Eliminating Digital Marketing Waste Part 1: Measuring Effectiveness

Eliminating Digital Marketing Waste Part 1: Measuring Effectiveness

“What’s the ROI on our digital marketing?” Many dealership Marketing Managers hate it when their GMs ask this question. Not only because it directly calls into question the effectiveness of the marketing spend, but it’s typically never an easy question to answer.   

With marketing dollars having a direct impact on your bottom line, the effectiveness of your marketing spend is tied directly to the amount of sales you should expect. When spent effectively, your digital marketing budget will increase web traffic and more importantly — drive more sales. On the other hand, ineffective marketing spend essentially means your dealership is effectively stuck in neutral.

By now, you should already know how to make effective mobile ads and how to attract more buyers with a multi-device strategy. Now you need to know how much bang for the buck these campaigns actually deliver and answer the question:

How do I ensure I properly spend my marketing budget and eliminate digital marketing waste?”

Like most areas of your business, it comes down to diligence and regular campaign performance evaluation. Try looking at some of these segments:

Audience Targeting

Advances in tracking and targeting functionalities in recent years have made digital advertising more effective than ever before, at least for those who are leveraging them strategically. Simply casting a wide net is no longer enough. It’s up to the advertiser to set stringent targeting parameters to ensure messaging is served to the ideal audience at the right time. Today’s advanced advertising platforms go far beyond just contextual and geotargeting. Advertisers can tap into behavioral data to target based upon purchase intent. That’s right, through internet usage data, we can determine a user’s vehicle preference as precisely as the VIN and much more. This is a great place to start identifying wasted spend. Leverage analytics to identify demographics and behaviors that are driving qualified leads, as well as those that are not. 

Ineffective Channels 

When was the last time you took a cold hard look at your ad placements? Which are working? Which aren’t? Which ones are driving qualified traffic or views through activity? All too often advertisers select placements or channels and never take the time to analyze performance individually. Don’t just look at the cost per click (CPC) or the click-through rate (CTR), look for the significant actions happening after the click, as well as the number of conversions and determine a Cost per Acquisition (CPA) and ultimately graduate to a Cost per Sale (CPS).  You can do all of this by properly setting up your Goals in Google Analytics, or by working with a partner who can track site activity for you. Do a deep dive monthly or at least quarterly. Dig in and determine which of your channels are driving results and which are not. This is a great way to uncover inefficient marketing spend. 


Another common advertising mistake is the misallocation of impressions, or targeting the same consumers and channels too often. If you’re remarketing/retargeting, don’t take it too far. Limit the number of times a day your campaign is set to target your audience. Remember, there is a fine line between appealing to consumers and inundating them. As well, be sure that your messaging is relevant and of interest to them. When retargeting with inventory, don’t follow the auto intender around with the same car all day every day. Your inventory changes so show them something new that is similar to what they looked at on your site. Are you running multiple digital marketing campaigns across different platforms? Make sure, for example, you’re not targeting the same websites via multiple different sources or providers; get your campaigns aligned. Without careful planning you can exhaust your budget and disenfranchise your target customer simultaneously. 

Attribution Methods

Finally, don’t forget about attribution. Before you nix a marketing channel or eliminate an audience segment, take a closer look at attribution. If you’re focused solely on first or last click, you’re only looking at a piece of the puzzle. You may very well find that a given placement does not convert on the first click but contributes to conversions via other channels shortly thereafter. Leverage attribution models to analyze each of your marketing channels. This is a smart way to determine if a placement is in fact worth the investment and emphatically rule out those that are not viable. One great way to do this is to look at new and returning traffic in your Google Analytics, you may be surprised to see what campaign is creating the most return traffic.

In taking the time to explore each of these areas, you can eliminate thousands of dollars in wasted advertising spend, spend that can be allocated to more lucrative channels. This is the first in a two-part series on eliminating digital marketing waste. Stay tuned to learn how to put all this wasted spend to use for optimal results.