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Deciphering the Tracking Code- Connecting Car Shoppers Across Devices

Tracking Automotive Consumers Across Multiple Screens


Dana Fornasar, Senior Product Marketing Manager
by Dana Fornasar, Senior Product Marketing Manager

We've been talking a lot about how mobile advertising behaves (and shops) in the ever changing digital world. From the moment they wake up, they are connected. During breakfast they're reading the news on their tablet, they transition to their phone for the workday commute, at the office it's their laptop, and when 5 o'clock hits, the cycle reverses. For advertisers, this behavior makes it easy to reach consumers - EVERYWHERE they are, regardless of which device they are using at the time. When consumers device hop like this, accurately measuring unique visitors becomes challenging. Every time a consumer switches from their laptop to their desktop they are viewed as a new user. When that same user switches from Internet Explorer to Chrome, they are yet again seen as a new shopper. So those standard web analytics that dealers have grown accustomed to using, no longer provide a clear picture of your shoppers.

This presents a challenge to dealers, one that takes center stage in the new eBook, Automotive Moneyball-The Best Kept Secret to Knocking Your Digital .... But it also offers dealers an opportunity to crack the nut on how to deliver a consistent message to each unique shopper. To determine how overstated "unique visitor" metrics are, Cobalt partnered with a company called Tapad to study advertising reach on a household basis.

What is Tapad?

Tapad unifies the view of a consumer across their devices for targeting and measurement. They have built the Tapad Device Graph ™ – which infers device connections by modeling billions of non-personally identifiable data points (cookies, hardware IDs, OS identifiers, network device identifiers, etc.) to isolate strong behavioral and relationship-based patterns across devices. This technology allows Cobalt to understand their users down to the household and individual levels. Cobalt has integrated with the Tapad Device Graph to bring all of that intelligence into the Cobalt ecosystem. As a result, we are able to get a clearer picture of how our auto shoppers are using multiple devices and browsers during their automotive shopping process.

Finding the True Number of Visitors to Your Site

Initial results of this study show that between multi-browser/device usage and cookie deletion, standard web analytics overstate unique visitors by 2.7 times. One thing

 to note is that our initial research studied the use of multiple laptops/desktops and browser use. The study was not extended to mobile devices. However we will be including mobile into our ongoing research. Our results are in line with similar findings by a Comscore study that determined that there is a 2.5x overstatement of unique user metrics including mobile & tablet. What this means is that the advertising industry’s standard web metrics overestimate advertising reach, and opportunities (or interested shoppers). On the positive side, this also means that we have been underestimating frequency, vehicle engagement rates, repeat visitor metrics, advertising performance and conversion rates. In the coming months, we’ll be releasing even more data from this study that will help dealers better measure the effectiveness of their digital advertising and will begin the process of building those actionable insights into our dealer advertising solution.

"Sophisticated companies like Cobalt are on the cutting edge of today’s best marketing practices,"

said Are Traasdahl, CEO and Founder of Tapad. "When you have a unified approach across screens, you get a significantly more efficient spend and better performance for all campaigns. Of course, relevant, accessible marketing also benefits the ultimate customer. It drives much deeper interest, engagement and brand loyalty. It is the difference between talking at someone and connecting with them." 

In the coming months, we’ll be releasing even more data from this study that will help dealers better measure the effectiveness of their digital advertising and will begin the process of building those actionable insights into our dealer advertising solution.

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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 anytime at dana.fornasar@adp.com.

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Tags: Across, Automotive, Car Shoppers, Connecting, Consumers, Deciphering, Devices, Multiple Screens, Tracking, Tracking Code

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Comment by Alexander Lau on July 14, 2014 at 12:53pm

Absolutely, it's a no-brainer, and the first thing that popped into my head, when first reading this article. That being said Bootstrap, Foundation and Skeleton are your friends!

http://responsive.vermilion.com/compare.php

Comment by Ben Whitaker on July 14, 2014 at 12:48pm

Absolutely there is much more involved but I can't think of a situation where it would be a bad investment to upgrade to responsive.

Comment by Alexander Lau on July 14, 2014 at 12:41pm

Agreed Chris, you bring up a good point, but that's the reason for using a tap, in general.

Ben, we were one of the first providers of Automotive Responsive Web Design (dumping adaptive), but the tracking aspect of this goes far deeper than RWD.

Comment by Chris Cachor on July 14, 2014 at 12:38pm

"Tapad unifies the view of a consumer across their devices for targeting and measurement. They have built the Tapad Device Graph ™ – which infers device connections by modeling billions of non-personally identifiable data points (cookies, hardware IDs, OS identifiers, network device identifiers, etc.) to isolate strong behavioral and relationship-based patterns across devices. This technology allows Cobalt to understand their users down to the household and individual levels."

They'll have a hell of a time connecting the people on their iOS/Android phones with the people that shop for cars at work ;)

Comment by Alexander Lau on July 14, 2014 at 12:20pm

This is a good article. I usually give you crap, for blatant advertising, but this brings truth to light.

Finding the True Number of Visitors to Your Site

Initial results of this study show that between multi-browser/device usage and cookie deletion, standard web analytics overstate unique visitors by 2.7 times. 

Dealerships shouldn't be using Google Analytics.

Tagging / Javascript is insecure, it just happens to have been accepted by many and at their own risk.

Over 30% of Internet users turns off tags and scripts when browsing the Internet. One of the biggest things that GA fails to capture, with tags, you cannot capture every single user that hits the site (meaning, it’s not absolute). 

Don't let bots scrape your inventory. Hey Jim Ziegler! http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/jimziegler = Dealer Defender.

Passive Analytics is the way to go:

Comment by Ben Whitaker on July 14, 2014 at 12:17pm

Very good points Dana! We (Dealer Car Search) started offering Responsive Website design in February/March of this year. I've been monitoring several clients since they upgraded their site to the new platform and have been extremely pleased with the results - primarily in the consumer behavior change to the new website functionality and design.

 

Consumer behavior drastically changed almost immediately. We saw the mobile bounce rate reduce by 50% or more which lead to a significant increase in time spent on site as well as pages per visit on mobile devices.

 

Having the responsive design website creates a fun customer experience - which leads to potential customers staying on the dealer's responsive website instead of clicking the back button to continue shopping other competitors vehicles. It has definitely been one of the best investments available for automotive dealers in a long time.

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