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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Mobile Might Not Be Where Most Car Buyers Are At

Mobile may be capturing the majority of digital media time and online ad spending, but when it comes to automotive sales, desktops should certainly not be forgotten, according to a study from DialogTech.

In fact, mobile devices are responsible for only a minority (45.2%) of call conversions from manufacturer and local dealership websites. In other words, people shopping for vehicles on desktops generate the majority (54.8%) of calls, according to the analysis of more than 1.1 million phone calls.

Data provided by comScore confirms that desktops still hold prominence in the auto industry: while mobile accounted for two-thirds (68%) of total digital media minutes in July, the opposite is true in the automotive industry, with desktops dominating that category’s time (68% share). In fact, 83% of time spent with the Auto Manufacturers subcategory is spent on desktops rather than mobile devices.
FACT: Car Shoppers who call a dealership by phone are TEN TIMES MORE LIKELY to buy a car from that dealership than car shoppers submitting.

The DialogTech research indicates that the discrepancy between desktop and mobile conversions for the automotive industry is even greater during the industry’s two main peak seasons: March to May, and September to November. In March, 22.2% more calls to dealerships originate from desktop/laptop users than mobile, and 27.3% more in April and May. During the second peak period, 22.2% more calls come from desktop/laptop shoppers than mobile in September and October, and an astonishing 56.4% more in November.

An even more predictable pattern emerges during the days of the week. Weekend shoppers who browse on mobile make nearly 20% more calls to dealerships, with the greatest number of conversions taking place on Sundays, while on weekdays desktop shoppers consistently account for in excess of 10% more calls than mobile shoppers.

Drilling down even further, calls made to dealerships are more likely to come from mobile shoppers before 8 A.M. and after 4 P.M., while consumers on desktops are more likely to call dealerships during typical working hours.

About the Data: The report is based on an analysis of DialogTech voice management platform data from more than 1.1 million phone calls generated by visitors to automotive websites (both Tier 1 and Tier 3) to thousands of North American dealerships.

What Drives the Most Phone Calls to Automotive Dealerships: Desktop or Mobile?   by Blair Symes)

In the past two years the automotive industry has experienced a pronounced and well-publicized shift from desktop to mobile shopping.
Studies show that most shoppers run searches for vehicles and visit automotive websites on their mobile devices. Automotive manufacturers and dealers have responded by shifting the majority of their digital ad spend from targeting desktops and laptops to targeting mobile devices, especially smartphones.
It makes sense: if most people shop for vehicles on their smartphones, then automotive marketers should want most of their digital ads in general — and search ads in particular — to appear on smartphones.
But just because most activity and ad spend occur on one device, does that mean that most phone calls to dealerships — often the most valuable conversion generated by automotive websites — follow that same logic? And how does that answer impact how automotive marketers should approach digital advertising?

Those are the questions that DT University sought to answer in this study. We examined phone call data from the DialogTech voice management platform, which tracks, routes, and manages millions of calls each year generated by visitors to the websites of the world’s biggest automakers and dealerships.

The answers may surprise you...

First, Some Background Data on Automotive Marketing and Mobile

If you follow the automotive industry, the headlines are hard to miss: automotive advertising has gone both digital and mobile.
According to eMarketer, digital advertising made up 56% of all media ad spend for automotive manufacturers (Tier 1) and 66% of all media ad spend for dealers (Tier 3) in the US in 2015. That year the automotive industry in the US spent over $7.4 billion on digital advertising, a number that is expected to nearly double to $14.1 billion in 2020.

(Image Source: eMarketer)

Of that $7.4 billion spent by the US automotive industry on digital advertising in 2015, 53% targeted shoppers on desktops and laptops. But 2015 would be the last year desktop would be king. In 2016, the US auto sector officially went mobile, spending 60% ($5.25 billion) of total digital ad spend to target shoppers on smartphones and tablets.

(Image Source: eMarketer)

The shift in ad spend from desktop to mobile seems to make sense. Studies show that 71% of people use mobile in the automotive purchase process, and 62% of all automotive searches occur on a mobile device. If people shop for vehicles on mobile, why shouldn’t marketers move their ad spend to target them in order to optimize ROI and customer acquisition?
To answer that, it helps to first understand why phone calls generated by digital advertising and automotive websites are such important marketing conversions.

Why Are Phone Calls Important in Automotive Marketing?

One would think that in today’s digital world, phone calls to dealerships would have taken a backseat in both volume and value to online conversions (web form fills, website chat, and emails). But that’s not the case.
According to Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, 25% of car buyers first contact dealerships by calling. Calls are the second most popular way shoppers contact a dealer before visiting, second only to unannounced walk-ins. In fact, phone calls surpass the combined total of all other conversions methods (email, chat, text, and social media).

