String's Automotive Marketing Blog

What is Dealership Intelligence?

Posted by Ken Kolodziej

Aug 14, 2014 9:54:13 PM

Every day at dealerships across the country there are owners, general managers, eCommerce directors, and internet managers who are making decisions about the direction of their advertising and marketing. It isn’t like it was two decades ago when there were limited venues through which a dealership could get their message out to potential customers. Today, there are so many options that even dealerships with huge advertising budgets can only scratch the surface of the possibilities.

This has created opportunities, but it also poses challenges.  It isn’t just the plethora of vendor options in each segment of traditional and digital marketing. There is so much data about customers and the places that they’re going when considering a new vehicle, or even when deciding to service their vehicle, that it’s impractical for dealerships to make decisions based upon intuition alone.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, dealership intelligence, business intelligence

Truly Knowing Your Customer: Experian Demographic Data On Demand

Posted by Ken Kolodziej

Jul 30, 2014 5:05:00 PM

First, A Question

Before I jump into things, let me pose a question to dealers, agencies, and vendors: How well do you know your customers / your dealers’ customers?  Do you know them well enough to put hard cash on those insights with an advertising strategy? How about $1,000? $10,000?  $100,000?

Follow-up question: How about your competitors’ customers, on-brand and off-brand?  Do you know them well enough? Are you in their mind?

OK…I’m approaching creepy territory now, but I think you understand the point I’m trying to make: We can throw our full weight and wallet behind what we think we know about our customers, but, man, it’s important to truly know who we’re marketing to at a fundamental level. And, for that, we need some solid data to back us up.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, dealer positioning system, data for dealers

Perfect Information: Or, Why We Do What We Do

Posted by Ken Kolodziej

Jul 29, 2014 5:02:00 PM

Our Mission

As anyone who’s met me can attest, I am a very product-focused person.  I’m also very passionate about what we at String do and how we can continue to push the envelope with our little slice of the state of affairs in the auto industry. 

Part of our mission at String is to put the power of enterprise-class software, data and insights in the hands of as many dealers and agencies as possible.  This concept is crystallized in our Dealer Positioning System (DPS).  

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Topics: dealer positioning system, data for dealers

Why Data Should be Driving Your Dealership's Advertising Decisions

Posted by Ken Kolodziej

Jul 24, 2014 10:52:19 PM

Over the last two decades, the world of data has been experiencing two distinct evolutions. On one hand, we have seen the methods of collecting and storing data improve dramatically. One simply needs to compare the 10MB thumb drives from a decade ago to the flash drives of today to see that storage has become smaller, cheaper, and faster. A “small” amount of data held on an 8GB flash drive can cost under $10.

For car dealers, the more important of the two data revolutions comes in the form of taking the vast amounts of data available and organizing it in a way that gives insights that point towards action. It’s in this discernment of the data that the real magic happens.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, dealer positioning system, data for dealers

Anatomy of an Effective Mobile Landing Page

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Jul 7, 2014 9:10:00 PM

Dealers know that customers are relying more and more on mobile devices to conduct research, comparison shop, and navigate the auto mile. But if that's the case, why aren't more dealers spending time to optimize their mobile landing pages?  Some of our clients have made a concerted effort to turn their mobile pages into conversion machines. We tracked the "before" and "after" results in our dealership intelligence platform, the Dealer Positioning System, and used the findings to put together some suggestions for the ultimate mobile landing page.  

We've summarized our findings below and provided some examples of each of the recommended elements done right, contrasted with a version that has room for improvement.  

1. Advertise a Specific Offer at the Top of the Page. 

Too often, dealers rely on a generic image or header to generate interest.  Don't just tell buyers about your upcoming Labor Day Sale -- mention financing terms or special incentives that will help them get a full picture of what you're offering.  Doing so can boost click-to-call conversion rates by up to 91%.

