page contents Automotive Thought Leadership: Ralph Paglia: February 2013 My title page contents

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mirror Photo of Ralph Paglia getting ink at Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas

Alleviate Car Dealer Social Block: 8 Content Ideas For Social Marketing From Garrett Payne

Alleviate Social Block: 8 Content Ideas For Social Media From Garrett Payne

Having a successful social media presence means generating content on a consistent basis so that you can engage with your fans and followers. But sometimes, you just can't think of anything to say. Nothing valuable is coming to your mind, and you feel as if you're stuck in a social media content rut.

So what do you do? You use these eight ideas to get the social media content flowing.

1. Ask Questions.
You don't always have to be the one providing valuable information to your followers. Instead, why not ask them a question. Use social media to get insight from your fans and followers. Ask them about their likes and dislikes. You may just find a ton of valuable feedback to help you make smarter business decisions in order to give your following what they want.

2. Highlight your Customers.
Share happy stories about how great your customers are and how they improve your business. For example, if you received a great comment from one of your customers, share the comment with a small line to let others know how this great comment made your company's day. When you show consumers how they help you, and when you take the time to show that you noticed, it goes a long way.

3. Fill in the Blanks.
Having a status update that asks your following to fill in the blanks is also another great way to earn comments and gain valuable feedback from your following. You can ask them something related to your company or just be completely random and fun.

4. Share other Content.
If you came across a brilliant blog or article that your following could easily benefit from, then share it. The content you provide to your following does not always have to revolve around your business or come directly from your business. Plus, if you share other writers' content, they'll start sharing yours.

5. Use Infographics.
Today, it's all about the infographic. Instead of writing a blog post on research you recently did, create an infographic and then share it via your blog and social media sites. Readers love infographics because it provides them with valuable content in an easy-to-read and more engaging format. Plus, infographics get shared more often, so this can help expand your reach.

6. Make a Video.
Grab your computer's camera and make a short two minute video discussing a topic, teaching customers how to do something, or even asking a question. Videos are extremely powerful and engaging, and short videos can be a great way to spruce up some content and give your following something new.

7. Share Photos.
Did you recently attend an event? Instead of tweeting about it all day, post some pictures. Your followers will enjoy the visuals, and you may end up building relationships with others who attended the same event.

8. Create a Poll.
Facebook allows you to create a poll for your fans. This is another great way to receive feedback from your followers. Note that you have the option of allowing your followers to add in their own polling answers, or you can close it so that only your answers are the possible choices.
There are plenty of ways that you can generate some great social media content. Whenever you're experiencing some social content block, be sure to use one of these tactics to help get your creativity flowing.


About The Author

Garrett Payne is an avid writer who loves blogging and social media. He knows the importance of good grammar and always uses a grammar tool when proofreading his work.

[Sent from my iPad]

Ralph Paglia

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Heat Map Imaging Example: Ralph Paglia

Independent Ranking of Top 100 Automotive Blogs and Networks for 2013

When the author who assembled this list of the Top 100 Automotive Blogs and Networks for 2013 first contacted me, I did not know what to expect. I provided him with the info he requested and was pleasantly surprised when The ADM Professional Community came in at number 10 of 100. The infographic he created for this ranking of auto industry and car business blogging UGC sites is available below. You can visit and join the ADM Professional Community at

Top 100 Fashion blogs to follow
An infographic by the team at CouponAudit

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Honda Environmental Leadership Program for Car Dealers

American Honda Motor, Inc. deserves recognition for their Environmental Leadership Program to reward Honda Dealers who operate in an environmentally balanced and energy efficient manner. 

