CarMax Returns to Third Party Lead Providers

According to a recent AutoNews article, and much of the automotive industry, CarMax returned to buying leads this month after a 16-month break-up with AutoTrader and


Despite the rising costs and dwindling dealership brand presence, about 40 percent of CarMax’s 141 stores are now back up and running with And, quite possibly though not confirmed, the same can be said for AutoTrader.

Senior automotive analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, Kevin Tynan says..

We’re heading into a robust pre-owned market,” Tynan said. “It makes sense to spread (vehicle) exposure as widely as it can.

I’m not sure we buy that….

CarMax back on the lead bandwagon?

CarMax wasn’t alone in its endeavor to quit third party leads. AutoNation didn’t go cold turkey, but as it builds the foundation that will rely on brand awareness over third party lead providers, the giant has been pulling away from buying leads. Check out what the Refreshers think about third party leads.

The U-Turn discussion is already underway over in the forums and waiting for your insight.

What is missing, if anything, in the research process that is being found on AutoTrader or – and, not on YOUR dealership website?

What are you doing at your store about third party leads? Are you actually measuring their worth, and I mean, truly measuring?

If your store has made the leap tell us about your journey…

The Missing Ingredient To Automotive Enterprise Software Recipes


In recent months there has been a renewed effort by some of the largest automotive software providers to entice dealers to sign enterprise business agreements. These contracts bundle products and services to offer considerable savings to dealers who are willing to standardize on the vendor’s product suite.

The largest software companies serving franchise automotive dealers include CDK Global, Cox Automotive, Dealertrack Technologies, Dominion Dealer Solutions, and Reynolds & Reynolds. Some of these companies offer dealers a complete operating platform that includes the DMS, CRM, Inventory Management, Websites, Desking, F&I, and Fixed Operations software while others have a few key software pieces to offer.

18.2 Reasons to Reconsider Google’s Zero Moment of Truth

For the past three years, Google’s Zero Moment of Truth has been a pillar of the automotive industry. Wedged into nearly ever conference workshop and lauded by trainers, vendors and dealers alike, the groundbreaking study shed light on the multi-faceted journey car shoppers take every day when purchasing vehicles.

Digital Influence 1

With tangible proof of the importance of things like online research, reviews and excellent customer service, we were forced to take a step back and put our consumer hats on, to realize that many of our greatest marketing challenges were right in front us waiting to be solved.

But where ZMOT starts to answer the what, it stops short at the whywhy do car shoppers use the tools they use to make decisions?With so many moving pieces, how do they all fit together in the minds of consumers?

Study: Do Consumers Trust Automotive Websites

LeadiD recently published an infograhic titled, “Do Consumers Trust Automotive Websites”. Naturally, this caught my attention as the words trust and automotive were in the same sentence. Also, I just love infographics – it’s the visual consumption of content that gets me every time.

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 1.39.47 PM

I read through the infographic expecting to learn something new, except I was left being disappointed and confused with the data. It is worth mentioning that I am familiar with LeadiD because they had reached out to us to promote this study on DealerRefresh and we hesitated because we hadn’t seen the study first. Sorry Patrick.

Now onto the Data:

The opening paragraph states: “The automobile industry is in flux. These days, dealers are feeling the crunch. Consumers are more Internet savvy, more mobile, and more finicky than ever before. Sales leads are flowing in from third party websites, and dealers are skeptical.”

Flux, really? Sales leads are flowing in. Are they quality leads, duplicate leads? Dealers are skeptical – damn straight. And, who funded this “study”? Can’t we know if a third party listing company paid to have this study done?

The Top 10 Trustworthy Third Party Auto Sites:

Drive Better Digital Marketing Decisions With Geo-Coding

How far, on average, are your customers willing to travel to purchase their next vehicle from your dealership?


For those of you out there in digital dealership land looking for a way to get absolutely buried in insane data diving that provides easy, actionable, results, boy do I have your fix! Geo-coding.

Geo-coding is the practice of taking location data coordinates and mapping them, usually via CSV file, to a graphical map interface. Or in other words, pulling zip codes out of your CRM sales folder (again in CSV text tab-delimited) and uploading it to one of several Geo-coding web stations.

My personal favorite and easily the most convenient one out there for those running their own SEM campaigns in Adwords is, you guessed it, Google MapsEngine.

Sound Good? Let’s Get Started…

5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own AdWords Account

You’re likely spending a decent chuck of change each month on PPC at your dealership. Wouldn’t it be great to know you’re doing it correctly? Of course, it would be. I’m extremely excited to welcome Michael Pistell as our newest contributor to DealerRefresh as he has awesome information to share with our community. – Kershner

How many features are you NOT taking advantage of with your dealers Paid Search / Adwords Account – that’s COSTING YOU every day?

Stop Sabotage

Over the last few years, I have worked with hundreds of dealers that are sabotaging their own Paid Search. Here are 5 Best Practices you NEED to employ right away to maximize your campaigns…

#5 Your Display ads annoy your potential customers

Limiting the amount of impressions a users sees per day will keep your CTR under control and your targeted audience happy.

Have you ever been browsing the internet and noticed the same graphic ad being shown to you many times per day across multiple sites? That’s a Re-marketing campaign created by a PPC manager who forgot to set frequency capping. While being shown an ad multiple times per day does have an effect, there’s a diminishing return with each impression you serve to the same user. Those diminishing returns will inflate your impression count and cost you money at the end of the day.

Frequency capping should be done on all campaigns running in the Display network, here’s how we fix this:

Yearly study performed by xAd and Telmetrics – The mobile path to purchase continues to evolve with more and more consumers owning and relying on mobile devices. With this increase in mobile adoption, we see people turning to mobile as a necessary part of their everyday lives and purchase decisions. I was personally a bit surprised with some of the high percentages for auto.

A substantial amount of mobile activity is happening at the start of the purchase funnel (even for auto) when consumers are just beginning to evaluate options. Understanding how consumers’ engage with mobile to make a purchase decision is now more important than ever for marketers.

Here are a few main finding from the study…

  • Mobile now accounts for 51% of time spent online for key categories
  • As consumers get more comfortable with mobile, satisfaction has increased
  • Consumers are using mobile to shop and explore even when there is a computer nearby
  • 35% of consumers used mobile exclusively to make a vehicle purchase decision
Auto purchases rely on PC but Mobile plays a large role.

Auto purchases rely on PC but Mobile plays a large role.

AutoTrader’s Social Media Survey is a Total Sham

They say that if you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. In the case of AutoTrader’s recent “study” about car shopping habits, it’s not just a matter of torturing the data. It’s about coercing the study to produce a result that puts into a negative light the biggest threat to their core business model.

Team AutoTrader

In a recent post on Automotive News, the advertising giant determined that a mere “1 percent of car buyers use social sites to shop for a vehicle.” Seriously? You needed to pay for a study to determine that Americans are not complete morons? I’m actually pretty shocked that as many as 1% of people would go to social media sites with the intention of shopping for a car there. It’s more likely that a handful of the 1900 people surveyed either misread the question or filled out a false response in order to be obtuse. Nobody goes to social media sites to shop for a vehicle.