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Cars.com vs. AutoTrader.com - Do We Really Need Both? What do YOU think? We`d like to know.

To the ADM Community Members,

 

I would like to get your thoughts in regards to this....... Cars.com vs. AutoTrader.com - Do We Really Need Both??

 

Currently we are reviewing various 3rd Party sources and measuring the ROI with each of these vendors as we are exploring the possiblity of eliminating one or two and allocating these funds towards another vendor of choice. In other words, "Shaving the Fat" or nixing the weakest link.

 

Here`s the scenario; We generally have between 100 to 130 used vehicles in stock at any given time.

 

Now with AutoTrader we are a "Featured" dealer....... and see very little return on this investment as we only receive minimal(single digit) amount of leads and calls each month at the current plateau that we are on. On a very interesting note, when searching on AutoTrader for a particular vehicle, you are only searching on that one plateau. If you select "Premium Listings" and select "Low to High" pricing you only see those vehicles at the Premium Level regadless of price.

 

 

With Cars.com we see as much as 30 times the amount of calls/leads per month in their monthly reports. So why wouldn`t we as a dealer the "Cut the Fat" and beef up our Digital Marketing with Cars.com???

 

 

Why would we want to spend two & a half times more with AutoTrader to become a Premium Listing Dealer??? Will we actually sell that many more vehicles to justify this........ I highly doubt it. 

 

Also don`t you think many consumers are actually just cross-searching both of these used vehicles search portals??? We are probably getting the same consumer on both sites!

 

I realize every area in the country will produce different results that use these two vendors but I would like to know your opinion in regards to Cars.com vs. AutoTrader.com  - Do We Really Need Both?

  

Thank you all in advance for your opinion.

Ken Beam

Marketing Director

Douglas Auto Group

 

 

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Comment by Ken Beam on April 8, 2013 at 6:25pm

Well today I wrote a letter or termination to AutoTrader.com and beefed up Cars.com! I`ll keep you all posted how this turns out for the next six months or so. 

Comment by Ken Beam on April 8, 2013 at 6:23pm

Hey Manny! Yep...... all done with hunting. Yes! I love to fish & so does Sharon!

Comment by Ken Beam on March 30, 2013 at 3:04pm

Hey Manny - You never got back to me in regards to "you can build one or two sites yourself with lead converters and have a better converging rate and save your dealer a lot of money! I will take a peak at your market and post a (how to) for you"

I`d like to hear your thoughts on this.....

Thanks!

Ken-

Comment by Ken Beam on March 22, 2013 at 5:14pm

@ Ken - "There's not an overly simple solution because of the amount of variables involved" - Absolutely agree. Well put. 


Influencer
Comment by Kenneth Boogren on March 22, 2013 at 3:59pm

The guess work can be virtually eliminated by detailed analysis. With a dashboard metric you can segregate a boatload of data...however this might be overkill for most dealerships.  I am a little extreme in terms of analytics but - "if you can't measure it, then you can't manage it".  (Wharton, MBA)

There's not an overly simple solution because of the amount of variables involved...maybe if you exclusivly use CDC (or vice versa) for three months - stop. Switch to AT for 3 months - stop. Use no service for 3 months - stop. Then evaluate the results against 3 months when you had both services.  Include a 3% +/_  margin of error and be happy with it :)   


Influencer
Comment by George Nenni on March 21, 2013 at 7:02am

This has been an interesting thread, especially the debate on VDP. In Jim Collins' book "Good to Great" he advised obsessing on 1 or 2 metrics. In digital marketing, attribution is very hard to nail down. I agree VDP is that GTG metric. If the consumer picks up 1 item off the shelf, from the many choices, I'll assume they have interest, and my advertising or merchandising got them to pick it up.  The more times they pick up my items for consideration, the more likely I'll sell it (IMHO).

Comment by Andrew Biondo on March 20, 2013 at 8:31pm
Guys and Gals, it has been one of the elephants in the room. Why was it back when the paper was relevant was it the post or chronicle? Was it this TV station or that one, same goes for radio of the 25 different ones on FM or do I try AM? Why is it we question one the main drivers to our websites? It is UNBELIEVABLE that we think something is so expensive when we are spending Thousands on TV and RADIO and newspaper?

Ok, now to the question. What is your cost per vehicle sold in advertising? How do you calculate it? What is an acceptable ROI per vehicle to you. Dealer A could spend an average of 270 per car, and Dealer B spend 370 why? Who is making more money? We will never know because the both of them knows what is working for each of them. Whether you are a Franchise or independent dealer it does not matter. Find what works for your dealership and work it to its potential.
Comment by Ken Beam on March 20, 2013 at 6:56am

Brian - There are so many metrics and processes to take into account when a person purchases a vehicles at your dealership. To put so much emphasis into cost per VDP in evaluating your marketing initiatives for that purchase is dangerous. We have different processes in house and types of vehicles for different types of customers that we target market. Your type of inventory and type of customer vary so greatly that to evaluate the success of our marketing strategies based on VDPs again is over simplifying it. 

Brian we drive traffic from so many other channels other than Cars.com, AutoTrader & our own websites. How do we know this? They initially get attributed to the "Black Hole" you speak of. On or post delivery either the sales person or customer has alerted us many times in the past that they were lead to purchase a car from us through these other channels. Without Douglas being alerted by the sales person or customer as to what channel the customer came from, these "Black Hole" customers would be attributed to Cars.com or Autotrader under your VDP premise.   

 

Comment by Brian Pasch on March 20, 2013 at 4:48am

Conversion = $$$$$$ is a nice concept as long as you can properly attribute the influences that created the conversion.  Conversion today is a multi-channel influence that spans 60-90 days and  no longer can simply be attributed to direct referrals and lead forms based on the last referring source. Without enterprise class analytics that cover a majority of the sites that consumers use to refine their choices, we will all guess at the best mix that produces the greatest sales at the lowest cost.  

We are moving to a day when large companies like Dataium, Autotrader, Cobalt, and Dealer.com will start to close that gap in the black hole of consumer influence, so until then we move slower closer to answers that pertain to direct influence and related influences.

Comment by Ken Beam on March 19, 2013 at 5:57pm

Hey Matt - I appreciate your insight. Makes a lot of sense. Conversion = $$$$$ and at the end of the day that is truly the metric that matters. 

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