Couple looking at car
Colleen Harris
| 04/30/2019

Holy Grail of Automotive Attribution – Tracking Customers from Digital to Dealership

In the automotive digital marketing space, every dealership is looking for ways to tie their digital marketing budget to cars sold and Service appointments sent. Achieving VIN-level sales attribution is our industry’s search for the Holy Grail. This quest has taken automotive marketing down the path of location tracking customers, and CDK Global wants to help guide you on this quest. By leveraging pixels and user devices, your dealership has the ability to track customers from digital advertising to in-store visits. To help you better understand how to do this, let’s take a look at the history of customer tracking.

A digital beacon was one of the first tools used to track advertising activity to in-store visits. Beacons are placed around a dealership and can be configured to certain campaigns. When a customer came into your dealership, the visit counted as a conversion. While they’re a great first step, beacons require manual setup and maintenance and may not record all of your customers.

As phones have gotten more complex, in-store ROI has started to rely more on location tracking. Location tracking doesn’t rely just on beacons, but collects data from multiple sources: Wi-Fi access points, geo-located cell towers, Bluetooth beacons and IPs. As you can see, beacons are only a part of the data collection strategy. Companies like Google are looking at the location-based tracking to report on advertising ROI. Google’s first attempt at this tracking is their In-Store Visits pilot .

When you ran ads in the Google network in the past, you could turn on the location extension. This allowed you to upload your dealership’s address to show within ads. In 2017, Google updated the source of location extensions to be the verified Google My Business listing. Once these two pieces are connected, your dealership address and star reviews are eligible to show in ads like before.

Now, Google is telling eligible dealers how many ad clicks influenced a visit to their dealership. This store visit data is based on anonymous, aggregated data from current and past views of ads. While it won’t tell you what the customers did in the store, it will start to show you how much digital traffic converts to foot traffic. Google is also using industry best practices to ensure the privacy of individual users, while still providing results to the dealership.

For those dealers receiving In-Store Visits, you can now see this metric within Dealer Command Center. Navigate to your advertising report, and you will find that metric right next to average position with your Google channel advertising.

Google In-Store Visits is still a pilot, so not all dealers will be seeing these numbers. If you are not seeing In-Store Visits, we suggest that you still work to connect Google My Business as the location source in Google Ads. Once you do that, you will still get placement in the ads in local packs, ads on the maps, and all of your dealership information in your advertisements.

Want to know more about the potential your advertising could have? Reach out to your CDK team today.

Colleen Harris
Colleen Harris

Colleen Harris is a Product Manager for Business Intelligence at CDK Global and has more than 13 years of digital marketing experience in the automotive, healthcare and entertainment industries. She brings a passion for link building and content creation, and has been referred to here at CDK as the “Google Whisperer." Outside of CDK, Colleen has volunteered as a digital consultant for non-profits in the Seattle area.