Honda has been promoting environmental conservation, carbon footprint awareness and energy efficiency for far longer than such stewardship became the darling of PR departments.  Honda and its dealer network should be recognized for their long standing commitment to ecologically sustainable business practices and pioneering the development of "Green" vehicle manufacturing techniques... 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lincoln Ranked #1 in Data Driven Super Bowl Automotive Advertising Effectiveness Measurement

Lincoln MKZ Super Bowl Ad Drives Active Shoppers to Dealer Websites

The Lincoln MKZ commercial, titled "Phoenix", generated the largest increase in traffic to dealership websites on game day among in-market auto shoppers

Nashville, TN — 02/08/2013 — Dataium, the largest aggregator of in-market automotive shopper behavior, today released its annual Super Bowl Promotional Impact Report for automotive advertisers. The report details the impact of the automotive commercials, aired during the Super Bowl, on successfully engaging in-market shoppers and driving traffic to auto dealership websites.

Promotional Impact Report - 2013 Super Bowl

The report shows the Lincoln MKZ commercial, "Phoenix", had the greatest influence on active in-market auto shoppers, with interest in Lincoln models increasing by almost 180% after the airing of the commercial. Additionally, intensity around the brand continued into Monday, increasing almost 5% as compared to an average Monday in January. Dylan Snyder, a Senior Analyst with Dataium, stated, "While the Phoenix ad may not have been the most popular among football fans, it clearly resonated well with in-market auto s hoppers."

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class commercial, featuring super model Kate Upton, was a not too distant second, with shopping intensity for the Mercedes brand spiking by 150% within five minutes of the ad airing. Additionally, on the day after the game, interest in the brand surpassed that of Lincoln, and all other game day advertisers.

In contrast, Mazda's "Incredible World" ad, featuring the 2013 CX-9, had the least impact on in-market shoppers, with intensity for the brand decreasing by almost 20% once the ad aired.

Overall, online auto shopping was down almost 50% on game day, as compared to an average Sunday in January. However, the flood of automotive ads during the game, helped bolster online auto shopping on the day following the Super Bowl.

Mobile usage during this year's game was up slightly, 32% of shoppers used a mobile device this year, compared to 28% on an average Sunday, but almost tripled since last year. Additionally, the report shows that for the straight third year, the iPad's mobile share declined, from a high of 66% in 2011, to 56% in 2013. Conversely, the iPhone's mobile share has doubled over the past two years, from 10% in 2011 to 22% this year.

The Promotional Impact report for automotive advertisers during the 2013 Super Bowl is available for download, with more expanded or custom analysis available for purchase at The report can be customized to include mobile usage trends during the game, along with performance statistics by make, model, market, and keyword.

About Dataium, LLC
Dataium is the largest aggregator of Internet automotive shopping activity. With its Cloud Intelligence® platform, the company collects, analyzes, and indexes billions of online automotive shopping events from over 20 million active auto shoppers monthly. The company supports cutting-edge data collection and reporting technology;VisiCogn® Knowledge Center, and is also known for its ASI™ index. For more information,, email:, or call 877-896-DATA (3282).

[Sent from my iPad]

Ralph Paglia

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Digital Direct Mail Marketing for Car Dealers



February 8, 2013
Contact: Steve Humphries 888.543.6460


February 8, 2013 - Dallas, Texas - Q Marketing Group of Dallas, through it's sister company QR Systems WorldWide has launched its new digital direct mail concept utilizing QAR Codes.

In making the announcement, CEO Steve Humphries said "there are many mail and marketing companies that will provide a QR Code on a mail piece, which takes a customer to a special landing page, or the dealer web site, but it all stops there – that's where QAR Mail changes it all – With QAR Mail we transform traditional direct mail into digital mail".

QR Systems WorldWide CEO Jason Prado commented "with QAR Mail we provide a digital conduit between the customer and the dealership using Social Media (Facebook). With a strong call to action – "scan now to win a new Mustang", "scan now for a free oil change", "scan now to pre-qualify to buy your new car"... the customer scans the QAR Code, then they are taken to the QAR Codes Application. At that point they are prompted to sign on using Facebook. (72% of all consumers that shop on a smart phone go through Facebook) Once that occurs, QAR Codes captures the consumer's data, real- time. This data is pushed to the QAR Codes digital dealer dashboard (provided to the dealers) which allows a dealer to monitor the results of the mail, seeing who scanned, what type of device was used and the geographic, demographic and psychographic data.