(Image Source: Autotrader/Kelley Blue Book)

So why are people still calling dealerships when researching online?

The conventional explanation for this is the smartphone: people who engage with digital ads and visit websites on their smartphones contact businesses by calling. Calling is the easiest conversion path for smartphone users — it’s far more efficient than trying to fill out a form on your tiny smartphone screen and wait for hours or days for the dealership to call or email you back. So it stands to reason that smartphone shoppers want to call.

A study by Google supports this idea. It found that 39% of consumers who used their smartphones in the vehicle shopping process called a dealer.
When DT University analyzed the outcomes of millions of phone calls to car dealerships from automotive website visitors captured by the DialogTech voice management platform, they found that callers purchased a vehicle 10 times more frequently than people who filled out an online web form.
Excluding walk-ins, calls are the most valuable conversion generated by automotive digital marketing, contributing to the most vehicle sales and revenue. Therefore, driving phone calls is an important part of any successful automotive digital marketing campaign.
But just because people call when shopping for vehicles on their smartphones, does that mean they don’t also call when shopping on their desktops and laptops? And which device drives the most calls?


People Shopping for Vehicles on Desktops Call the Most

To answer, DT University examined data from the DialogTech voice management platform on over 1.1 million phone calls generated by visitors to automotive websites (both Tier 1 and Tier 3) to thousands of North American dealerships. What we found was a powerful rebuttal to the popular idea that desktop is dead and automotive marketers must focus their efforts and ad spend on mobile shoppers. The data showed that:
  • 54.8% of call conversions from Tier 1 and Tier 3 automotive websites were from shoppers on their desktops and laptops.

  • Contrary to popular belief, only 45.2% of calls come from visitors on mobile devices.
Broken out further, DT University found that 55.7% of calls from Tier 1 (manufacturer/OEM) websites and 53.1% of calls from Tier 3 (local dealership) websites come from desktops/laptop visitors.
The gap between desktop and mobile calls is even more pronounced during the automotive industry’s two peak sales seasons from March to May and from September to November.
This data should be an eye-opener for auto manufacturers and dealerships. When you ramp up digital ad spend during peak seasons to drive sales, don’t forget about targeting desktop shoppers: they drive the most calls and revenue:
First Peak Sales Season
  • March: 22.2% more calls from desktop/laptop than mobile
  • April: 27.3% more calls from desktop/laptop than mobile
  • May: 27.3% more calls from desktop/laptop than mobile
Second Peak Sales Season
  • September: 22.2% more calls from desktop/laptop than mobile
  • October: 22.2% more calls from desktop/laptop than mobile
  • November: 56.4% more calls from desktop/laptop than mobile
When the data was examined based on the day of the week when shoppers call dealerships, some interesting trends appear. While mobile shoppers do generate more calls on the weekends, desktop/laptop shoppers drive far more calls during the week.

This insight into caller activity is valuable for automotive digital marketers running paid search campaigns, for example. Knowing which devices drive the most calls on each day can help you adjust ad spend to get the right ads in front of audiences most likely to call, thereby increasing your ROI.
A similar look at calls by time of day found that most calls during the traditional workday are from desktop shoppers, suggesting that people are shopping for cars at work on their desktops/laptops and calling dealers to ask questions and schedule test drives.

Again, good insight to know to optimize digital ad targeting to get the most bang for your buck.

This data from DT University helps provide some much-needed color and nuance to the “best practice” that automotive marketers should focus heavily on mobile, especially if they want to generate more calls to dealerships.

Phone calls to dealerships are huge revenue drivers in the automotive industry...

And yes, people shopping for vehicles on their smartphones call dealerships. But saying that smartphones are the reason why people are calling is too simplistic — people call when shopping on all devices, and they actually call most when shopping on desktops/laptops.

Pouring all your digital ad budget into campaigns that target mobile devices while ignoring desktop shoppers isn’t the best strategy to drive ROI, especially during peak sales seasons. Instead, learn from the data on when to target shoppers on which device, and you should see a nice increase in both callers and sales driven by your digital marketing.
If you want to learn more about measuring and optimizing phone calls from digital marketing, download DialogTech's free guide, The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Call Attribution.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Turn Negative Customer Reviews Into Positive Marketing Opportunities - Automotive Digital Marketing

Turn Negative Customer Reviews Into Positive Marketing Opportunities - Automotive Digital Marketing

Turn Negative Customer Reviews Into Positive Opportunities

How to Respond to a Negative Online Reviews
As a car dealer or dealership manager, you’re no stranger to the concept of negative reviews. A negative review can happen regardless of the quality of your team's work or how many people love your business. A negative review may not seem like a big deal, especially if most of your customer feedback is positive – but it’s always best to address the situation, and doing so publicly lets potential customers see on a first hand basis that your dealership will do the right thing when something goes wrong.

