Closing the Offline Auto Gap with Integrated Analytics

The decision to purchase a car often comes after many hours of research, test drives, discussion with friends and family, and a relationship built with a dealer. It does not – so far, at least – take the form of an ecommerce transaction on a website. Without the insights and effectiveness of ecommerce data, the automotive industry stands at a disadvantage. Luckily, there is a solution.


Short of buying a home, buying a car is one of the largest purchases most Americans make. It’s a decision that carries deep meaning for many. Personal transportation makes up 16% of consumer spending and enables employment, education, and access to the many facets of American life.


While not intended to convert purchases directly, an automotive company’s digital presence is designed to facilitate the research process and provide as much relevant information as possible to prospective buyers:


  • “Build and Price” configurator tools allow users to explore the different options available for models, trims, colors, and accessories
  • Payment calculator tools offer a glimpse at various financing options 
  • Comparison tools allow users to compare models against rival brands


However, all of these tools ultimately seek to drive the prospective customer down the funnel toward an interaction with an actual dealer.


What about revenue?


As a senior analyst  focused on the automotive sector, I have helped numerous clients deal with the interesting challenge this creates, particularly when evaluating the efficacy of ad spend or the success of site changes. Optimizing against the right site-side KPI’s is a step forward, but the ultimate goal of any analytics program in the auto industry should be an integration with actual purchase data at the dealer level.


For example, an individual who visits the site from an AdWords placement, interacts with the Build and Price configurator, and submits a request for a quote would be considered a successful “conversion” in the traditional sense. The website has technically performed its role – the prospective customer has been funneled to a dealer for further action. However, for most automakers, this is where the data stops. Whether or not the dealer is able to close the deal is excluded from the system.


Closing the Data Gap


Ultimately, the most successful analytics frameworks will involve a first-party data warehouse that integrates media, web analytics, and dealer-level CRM data together in a single repository. 


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By integrating data across multiple consumer touchpoints, an automaker can start to understand the buyer journey and hopefully, uncover issues and trends to help make business decisions and increase revenue. Site and Ad spend optimization could thus factor in the actual purchase conversion – much like standard Ecommerce sites are currently doing. Fallout analysis could expand to include dealer-level engagements, such as in-person visits and test drives, and further optimize performance accordingly. 


To learn more about Intelligent solver, and how it can help the automotive industry create a closed loop between their marketing and sales functions, you can contact us here.

By Luke Johnson
About the Author:

Luke Johnson is a Senior Analyst, Team Lead at Stratigent.

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