Prado further commented, "credit pre-qualification is another exclusive feature of QAR Mail.
Without providing a Social Security Number or Date of Birth, a customer can pre-qualify for credit within 2 minutes. Once approved an alert goes to the Finance Director, BDC Director and Sales Managers at the dealership. It's like having a CapitalOne check in their hand. Our lender provides funding from all the major banks and has an 82% approval rate, so if the dealer can't do the deal, they already have an approval from QAR Mail".

Humphries added "our QAR Mail also offers the traditional scratch-off, black key and black VISA card features. From the traditional 11 x 17 Tri-fold to the 8 Page 8 1⁄2 x 11 Book, we cover the gamut.
Our mail prices are extremely competitive, and include the QAR Codes technology. In fact, in most cases we can beat what you are currently paying for mail without the technology. We are offering the product directly to dealers, wholesalers, agencies, etc. and are able to white label the product".

For more information or a mail quote, call Q Marketing Group at 214.908.7050.

Q Marketing Group ( is a full service automotive advertising agency uniquely qualified in both the general and Hispanic markets. With experience on national, local and regional accounts, we offer total market solutions for our clients. We are an agency that will develop the right marketing plan for your business with a creative mix that cuts through the clutter, utilizing both traditional and digital media.

QR Systems WorldWide ( ) is a company that is dedicated to the rapid development or acquisition QR Code marketing systems for a variety of business segments, including, automotive, mortgage, dental and other industries.

QARCodes ( provides a mobile conduit between new car dealers and potential customers through social media and smart phones. QAR Codes allows customers to shop for their new car on their smart phone and simultaneously allows the dealers to capture their geographic, psychographic and demographic data real-time.

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]

Friday, February 8, 2013

Auto Industry Female Executives at DMSC in Orlando

I was struck by the noticeably high percentage of female automotive professionals that turned out for the Digital Marketing Strategies Conference in Orlando. Not only do the women in the car business make our industry stronger and more effective, but it seems to me that the ladies in leadership roles are a little smarter about recognizing the need for continuous learning, skills development and the strategic perspective that comes from attending and participating in dealer conferences like DMSC, Internet Sales 20 Group, Automotive Bootcamp, AutoCon, Internet Battle Plan and DSES.  As more women take leadership roles in the car biz, it will be easier to find dealers who are innovating and leading the way, rather than waiting for other dealerships to show them what works.  

Old School and New School Connect at DMSC: Ralph Paglia and Eric Nichols

Wednesday night at DMSC I had the honor of hanging with several people who had either won scholarships to the #DMSC event or were fairly new to the digital marketing side of the business. I realized at one point that I am about 25 years more experienced (OK... Old!) than many of these "new school" #AutoMarketers and started asking a few questions.  In this pic I am sitting next to Eric Nichols of Apple Honda and discussing some of the stuff he is doing at the dealership and with his BDC.  I couldn't be more pleased and enthusiastic about this newest generation of professionals making their mark on the auto industry. As long as we have people like Eric, Stacy, Mario Murgado Jr. and others I met at DMSC the car biz is headed in the right direction.  So, to all you 20 and 30 something's out there learning, working, fighting to have your voices heard, budgets allocated, conference attendance approved, credit for the deals your efforts brought into the dealership... I salute you! I cannot imagine a better mix of new and future leaders to ensure the vitality and economic contribution provided by the auto Industry to American culture and our economy. What a great bunch of people all you newbies are! (Newbie = <10 years in biz). 

Facebook Automotive Team at Digital Marketing Strategies Conference

Patrick Workman of Facebook Presents Car Dealer Best Practices at the 2013 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference in Orlando...

OMG! Autobytel Is Giving Away $2,500 In FREE Leads To Internet Sales 20 Group Members!

Autobytel Is Providing $2,500 In Lead credits to dealers who attend the in Dallas March 19-21, 2013...

