Despite changing consumer behavior patterns, many if not most dealers continue to evaluate third parties only on “hard lead” measures and discount others forms of influenced purchase behavior. Consumers want to be in control of their experience and they are reluctant to provide their contact information because they fear the repercussions of unwanted marketing and solicitation.
These influential experiences appear anonymous to the dealer looking through the lens of a traditional hard lead, and even when a flow of hard leads is provided, many dealers struggle to ascertain their value when they can’t attribute them to immediate sales, even when the leads are proven to have made a purchase elsewhere.
As competition in the automotive space increases and sales plateau, dealers will need a continually better way to understand the complexities of consumer shopping behavior and refined data to help cut through the clutter and focus on their marketing spend,
A Strategy, Goal, and Framework
After months of research and analysis, Cars.com has launched an attribution strategy that begins to resolve the conflict between how consumers shop and how advertisers measure and differentiate valuable data. While slow to adopt, the general consensus across the industry does acknowledge that the traditional way of measuring performance does need to change.
The goal is to provide automotive advertisers – OEMs and Dealers – with a better understanding and appreciation of the next generation of value measures that better reflects the connections with Cars.com Consumers, using a framework to demonstrate value and influence called Influence Drivers. The frame will continue to evolve and grow with the consumer and consists of Digital Drivers, Physical Traffic, and Revenue Signals.