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Topics: conversions, automotive marketing, mobile optimization

Credit Where It's Due: Evaluating Cars.com, AutoTrader and Other Vendor Traffic in Google Analytics

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Mar 27, 2014 5:27:00 PM

The good news: every visitor that your vendors send to your website can be tracked through Google Analytics. The bad news: it doesn't happen automatically.

In order to see the true number of visitors from vendors that send your site a substantial amount of mobile traffic – like Cars.com, AutoTrader, and Pandora – all the links pointing to your site need to be tagged to play nice with Google Analytics. 

Why?

As smart as Google is, it can't detect the source of a visitor arriving from a mobile app – and neither can any other analytics tool. 

Instead, Google Analytics will label it as a "(direct)" visit in its reports, which means it won't show up when you look at Cars.com and AutoTrader referral traffic. Pandora traffic is an even bigger issue, since the traffic it sends is almost entirely mobile-focused – typically at or above 90% – and a huge chunk of it will come through the mobile app. So unless it's tagged, you're unable to see the impact of that traffic.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics

How to Calculate Value Per Page

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Jan 6, 2014 10:12:00 AM

Chances are, you’re pretty obsessive about tracking key metrics like inventory turn and gross margin.  And the industry has us well-trained to keep a close eye on VDPs. But there’s another metric all savvy car dealers should be keeping tabs on: Value per page. 

Taking a look at how pages are performing in dollars and cents, rather than views, will help give you a handle on the effectiveness of your various online marketing efforts – and ensure you are investing your marketing dollars wisely.  We've laid out our argument for why value per page should replace VDPs as the most important gauge of your online marketing strategy in a recent eBook, The Marketing Metric You Should Be Obsessing About: Why VDPs are Out and Value Per Page is In.  This post is intended as a follow-up for intrepid e-commerce directors who want more insight into how to actually calculate and implement this metric in their dealerships.  

So what is value per page?

Value per page tells you how much money a web page is producing for you.  Who cares how many people are looking at a page if they don't ever take any follow-up action?  Wouldn't you prefer to see your page view stats with augmented ROI information, like this?

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, conversions, automotive marketing roi

See Your Dealership's Market Share by Zip Code in the String DPS

Posted by Matt Kolodziej

Dec 20, 2013 4:27:33 PM

With its latest release, the String Dealer Positioning System now provides dealers with an easy way to track market share of new and used vehicle sales every month. See right away where your best conquest opportunities lie and what your customers are cross-shopping.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, web stats, conversions, dealer positioning system

Getting GA Goals Right: Google Analytics for VinSolutions Websites

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Nov 20, 2013 5:08:00 PM

Welcome to our third installment of Getting GA Goals Right.  This time out, we'll focus on VinSolutions websites -- we'll have you tracking email lead form submissions and other conversions right in Google Analytics in no time!

Configuring Form Submissions Goals

Depending on the number of forms you have on your site, tracking all of the different submissions separately can be tricky. 

 

Each call to action has its own thank-you page after a shopper completes a form, so you may see URLs with strings like "Key=confirm availability&success=true" or "Key=findmycar&success=true" in the Pages report in Google Analytics:

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Let's start by tracking all form submissions tied to a specific vehicle and then move onto wrangling submissions for trade-ins, Find My Car tools, and other conversions not associated with a vehicle in your inventory.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics

Getting GA Goals Right: Google Analytics for Dealer.com Websites

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Nov 7, 2013 3:51:00 PM

Welcome to our second installment of Getting GA Goals Right.  In this post, we'll show you how to configure goals in Google Analytics to track email lead form submissions and more on your Dealer.com website.

If you're a Dealer.com customer tired of staring at an empty Conversions tab within Google Analytics (GA), you're five minutes away from having beautiful, compelling conversion and ROI data in your GA reports.

Configuring Form Submission Goals

Tracking email lead form conversions is your best bet to start with, and it's relatively easy to set up. To get to the goal configuration menu, click on the Admin tab at the top-right of the Google Analytics navbar and look for the Goals link on the right side of the page:



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Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics, conversions, automotive marketing, Dealer.com