Check out this video on YouTube:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Do New Car Photos Really Make a Difference from Stock Photos? - Automotive Digital Marketing

Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

I have to ask this question because each seminar, webinar and research study that I have read is stating this to be the case. It increases VDP's, time on the site and in turn increases sales.  Here is a study from KBB:

Shoppers Want Actual New Vehicle Photos, Not Stock Photography on Dealer Web Sites

According to a new study conducted by Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research among in-market car buyers, 90 percent of vehicle shoppers would prefer to view actual photos of new vehicles currently on the dealer's lot than view stock photography of a vehicle they are interested in buying.
When it comes to purchasing a used vehicle, viewing photos of the exact vehicle, its options, condition and mileage help a potential buyer make a purchase decision. But, when it comes to buying a new vehicle, in-market shoppers say they want to have that same luxury; seeing photos of the exact vehicle on a dealer's lot before driving to the dealership. Today, most dealerships use stock photography of new vehicles provided by the manufacturer to showcase current model-year vehicles.
Recent market research shows nearly 70 percent of today's new vehicle shoppers are turning to the Internet for new vehicle research. Nearly half of these shoppers visit at least one dealership Web site during the research process, making the information found on the dealer's Web site crucial in garnering a new customer. In fact, 74 percent of vehicle shoppers say they are more likely to visit a dealership if they are able to view a picture of an actual vehicle currently available on the lot, rather than stock photography. What's more, 53 percent would be more likely to buy that particular vehicle from a dealership offering actual photos of in-stock vehicles.
CDMdata Inc., a Kelley Blue Book Company, offers products and services that aid dealers in easily marketing both their new and used vehicles online with photos. CDMdata's DigitalLot® Solution is a device that collects vehicle information by scanning the VIN, takes multiple photos of the actual vehicle and then uploads all of the information to the dealer's Web site (and up to 150 retail Web sites) with the simple push of a button. The DigitalLot Solution can take up to 32 photos of each vehicle, and the in-depth VIN explosion allows consumers to instantly and accurately view all of the detailed information about their prospective new or used vehicle. For dealers who prefer to have someone else doing the book-in work, CDM Dealer Services provides a company representative to come to the dealer's lot to upload the information and photography for them.
"The online automotive shopping and buying process must continue to evolve, and the DigitalLot Solution is a critical tool to help dealers improve their relationships and build more trust with online shoppers," said Mike Romano, chief operating officer for CDMdata, Inc. and vice president of dealer strategy for Kelley Blue Book. "Whether using the solution for new or used vehicles, the DigitalLot quickly and easily automates the process of uploading dealers' online inventory, allowing them to ultimately sell more cars faster."
About Kelley Blue Book (
Kelley Blue Book's is America's most used and trusted vehicle pricing, values and information resource. The top-rated Web site provides the most up-to-date pricing and values for thousands of new and used vehicles, including the New Car Blue Book® Value, which reveals what people actually are paying for new cars. Since 1926, car buyers and sellers have relied upon Kelley Blue Book for authoritative and unbiased information to make well-informed automotive decisions. The company also reports vehicle prices and values via products and services, including the famous Blue Book® Official Guide and software products. has been rated the No. 1 automotive information site by Nielsen//NetRatings and the most visited auto site by J.D. Power and Associates eight years in a row. No other medium reaches more in-market vehicle shoppers than; nearly one in every three American car buyers perform their research on
CONTACT: Robyn Eckard, +1-949-268-3049,, or Joanna
McNally, +1-949-268-3079,, both of Kelley Blue Book
However, the largest dealer group in our state doesn't use custom photos. My GM is afraid that if customers see new car photos that the customer won't think that they can custom order a vehicle and we will lose sales!
I told my GM if he is worried about losing custom photos, we could put in the comments "Call if you don't see what you are looking for?"
Also, how do we know that new car photos wouldn't help increase the largest dealer group's sales?

I am still trying to figure out which is the best way to go?
Any thoughts and additional research is appreciated.

