Why the hell is attribution so important for car dealers?

After a few discussions with some of you, I’ve decided to review the attribution concept in the automotive industry. The attribution model is nothing new, but it’s in constant evolution.

Go ahead and Google “attribution” and look for a clear definition online.

I have.

But it fails to be simple every time. Let alone be relevant to the auto industry.

So I here it goes. 

Attribution is the measurable action from your online or offline efforts that led to a specific event. In your car dealership’s case, a sale, appointment or lead. 

Per example, we might attribute a sold vehicle to a Google Ads campaign you’re doing because your buyer clicked on your ad, filled out a form on your website and came in after your salesperson/BDC contacted him/her.

Understanding attribution will help you make crucial decisions when it comes to allocating your marketing dollars.

Some marketing efforts might help you generate tons of visitors on your website but none of them might convert to contactable prospects. 

So what’s the point?

That being said, please be careful of the vanity metric that is traffic.

Traffic does not correlate to sales, so you must invest money & time where it yields qualified contacts. 

In a world where you never had so many options to invest your hard earned money into advertising & processes, you must discard low performing tactics and favor efficiency.

Easier said than done. 

Yes and no. If you know where to look it’s really easy. I meet with dealers struggling with sales and it’s like they asked me to spot a red rose in a dandelion field.

Maybe its the perspective, maybe its the expertise. But it works! 

I have no clue how to cut your fixed ops expenses. To each his or her specialty.

But you’re in luck, most effective media are where the attribution is the easier to track.

Quick quiz: In a world where you must identify what ad source gives you the best bang for your buck, would you invest in television, radio or Google Ads.

I know its a stupid question but most of you still do throw thousands at TV & Radio without maximizing your online campaigns and it breaks my heart. 💔

If you’re investing in online campaigns on Google, it is really important that you learn how to identify events that will help you make more sales.

The issue is not all agencies/partners will actually give you the whole picture… Sounds fishy right?

Is it because they don’t want to invest time & resources to create an advanced & transparent reporting tool? Or is it because that would put the spot on them to perform better? I’m not sure. 

But we live in a modern world where a reasonable investment can give a dealership a full understanding of where each dollar goes.

I understand your store doesn’t have this level of expertise in house but any serious Google Ads partner will be able to give you all the data you need. 

It might highlight a great result but also where your flaw is. But that’s good news!

Clean attribution will detail if your investment is worht it or now. Some dealers out there still buy pay per click advertising without being able to isolate what they got for that extra money.

This is crazy.

For most of you this means throwing more than $100,000 at something that brings you “traffic”.

Meanwhile, others are able to pull the cost per lead, cost per appointment and cost per sale of ALL their marketing efforts.

It’s a different game when it comes to making smart decisions. 

This why attribution is powerful and this is why you need to understand and master this concept. 

Sure, someone that clicked on your ad might have come to your store anyways. But then, who made the sale? The campaign, the BDC agent, the glass door of your beautiful dealership or the pen your salesperson had in their jacket that day.

I like to dumb it down because it’s a recipe, and all ingredients are needed to maximize the chance of success.