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Are Dealers Really Ready for Multi-Touch Attribution?

By Steve White 

First, let me be clear in saying that Multi-Touch Sales Attribution is still the Holy Grail of marketing measurement for auto dealers. But for many dealers, no matter how attractive the benefits of Multi-Touch Attribution might be, using it might be like using a nail gun to hang a picture. Overkill. 


If you think about it on a spectrum, you’ve got last-click or first click on one end as the most basic type of attribution, and data-driven multi-touch attribution that fractionalizes credit across all of the touchpoints contributing to a sale on the other. While most dealer’s analytics efforts fall at the beginning of the spectrum with last and first-click attribution, they are beginning to recognize the value of multi-touch attribution at the other end.

Based on my conversations with hundreds of dealers, I’d say that only about 20% of them have the budget, resources, and sophistication to really make good use of Multi-Touch Sales Attribution. The remaining 80% just want someone to tell them what channels are contributing to sales, especially in an environment where their leads are declining. Dealers, for the most part, don’t care about how credit is fractionalized across channels. Because, at the end of the day, they don’t have the resources or time to use that information. They just want to know “Is Vendor X contributing to our sales?” 


So, as an industry, maybe we should stop (at least for now) pushing the idea that every dealer should adopt what we feel is the Holy Grail (data-driven Multi-Touch Sales Attribution), and instead give them something that’s useable in the here and now.
A tool that simply tells dealers if a vendor has contributed to a sale.


I’m calling this new attribution model “Any Click.”
It allows dealers to see 
all of the clicks and ad exposures that influenced a sale without the complexity of fractionalizing credit across influencing touchpoints - even if that customer never submitted a lead (something we call “Anonymous Attribution”). The fractionalization of credit is typically theoretical anyway, unless a data-driven approach is used. And believe me - if you want to see someone’s eyes glaze over - start discussing the intricacies behind the creation and use of data-driven attribution models. 


It’s my belief that once dealers start seeing which vendors are contributing to sales, they will then want to know “how much.” And that will lead them straight to Multi-Touch Sales Attribution - at a time that’s right for them! 


I’d really like to hear what you think! Email me with your thoughts at

Views: 57

Tags: advertising, analytics, attriution, automotive, budget, clarivoy, dealership, marketing, measurement, metrics, More…multi-touch, profit, report, roi, sales, tracking


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