Kim, this is a similar question to "should we put our inventory online", which was quite the debate up until about ten years ago... There is no question about the effectiveness of actual vehicle photos versus stock images. all the research shows anywhere from double to 4 times the lead volume on inventory with photos versus stock images when half the inventory has one and the other half is the other.
Honestly, this is one of those irritating issues that is a qualified for me on whether or not I want to work with a dealer or group... If they have not yet progressed to the point where the acknowledge that actual vehicle photos work better than stock catalog images, then they probably haven't switched to broadband from dial-up yet.
Now, with that said there are alwys the economic considerations... let me explain. If you sell a brand of new vehicles where demand dramatically outstrips supply and your biggest problem is how much to mark up new vehicles above MSRP, then do not bother incurring the expense of taking inventory photos. heck, for that matter, save electricity and don't turn on the lot lights at night!
I have done the "actual vehicle photos" comparison at several stores. This is where we run a 3 month test by taking actual photos of all new vehicels that have a stock number ending in an even digit and do not take photos for new vehicles with stock numbers that end in odd digits.  Having done this "test" at at least 6 dealerships over time, rarely do we get to the end because the cars with actual photos get all the leads and phone calls.  Then, when people start showing up on the showroom with the VDP printed out and in their hands, the whole thing turns into a big joke... Sort of "No shit Sherlock" actuial photos work better than catalog images... Again, the only debate os about the expense and the work flow.
Actual photos of new vehicles make almost as big a difference in lead volume as they do for used cars... Ever try advertising used cars with stock photos? It rates a Twitter "EpicFail hash tag.
Real photos generate more leads than catalog images. Can you tell which one of the following images is real... and which one is Memorex?
The new 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche LT Black Diamond and 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche LT Black Diamond inventory images above are from the same dealership and for two different vehicles of exact same model and trim... Also, consider that "Real videos" generate more leads than "Real Photos" alone... Real Photos generate more leads than "Stock Images"... get the drift?
However, before incurring the expense of implementing real photos of new vehcile inventory, there is a genuinely valid question that should be sincerely and realistically answered first: "Does your sales department effectively convert leads into showroom visits and sales?" Because, if the dealership is deficient in handling customer inquiries, and does a poor job of converting leads into sales, and/or does a poor job of converting traffic to the showroom into sales... Then don't waste time and money on inventory photos. You have more serious problems to deal with.

AARP Survey: Social Media Posts Made by 97% of Americans

When AARP reports that their survey was targeted at Americans "18 and Older" I have no doubts about it! 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ralph Paglia is in the top 1% of influencers in Kred

@RalphPaglia is in the top 1% of Influencers on Kred.
Share it with your friends!
Best Regards,
Andrew, CEO of Kred

[Sent from my iPad]
Ralph Paglia

Online Advertising Trends - October through December 2012 - Automotive Marketing Professionals

Online Advertising Trends - October through December 2012 - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Marin Whitepaper Summary for ADM Professional Community Members
"Online Advertising Trends - October through December 2012"
The following report posted below and the charts displayed are my synopsis and summary culled from a 26 page quarterly report provided by the people I work with at Marin Software, Inc. All contents of this blog post on ADM are the property of Marin Software, Inc.
The Research Methodology summary shown below is the best validation for conclusions generated by this report...
The fourth quarter has always proven to be the busiest for marketers — retailers in particular — because of the holiday season. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, advertisers faced increased competition resulting in higher costs per click.

As predicted earlier this year, we saw mobile traffic peak at nearly 22% of all paid search clicks on Google in the US; we saw similar mobile traffic levels in the UK and Australia. We continue to see staggering growth around the adoption of smartphone and tablets for search advertising.

As Marin’s customer base continues to expand globally, we have committed to expanding our analysis into new verticals and geographies to help provide more granular insights for marketers. In this quarterly report we included insights on paid search performance in Australia as well as industry-specific metrics for the Automotive, B2B, Finance, Retail and Travel verticals.
Research Methodology
To uncover key trends for the fourth quarter of 2012, we sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, which includes global advertisers and agencies that invest over $4.0 billion annually in biddable media through the Marin platform.
The Marin Global Online Advertising Index consists of enterprise-class marketers — larger advertisers and agencies that spend in excess of $1 Million annually on paid-search, display, social and mobile. As such, our data sample and findings skew towards the behavior of larger organizations and includes some of the world’s most sophisticated advertisers.

