the case anymore. People are influenced at different places and different times. Some messages are more effective at different places and times.”
Data-driven analytics helps determine marketing performance. “It helps us look beyond the ‘last-click’ attribution method,” MacLeay says. “Data is fueling new breakthroughs in targeting and attribution.”
For example, did a paid-for search-engine listing result in a dealership website visit, an important step in the shopping process.
Digital traffic now is scored based on the “quality of behavior and what (online shoppers) are doing,” says Mike Rother, Dealer.com’s general manager.