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5 Digital Must-Do’s for 2014, Part I

In the first part of this two part series exploring the five top digital must-do’s for 2014, Dana Fornasar goes right back to basics.



by Dana Fornasar, Product Marketing Manager 

Here we are with another year in our rear view mirror. This is the time of year when we start thinking about all of our resolutions for the new year. Will you make a plan to actually go to the gym? Or maybe you’ll vow to keep in touch with that long lost buddy from high school. We all make resolutions for our personal lives… but what about for our business? This year why not make the resolution to transform your dealership’s performance—make 2014 the new benchmark for all future years. To help you do this, we’ve come up with our list of the 5 Digital Must Do’s for 2014.

  • Must-Do #1: Use Data to Drive Merchandising

    You’re looking at your website analytics all the time. But are you looking at the right metrics? In today’s world of big data, we have the ability to dig deeper than homepage bounce rate or page views. You probably know that engagement with your VINs is one of the most important KPIs. But there are others that predict sales too. In 2014, make the resolution to focus on the right metrics.

    According to our research, combinations of metrics – VIN views, web form leads, H&D lookups, inventory searches and time on VIN are the most predictive of sales. Focusing on shopper patterns, rather than one KPI – will help you make effective marketing and merchandising decisions.

    Which cars have been on the lot the longest? Is there a vehicle that has seen a lot of views, but few serious inquiries?

    These metrics provide insight into the cars that need more of your attention. Maybe the photos don’t do the car justice…or perhaps the price is just too high? Understanding which vehicles your shoppers are viewing helps you understand where the interest lies in your market. If your shoppers are browsing your SUVs more than sedans, you might need to add specials to those sedans to generate more interest. Approaching in-store sales based on VIN views also makes more sense. If there’s a customer on your lot who’s interested in an aging vehicle with low views—make them a deal!! And alternately, if someone makes you a low-ball offer on a VIN with a lot of activity, hold strong on your pricing and wait for the right offer…after all, it’s probably right around the corner. Commit to start using all of that beautiful data at your fingertips instead of gut-checking in 2014.


  • Must-Do #2: Align Vehicle Info To Customer Expectations 

    So now that you’re looking at what’s happening from a VIN perspective, its time to view your vehicle info through your customers’ eyes. All this talk about vehicle detail pages (VDPs) and vehicle search results (VSRs) got us thinking— What do customers really expect to find when they land on (and shop) your inventory pages? So we examined the online browsing behavior of real in-market shoppers and asked a lot of questions about what they wanted when it came to vehicle info. Then we surveyed over 1275 dealers – asking them some of the same questions we asked shoppers.


    What we found was a big gap between what consumers wanted and what dealers thought they wanted.  For example, 100% of shopper participants named color as the feature they look for first when browsing, yet the majority of dealers thought price was the #1 driver.  And the disconnects don’t just stop there… to read all of the details and learn six ways to start optimizing your inventory check out the full study.



    Stay tuned later this week for the rest of Dana’s list of the Five Digital Must-Do’s for 2014.


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    About the Author

    Dana Fornasar is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Cobalt's Digital Advertising solutions. Her first car was a royal blue 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle. Dana’s VW sadly met its demise during a sorority caravan en route to a Pearl Jam concert in Atlanta, where it fell victim to what was later confirmed to be the first and only rear-end collision caused by a flighty sorority girl. Blaring from her blown-out speakers at the time of the collision was ironically Pearl Jam’s newly released song Rearviewmirror. True story.


    She brings 10 years of digital marketing experience to Cobalt. Before joining Cobalt, Dana worked with advertising & marketing teams at Expedia, Microsoft, and Paramount Pictures. Feel free to reach out to Dana at

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Tags: 2014, 5 Digital Must Do, Advertising, Car Dealer, Cobalt, Digital Marketing, Part 1


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