This study is longitudinal, focusing on a representative set of advertisers who have been active on Marin for the previous five quarters and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) on a year-over-year (YoY) and quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) basis. Unless otherwise mentioned, all of the analysis in this study refers to trends in the search (versus content) network. Wherever possible, we used medians and indexed values—instead of absolute values—to more clearly highlight overall trends. This allows us to mitigate the effects of outliers and make the findings more representative of the performance of the typical Marin client.
For the Q4 2012 report, Marin refreshed our client index data pool. This could result in slight deviations from previously reported data but makes for more representative analysis and findings.
US Findings:

1. Overall Performance: On an annual basis, US advertisers saw paid search click volume rise by 31% accompanied by a 38% increase in impression volume. The higher impression volume may indicate the continued growth of paid search as marketers shift more of their advertising dollars online. Cost per click (CPC) increased from $0.96 in Q3 2012 to $1.01 in Q4 2012 — the higher CPC likely attributable to the increased competition over the holiday season. Marketers
saw a lower click through rate (CTR) year on year versus Q4 2011.
2. Google Maintains its Market Share for Search Spend: According to Comscore, 67.0% of all US-based search queries were conducted on Google during November 2012. During this same period, Yahoo! was at 12.1% and Microsoft at 16.2%. In light of having 67.0% of the overall US search volume, Google monetized its searches more effectively — accounting for 80% of paid search spend and 78% of all paid-clicks during the same period.
On a year-over-year basis for Google, we saw significant increases in click and impression volumes. Quarter over quarter, the average CPC increased by 11% — indicating increased competition over the holiday season.
On Yahoo and Bing, advertisers saw marked improvement in clicks. On a year-over-year basis, advertisers saw 25% higher click volumes along with a 22% jump in CPC and a 13% increase in the average CTR.
3. Industry Specific Trends: While it’s helpful to understand the broader context of how paid search is evolving at a macro level, the reality is that different industries can demonstrate fundamentally different trends. To that end, we looked at the behavior of seven different industries and uncovered some varying trends. This section provides insights on representative values for CTR and CPC across seven verticals to uncover industry-specific trends for key metrics in the
fourth quarter of 2012.
The Automotive vertical is the first bar on the left for each of the two charts shown below...
The four charts displayed below are specific to the Automotive vertical...
4. Device Targeting and Performance: While Desktops and Laptop computers still command the vast majority of search spend, we continue to see positive trends as marketers explore new platforms to extend their reach. Device targeting, in particular, is showing that smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly popular around the world. To provide context around usage patterns and spend allocation, the charts below show how click and spend share was segmented across our client base during the fourth quarter of 2012.
Smartphone and tablet devices accounted for a 22% share of clicks and 17% share of spend. Growth in consumer adoption has been a strong driver of click volume growth on mobile devices. Additionally, spend allocations on mobile devices are growing quickly as marketers realize solid performance across both smartphones and tablets. The following charts compare CTR and CPC across desktops, smartphones, and tablets for the fourth quarter of 2012.
While device targeting may not be relevant for all advertisers, marketers should evaluate their target demographic and, where appropriate, leverage the performance and cost effectiveness of targeting ads to tablet or smartphone users.
Facebook Findings:
Across geographies, the CTR from Facebook campaigns is comparable. In regards to cost, advertisers in Australia experience a higher average CPC than their counterparts in the rest of the world.
Compared to the average CPC of paid search advertising, Facebook is seemingly a less expensive alternative, offering creative advertising options outside of the traditional search and display.
Additionally, with the release of mobile-specific targeting for Facebook ads, advertisers are starting to see a higher CTR for mobile ads versus desktop ads. We’ll continue to monitor this trend as more advertisers adopt the mobile-placement option on Facebook.
Download the Full Marin Report by Right-Clicking and "Save As":
by Ralph Paglia