For many dealers, no matter how attractive the benefits of Multi-Touch Attribution might be, using it might be like using a nail gun to hang a picture. Overkill.
First, let me be clear in saying that Multi-Touch Sales Attribution is still the Holy Grail of marketing measurement for auto dealers. But for many dealers, no matter how attractive the benefits of Multi-Touch Attribution might be, using it might be like using a nail gun to hang a picture. Overkill.
If you think about it on a spectrum, you’ve got last-click or first click on one end as the most basic type of attribution, and data-driven multi-touch attribution that fractionalizes credit across all of the touchpoints contributing to a sale on the other. While most dealer’s analytics efforts fall at the beginning of the spectrum with last and first-click attribution, they are beginning to recognize the value of multi-touch attribution at the other end.
Based on my conversations with hundreds of dealers, I’d say that only about 20% of them have the budget, resources, and sophistication to really make good use of Multi-Touch Sales Attribution. The remaining 80% just want someone to tell them what channels are contributing to sales, especially in an environment where their leads are declining. Dealers, for the most part, don’t care about how credit is fractionalized across channels. Because, at the end of the day, they don’t have the resources or time to use that information. They just want to know “Is Vendor X contributing to our sales?”
So, as an industry, maybe we should stop (at least for now) pushing the idea that every dealer should adopt what we feel is the Holy Grail (data-driven Multi-Touch Sales Attribution), and instead give them something that’s useable in the here and now. A tool that simply tells dealers if a vendor has contributed to a sale.
I’m calling this new attribution model “Any Click.” It allows dealers to see all of the clicks and ad exposures that influenced a sale without the complexity of fractionalizing credit across influencing touchpoints - even if that customer never submitted a lead (something we call “Anonymous Attribution”). The fractionalization of credit is typically theoretical anyway, unless a data-driven approach is used. And believe me - if you want to see someone’s eyes glaze over - start discussing the intricacies behind the creation and use of data-driven attribution models.
It’s my belief that once dealers start seeing which vendors are contributing to sales, they will then want to know “how much.” And that will lead them straight to Multi-Touch Sales Attribution - at a time that’s right for them!
By Steve White and David Metter, President of AutoHook
One of the hottest topics for dealers today is attribution – and it’s been a long time coming! Technology now exists which finally allows dealers to get a true picture of how their marketing influences consumers along their car buying journey. For eons dealers have been forced to rely on last-click attribution, simply because that’s all they had.
It is very easy to see a lead pop into the CRM and trace it to a sale. However, dealers doing this are missing the other marketing efforts which contributed to that conversion. And that data is important to know.
While AutoHook and Clarivoy solve attribution problems from two different perspectives, we are in complete agreement that the dealer’s perspective is what matters most. Dealers are not, nor should they ever be expected to be data analysts or mathematicians. It should never be a dealer’s responsibility to scrutinize the 20 different vendor reports received in a typical month and find trends that point to sales and marketing success or failure. Nor should it be the dealer’s job to assign fractionalized credit to the multiple touchpoints that led to a sale.
Too often, dealerships are debilitated by the excessive amount of vendor reports that flood their inbox every month. What good is all that data if you can’t understand it and basically need an instruction manual to sift through and try to pinpoint exactly what’s working and what’s not?
If you use outdated attribution models, you’re essentially making marketing decisions based on 10% of what is happening. Did you know that only 10% of consumers self-identify? Therefore, decisions are made without knowing what most consumers are doing, and/or which marketing efforts are influencing them. That is a HUGE marketing blind spot that leads to tens of thousands of dollars wasted on sources that don’t convert.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing if you could simply get a clear view of your sales and defection trends, all in one place? Or quickly identify deficiencies in both your internal and external processes so that you can more efficiently assign responsibilities to your staff? And, what if you could get more ROI out of your third-party lead or traffic drivers?
Most dealers have been lacking a complete, 360° view of their sales operations, along with a view of any sales lost to their biggest competitors. How can you improve the way you sell cars if you are unaware of the leads in your CRM that have already purchased elsewhere? There is a reason for every lost sale, and that reason is exactly what you should use to act and reclaim lost opportunities.
Without accurate data, you cannot make marketing decisions which can be relied upon. You need data you can trust to provide the correct insights into the buying habits of your consumers and the performance of your marketing partners.
Technology has brought us more current attribution models which show the big picture of your marketing performance. It can enlighten you and help make decisions that improve performance and stimulate sales without necessarily having to increase budgets. You can define the sources responsible for your greatest opportunities and losses, down to an individual salesperson, lead traffic source, competing brand or dealer, and more.
Make the decision to take control of your marketing by leveraging technology. Stop trying to make sense of 20 different vendor reports with 20 different attribution models. By adopting more current attribution models, you’ll be able to spend less time guessing and more time knowing. And that’s most of the battle.