In automotive sales and service, human-to-human interactions play a crucial role in the buying journey. People are near as protective about their cars as they are their children, so they need to know that they can trust the dealership or service center that they’re working with. Establishing a trusting relationship usually starts with a phone call after a customer finds your business online. But do you know how your digital campaigns drive customers to call? A lot of automotive marketers don’t, and it’s an attribution blind spot that is costing you customers and wasting marketing dollars.
Automotive marketers frequently have difficulties getting attribution for phone leads for a number of reasons. Many marketers just don’t know the value of connecting online journey data to the outcomes of the calls they are driving. Others still use the basic call attribution tools that just count any call from any campaign source as a conversion—which isn’t attribution, it’s just counting calls.
Automotive marketers face an additional attribution hurdle because they are often multi-location businesses. When calls are being driven to many different physical locations from online campaigns, it can seem even more difficult to get attribution than it would be if calls were going to a central call center.
The disconnect between the online journey and phone calls and the resulting lack of attribution causes many issues for automotive marketers from poor media optimization, wasted spend on ineffective ads, and even poor customer experience.
It’s actually pretty simple for automotive marketers to get attribution for phone leads by using automotive call tracking solutions like Invoca. Here are the top five reasons why you need attribution and how call tracking helps you get it.
Creating an efficient and effective marketing campaign requires full visibility into your customers’ buying journey. You need to know how they discovered you, how they interacted with you, and ultimately, how and through what channel they became a customer. If you’re missing what’s happening in your conversations with your customers, you don’t have a full-funnel attribution and you can’t fully understand your customers and optimize your media spend.
By using an automotive call tracking solution like Invoca, you can get full visibility of the buying journey from click, to call, to appointment. You can capture data like search keywords, click IDs, campaigns, and more to tie revenue generated by campaign-driven phone leads. You can finally see what’s actually driving leads, what’s driving low-value calls, and how you can improve the entire buying journey.
In marketing, everything starts and ends with measurement and you can’t get three words out without someone asking you for some metrics. For example, let’s take a look at how you’re measuring your CPA today. This is simplified a bit, but you got your online conversions, divide that by your ad spend, and you have your CPA. Wipe your hands on your pants and call it a day. In our CPA Benchmark report we found that, on average, marketers overestimate their CPA by 46%. Here’s why.
As you can see in the example below, in the “before” scenario when measuring online conversions only, the marketer understands their CPA to be $200 based on 50 total conversions. When they incorporate accurate attribution for call conversions — the “after” scenario — they get visibility into the additional 50 conversions that happened by phone, increasing their total conversions to 100 and revealing a true CPA of $100.
Through Invoca's Google Ads integration, marketers can create that sweet, sweet closed-loop attribution across all conversion types, tying them directly back to their PPC campaigns on a 1:1 consumer level. With accurate measurement, dealerships and automotive service businesses can finally achieve visibility into the actual business impact of their campaigns and understand their true CPA.
One of the great examples of using call tracking to get attribution for phone leads is using call outcome data to optimize and automate keyword bidding with Google Smart Bidding. You can set up Smart Bidding to optimize to your goal, whether that’s clicks, CPA, or conversions. This helps you save money, or at least get better returns because Google is allocating your budget to the keywords that actually drive results that matter to you.
AutoNation uses call tracking data to inform Google Smart Bidding. AutoNation passes Invoca’s call attribution data into Google Ads, allowing it to optimize bids and CPCs based on both online and phone call conversions, ensuring they’re getting the most out of their campaign budgets.
“Our biggest problem was that our phone calls were going into a data black hole,” said Anand Rao, SVP of digital business at AutoNation. “We couldn’t tie a sale back to the campaign that drove it and that made it difficult for us to optimize our media spend. Invoca has given us complete visibility into the campaigns driving each call as well as what happens on those calls. It’s enabled us to get a higher return on our ad dollars and prove our full ROI.”
Getting attribution for your phone leads can also help you significantly decrease ad spend that’s wasted on customers who have already made an appointment.
Ad suppression is a key tool in the automotive marketer's kit to eliminate wasted ad spend by ensuring that they aren't serving (and paying for) ads shown to existing or recently-acquired customers. However, this can become a challenge if those conversions are happening on the phone.
By tracking all call conversions with Invoca and pushing this information into ad platforms like Google Marketing Platform, Skai, or Marin Software, marketers can automatically suppress ads to those who have already converted over the phone. This not only reduces wasted ad spend, it prevents you from annoying your new customers with irrelevant ads.
Once customers have set an appointment, you can also retarget them with ads for financing offers, special models, and more to keep your dealership top of mind while they complete their purchase.
Check out these additional resources to learn more about how leading automotive dealerships, OEMs, and service and repair franchises use Invoca conversation intelligence to drive more revenue and improve the customer experience.