Today, most dealerships are investing a significant amount of their marketing dollars into digital ad campaigns. This investment is in response to the rising number of users who turn to the internet to gather information before purchasing a car or to search for a nearby dealership.
For example, according to Google, online search is now the most commonly used source in the car-buying process, outpacing word of mouth, television ads, and dealership visits.
While the investment in digital ads is a logical decision for dealerships, too often, the campaign is simply set in motion, yet the knowledge of how effective those campaigns are is muddled.
This is because it used to be difficult to follow the journey of a customer from seeing a digital ad to purchasing a vehicle. When the customer jumped from online to offline, the information was lost, and the conversion went dark.
This has limited the ability to measure the effectiveness of ads.
Fortunately, it is now becoming easier than ever to track which online ads convert to an in-person sale — and that's critical for dealerships to succeed.
Today, we’ll take a look at the five main reasons why measuring ads converted to sold deals is an important step for your dealership to take, as well as dive into the methods you can use to follow your customers throughout their journey.
Using your customer data to track against ad campaigns now allows you to connect the dots between money invested in digital ad spend and sales closed.
In the past, connecting these dots has been challenging for dealerships due to the unique nature of the buying cycle. For most e-commerce sellers, tracking conversions is easy. Someone sees an ad for a new jacket, clicks through, and adds the jacket to the cart. Later, they complete the purchase, and the entire cycle has been tracked online.
For dealerships, tracking the sale is far more complex. The same customer might see an ad for a car, click through, learn more about the car, and later decide to make that purchase. However, from here, the customer jumps from an online channel to an in-person channel and heads to your dealership to purchase a car.
This has led to a major blind spot for dealerships.
What ads are leading to sold vehicles?
Without this information, dealerships have been relying on click-through rates, ad impressions, and other ambiguous numbers to try to gauge the effectiveness of an ad. However, as we all know, just because people click on an ad doesn’t mean they later become a customer.
By tracking customer data against ad campaigns, you can attribute closed sales and booked services to ads you ran.
When you connect these dots, you obtain a wealth of data. While impressions tell you a partial story, attributing offline sales to online ads completes the picture, providing you with the most important information possible — the revenue you earn in contrast to the money you invested.
Another reason it's important to measure ads converted to sold deals and booked services is that by analyzing which campaigns lead to the highest ROI, you can optimize other ads accordingly.
For example, if you see that one ad is outpacing all your other ads in terms of closed sales, you can tweak other ads to incorporate some of the same components of your high-performance ad.
Once you optimize an ad, you can test the changes, tracking the conversion to sales for a particular campaign. This helps you narrow down the specifics of what makes one ad or campaign superior.
Additionally, tracking conversions allows you to experiment. You can conduct A/B testing on your ads and see trends in what is most effective with your audience.
A/B testing might be as simple as swapping out imagery or changing the promotion. The goal is to make small changes that lead to noticeable increases in revenue over time.
While before you relied on limited amounts of data, by adding offline sales into your online strategy, you can create a more holistic view of the effectiveness of your ads while tapping into the potential for innovation.
When you track offline sales against your digital marketing campaigns, you can understand the quality of leads generated by a specific ad campaign.
This allows you to double down where it counts and weed out ineffective spending.
For example, just because one ad led to more conversions doesn’t mean it is the best spend of your dollar. When you track your online campaigns against offline sales, you can see where the highest ROI lies.
With everyone flooding the digital space, it is more important now than ever for your dealership to cut down on wasted ad spend.
An intelligent tracking system will ensure you move your dollars toward what counts. This can have a huge effect on your ability to outperform your competitors.
Additionally, this should feed back into your bidding strategy. As you spend less on ads that don’t lead to offline sales or lead to lower amounts of in-person spending, you can increase your bids throughout a given month on the best areas for growth.
Measuring ads converted to sold deals allows you to take a detailed look at which ads lead to the highest number of conversions. You’ll be able to see what total revenue is attributed to a particular ad campaign.
By comparing campaigns on a total revenue attribution, you will gain better insights into the effectiveness of your strategy.
This is far superior to simply running reports on how many users clicked on an ad or landed on your website. These numbers don’t show you the full story, which can cause you to build a strategy based on irrelevant data.
Conversely, when you make informed decisions based on total revenue attribution, you will see the quality of your ads improve each month.
Perhaps one of the most powerful ways to use the data you glean from attributing offline sales to a digital marketing campaign is that you can create lookalike lists based on your top-converting customers.
A lookalike audience is exactly what it sounds like — an audience segment with similar attributes to the list you upload.
For example, if you ran a Facebook ad for a vehicle and you tracked 100 customers who converted to an in-person sale, you could take that list of 100 people and build a new Facebook audience with similar attributes. Perhaps those who converted were all searching on mobile devices within a specific area within a specific age range.
With this information, you could then run the same ad to this lookalike audience.
This allows you to target the audiences most likely to convert, cutting down on wasteful ad spend. Simultaneously, this allows you to market to audience segments you might previously have never reached. Lookalike audiences are an effective way to capture competitors' audiences.
Technology has come a long way, allowing you to track more data on your customers than ever. While it was previously difficult, if not impossible, to measure ads converted to sold deals when those deals took place offline, this is no longer the case.
Now, with the right strategy, you can cross-reference your sales lists against your digital marketing campaigns to complete the picture of your customer’s journey. This is a powerful tool that will allow you to make smarter decisions, such as:
- How many touchpoints it takes before a customer converts.
- How your customers are interacting with your dealership prior to your team closing a sale.
- What ads are most effective at bringing your customers into your dealership.
- What landing pages are driving the most closed sales.
Tracking your offline sales against your digital marketing strategy ultimately, allows you to increase your reach without increasing your spend.
To learn more about how you can match your online ad spend to your actual revenue, check out our recent webinar, How to Match Your Facebook Ad Spend to Revenue. In this webinar, we cover:
- The tactics used to track offline sales and match them to Facebook ad spend.
- The key strategy that separates great Facebook and Instagram marketers from their peers.
- Details about a unique feature of offline sale conversion tracking.
The result is that you can use data to make smarter decisions.
We invite you to reach out to our team to learn more. At J&L Marketing, we are experts in attributing offline sales to digital marketing strategies. We can help you implement the tools you need to ensure that you are seeing your customer's entire journey. We can also help you assess where your competition is outpacing you — and what you can do to take back the lead. We look forward to helping you accelerate your business through the latest tracking tactics.