Four Challenges In Using Attribution

April 5th, 2023

Is the automotive industry complex? Absolutely.
Regardless of which department you’re exploring – service, parts, collision repairs, or sales – more than two-thirds of all leads come from online while virtually 100% of sales happen in person. But aside from sales, what dealer principals and general managers are most interested in is where their customers are coming from

Which channels are drawing the most traffic and generating the most revenue? What campaigns have proven most successful in converting shoppers into buyers? While attribution can help answer these questions and others, doing it at the dealer level can pose challenges that can render the results less effective than they could be, or they could be altogether misinterpreted.

Conversions on unavailable vehicles

Imagine browsing Apple’s website and adding the latest AirPods Pros to your cart, then checking out. Then the phone rings and someone on the other end tells you, “Sorry, these ones are sold already, but I have a set of AirPods Maxes that would be perfect for you!” It’s a ridiculous comparison, but only because it’s so much smaller a scale.

When your online inventory doesn’t accurately reflect what’s on your lot, these types of conversations happen between your salespeople and online inquiries. Not only are customers turned off by what they see as a bait-and-switch (whether intentional or not), but it skews your campaign results. 

The fix? Keep your VDPs up to date. Remove sold vehicles as soon as they’re off the lot. And get good leads by posting new arrivals as quickly as possible.

Using vehicle sales as the only metric

Sales is the most obvious metric to use for attribution, since it’s revenue-generating results that tend to matter most. However, it’s far from the only metric. When you narrow the scope, it limits your visibility into the customer journey. 

This means you may not be able to identify which channels and campaigns are actually driving conversions, and which ones are just driving general brand awareness. As a result, it can be tough to make well-informed decisions about marketing strategy, since you lack sufficient data about what touchpoints are truly making an impact on their bottom line. 

The solution? Find other KPIs that correlate with attribution data. All those inquiries that didn’t convert to car sales could’ve been related to a service or parts request, or a walk-in that didn’t mention their online journey.

Valuing organic and paid leads differently

Organic and paid channels are part of the same marketing funnel in automotive, but attributing more value to one over the other can lead to a skewed perception of how effective each channel is at driving sales or conversions. As a result, your marketing strategy may end up investing more resources into the channel that is being given higher value, even though this may not necessarily be the most effective option.

This one’s easy. Put as much weight into every lead, whether paid or organic. There’s a real live person behind the inquiry either way.

Parsing complex data into actionable touchpoints

It can be difficult – not impossible, but difficult – to acquire all the necessary data from multiple sources, including internal data from marketing, as well as external data from third-party providers. Also, it can be challenging to stitch together seemingly unrelated pieces of customer data into a cohesive picture that accurately reflects the customer journey. Getting the full, complete, and accurate picture from complex data is tricky. 

The trick? There isn’t a trick here. It’s put in the work to make it happen or miss the boat, or implement an attribution tool that does it for you. 

At Attributely, that’s what you get. Connect analytics and sales data with your sales to get a picture of ROI, conversions, and the customer journey so you can make better decisions on how to spend your marketing dollars. Want a demo or more information? Contact us today.

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