You may be well aware that negative reviews can alter consumer perception of your business. In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation

The team at Broadly recommends the following steps to construct an effective response to a negative review:


In most cases, even if you don’t think the customer is right, it’s important to acknowledge the issue. For example, begin your response with something like this:

“Thank you for providing your feedback and letting us know about  this issue.”

Thank the customer for bringing the situation to your attention. Whether the customer doesn’t understand your process or is just having an off day, it never hurts to take the first step to finding a solution.

The Jet Blue Twitter Team did a great job quickly responding to this unhappy passenger by acknowledging that it is a problem their tv screen is not working and then ask them to direct message them details to help them make it right.

Responding to a negative review - Jet Blue on Twitter


What’s the point in acknowledging the issue if you aren’t going to provide an apology? Again, even if you feel that the customer is in the wrong, you should always take the high road by issuing an apology. Not only does an apology appease the customer, but it also shows others that you care about providing a high level of service. Here’s an example of how your response continues:

“We apologize that our service did not satisfy your expectations. We set a high standard for ourselves and are truly sorry to hear that standard was not met in your interaction with our business. Your happiness is our number one priority”.

This apology is sincere, to the point, and demonstrates that your business sets a high standard and intends to deliver.

Forest Family is a dental office that does a great job apologizing and giving the patient the opportunity to contact her directly to resolve this negative Google review. Even if the patient doesn’t return as a potential patient this makes me want to visit them.


There are times when an apology is more than enough to address a situation. Even so, there may also be instances where you’ll need to provide more information to clear up a misunderstanding. Here’s an example of an in-depth explanation that follows an apology:

“Our entire team apologizes for the miscommunication that took place when scheduling your service appointment. We experienced a serious technical issue with our scheduling software, which caused us to lose valuable information about our upcoming appointments. As a result, we did not meet our scheduled service window at your home."

"We truly apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you. We have since resolved the technical issue, so feel free to re-schedule an appointment online or by calling us directly. We hope to have the opportunity to serve you soon.”

There are three things to remember when providing an explanation:

  • Don’t make excuses – take responsibility. Be clear why the misunderstanding occurred.
  • Issue an apology, even if the other party was in the wrong.
  • Offer advice on how to re-engage with your business.

Mother Bear Pizza a local pizza shop does a great job explaining the reason behind the delay without coming across as making excuses. If they consistently respond to reviewers it will help them build a trustworthy Yelp profile that doesn’t filter out your Yelp reviews.


As a consumer, there’s nothing worse than having a negative experience with a company and have them brush it off like it was no big deal. In their eyes, the fault either has cost them time or money.

As such, be willing to go above and beyond and incentivize or compensate the consumer to use your business again. An apology goes far, but a 20% credit on their next service is much more incentive for them to use your business again. If you’re willing and able to go that extra step it could mean the difference between a one-time customer and a lifetime customer.

  1. 20% off next service (For example:  20% off their next spa visit)
  2. Offer them priority scheduling – reschedule with them as soon as possible to rectify the problem


Offer to resolve the problem offline. In person or on the phone you’ll be able to resolve your customer’s problems and allow both parties to reach a resolution. Here’s how you can extend that invitation following your initial apology:

“Please reach me personally via email or phone, and I would be happy to discuss the issue at your earliest convenience.”

Make sure to provide your name, title, and direct contact information (or that of a manager at your business who has the authority).

We do not recommend that you ask the person to remove the review, as this could make the situation worse. Simply ensure the client feels that their complaint was heard.

Honda of Thousand Oaks an auto dealership does a good job giving the person a direct line to their General Manager to help them resolve the issue.


Even though it may be difficult, responding to a negative review is part of maintaining your integrity as a business. Keeping an even tone with your customers in your interactions online and offline will only help you in the long run.

In a perfect world, every online review your business receives would be positive. Unfortunately, this isn’t realistic. Although it can seem unfair, it’s important to acknowledge negative reviews and prepare for them.

If you ignore negative reviews altogether customers are unlikely to return. Furthermore, the customer may continue to share his or her negative feelings about the experience with others offline, which causes even further damage to your business’s reputation in the community.

If you would like to be proactive and keep negative feedback offline with a simple solution, get in touch with the marketing professionals at Broadly to learn more.
EDITOR'S NOTE: "If you have 100 Reviews of your dealership on a review site such as DealerRater, and any others like them, and 1 of the reviews has a one star rating, while 99 of them have a 4 or 5 star rating... Which review gets read the most? Of course we all gravitate towards that singular negative comment... Which is why, after you resolve the customer's concerns you should ask them to update the review itself, so the story and follow-up reflects your dealership's proactive approach to customer complaints. Leaving that one star alone assures the dealership that the negative review that was corrected will be scene by more potential customers..."
Edited and reposted from an article written by Laura Nelson