Professional Community for Automotive Marketers, Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
I received a call from a dealer this week informing me that he was unhappy with the conversion rate of their website. Specifically, he was looking at the unique visitor traffic per month to the number of leads that were generated by the website.
It seems that another dealer claims to have twice the conversion rate of his website platform! If it were true, you could imagine why this dealer was upset.
Comparing website conversion metrics or vendor reports is a slippery slope. For example, some website platforms considers a "conversion" completed when a consumer visits the "hours and directions" page on the dealership website.
Other website platforms count ANY completed website form as a conversion, which includes forms for employment. In both of these examples, these types of "conversions" pale in comparison to a conversion that results in a phone call to the dealership inquiring about an in-stock vehicle.
So, it is time to recognize that not all conversions are created equal!
The topic of conversion is also a delicate conversation because according to AutoTrader sourcing studies, 60-70% of consumers who purchase a car never call the dealership or submit a lead form. If the majority of car buyers do not submit their information or call the dealership, what other metrics can dealers look at to compare the effectiveness of different website platforms?
Right now, it is practically impossible to compare two different dealerships on two different website platforms. There are too many variables that impact car sales, and I think our focus on just calls and lead forms is not in the best interests of the dealer.
Trackable leads, defined as chats, lead forms, and phone calls, can be influenced by the the marketing budget, local demographics, brand awareness, and the customer service record of the dealership. Comparing two dealers with different marketing budgets, time in market, and marketing strategy is like comparing apples and oranges.
I would be more interested in the number of VDP views per visitor by traffic source than how many times the hours and directions page was visited. How many of the visits to hours and directions page are for service? On the other hand, a consumer who is interested in servicing their vehicle does not come to the dealership website to look at Vehicle Detail Pages (VDP).
Our industry needs to come together and decide if they want to create uniform conversion metrics that everyone talks about. This may be an impossible task because everyone seems to bend the numbers to suit their own marketing agenda. However, dealers can demand better uniformity and industry standards for metrics that are closely related to car sales.
If you had to get a movement started to create a dealership website standard set of metrics, what would you want to see included in the reporting? What would you NOT consider a conversion? Share your thoughts in the comments area below. Let's see what ADM members can do to lead our industry to better reporting standards.
I look forward to seeing ADM members in Orlando at DMSC! http://www.DigitalMarketingStrategies.org
Brian Pasch, CEO