Reduce Marketing Waste in 2021
There is a seemingly endless supply of traffic vendors servicing the automotive industry. More than ever, dealerships are challenged with discerning between inefficient marketing activities and otherwise. One area of inefficient marketing activity is found in marketing waste. In other words, the over-spending of your marketing budgets on VDPs that don’t require additional marketing. This type of waste is usually trackable by the dealership via Google Analytics, but is often overlooked. To address this industry-wide issue, Speed Shift Media presents the following guide on reducing potential marketing waste.
What Is Marketing Waste?
To further define marketing waste, think about the concept of Click Candy. We’ve discussed this topic in our previous blog posts. In summary, Click Candy refers to the units in your inventory that may be highly visually appealing, and/or heavily discounted. These units typically don’t require additional marketing efforts to turn. As such, the dollars spent on marketing them are arguably redundant, therefore marketing waste.
Depending on your current traffic vendor, you may already be receiving feedback/reporting based on the distribution of purchased traffic across your inventory. In this scenario, it would be very easy to see whether your vendor is accumulating marketing waste on your dealership’s behalf. From the perspective of the vendor, however, they may not wish to disclose this information if not prodded to. If you have a great relationship with your current vendor, yet haven’t received this type of reporting, be sure to ask! Bear in mind some vendors may not even track this information.
How To Tell If There’s Accumulated Marketing Waste?
Elaborating on why traffic vendors may be hesitant to disclose information relevant to marketing waste, there’s a few reasons. The biggest reason is that the information can adversely affect the “performance” of the program they may be delivering to you today. If you ask them to remove the highly desirable, premium or low cost vehicles, click-through rates will drop as the campaign will likely require more impressions to drive the same number of clicks on less attractive vehicles. Depending on the billing model you are subject to, this may or may not affect you, but it may affect the vendor.
While looking at the vendor reporting (if applicable) will give you one perspective, it won’t show you what other sources are driving activity to your VDPs. This is why we recommend looking into your own dealership website stats on Google Analytics. Although it’s a time consuming process, combining Google Analytics stats with your vendor reporting can show you what other activity is affecting your top vehicles. Here is how!
Step-By-Step Guide To Identifying Marketing Waste
In Google Analytics:
1) Go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
2) Click the “Advanced” link near the search box to the right side of the tabular details:
3) In the menu that appears, choose Page. Note: you can also type Page into the search box to quickly find this option. Next, choose Matching RegExp from the menu. Your screen should look like the following:
4) In the empty text box, enter the regular expression that identifies VDPs on your website. Depending on who your website provider is, the regular expression that identifies VDPs may vary. With that said, we found that Dealer Inspire driven sites (and similar) uses /inventory/* to identify all VDPs:
5) Now click “Apply“. This will save the settings and update your page view list with the top viewed vehicles first. It would look something like this:
Here, you can see the top viewed vehicles (by page URL). The good thing about Dealer Inspire is they also include the VIN in the page URL so you can quickly match this to the correct vehicle.
Now that you can see the top viewed vehicles on your dealership website, let’s dig further into these stats. Next, you would want to see the source which drove such traffic to the website.
To see this breakdown by Source, and identify which of your sources are driving traffic to these VINs, click the Secondary Dimension button and type “Source”. This will show you the Source and Source/Medium options. Choose Source/Medium:
Here, your page content is filtered by VDPs and shows all sources. You can see which sources are driving VDPs to your top vehicles, and how many page views they are driving to each car. Note: these are sorted by Page Views, not by VIN, so you will get a variety of vehicles mixed together.
You can click on any page link to see the details for that one vehicle You might have to re-select the Source / Medium secondary dimension again to view the breakdown. Once you do this, you can clearly see which sources are allocating traffic to this VIN and whether you need to make changes. For example, I clicked the first vehicle from the example above. Now I’m looking at only this one VIN:
In the example above, I can see the Facebook vendor has driven 120 page views, versus Google CPC’s 53 page views. I can also see 20 page views from direct sources (ie. people who saved the link to that VDP), and 18 page views from organic SEO.
In this case, the Facebook Vendor drove most of their activity to only about 10 VINs, so it would be reasonable to expect this to be better distributed.
Armed with this information via Google Analytics, you should now be able to ask some prepared questions to your vendor. This allows you to see what is happening in your overall marketing campaign. While this is potentially tedious and time consuming, the process could assist you in reducing marketing waste.
How can Speed Shift Media help?
As veterans in the automotive marketing space, we at Speed Shift Media have numerous solutions for our clients. From consulting calls, to full service VIN-level advertising campaigns, we help thousands of dealerships every year. As we believe in our skill sets and maintain an exemplary track record in the industry, we offer services with no contracts, retainers, or startup fees, to the dealerships that qualify. Click on Get Started to learn how Speed Shift Media can help your dealership today!
Check out the highlights to our webinar on understanding your VDP driving media sources. If this information is relevant to you, please subscribe to our email list!