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When Performance is Measured, Performance Improves.

Digital Dealer Overview – Avinash! Pt. 1

The keynote speaker for Day 2 of the Digital Dealer Conference was Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist and a well-known author and public speaker. For me, Kaushik’s was easily the most exciting and inspirational presentation of the conference. He clearly pinpointed the auto industry’s shortcomings in digital marketing with specific focus on websites and customer experience. Moreover, he presented basic and advanced analytical tools that can be used to measure the success of your website. I have always promoted the “trackability” of digital over traditional marketing, but Kaushik introduced many website performance reports that went into the minutest of details. These reports are especially exciting for a number-cruching analyst; some may even rival our 20 Group Composite in terms of detail! Many of the reports seemed as accessible as a basic spreadsheet, while others were a bit more advanced.

These reports should be a major part of what your “Internet Manager” is doing each day, but I don’t know of a single in-house specialist that has the time or capability to get much from this type of analysis. Regardless of whether you build this competency in-house or outsource it, the tools that are available for digital marketing provide so much insight into what works and what doesn’t; I think the auto industry is in for a wild ride once dealers learn how to outperform the competition with this kind of analysis.

Kaushik organized his presentation into three sections: Influence, Experience and Value. I will cover each in a different post, perhaps separating the “Value” discussion into two (there was a lot to talk about in terms of value, and isn’t there always in this business?). The discussion on Influence pretty much set the table for the importance of the rest of the session. Here are the basic takeaways:

  • Newspaper advertising has decreased dramatically in the past decade. The graph below was shown in a couple sessions and does a great job of showing the shift that is and has been occurring. Kaushik noted that 6% of Americans’ time (which I assume means free/leisure time) is spent reading the newspaper, while 29% of advertising dollars are spent here. Moreover, 40% of Americans that read the print newspaper were born before 1947. Yikes.

newspaper-ad-spending

 

  • The article that published this graph suggested that the same trend is likely coming to TV. For now, 40% of Americans’ [free] time and 43% of advertising dollars are spent on TV, but it seems crazy to think that this will maintain as our viewing habits and expectations evolve.

 

  • Perhaps the most interesting numbers that came in this discussion were focused on mobile marketing. Evidently 23% of Americans’ [free] time is spent on a mobile device while only 1% of advertising dollars are spent there. This is an unbelievable shift that has really only just begun. It is amazing to think that smartphones as we know them did not exist until the 21st century and the iPhone was not introduced to the market until 2007.

 

  • Similar to other presentations (especially Jay Baer’s from the previous day), Kaushik pointed out the difference between creating demand (TV, radio, newspaper, “irrelevant eyeballs”) and capturing demand (search, Youtube, “relevant eyeballs”). Social media and display advertising were placed somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

 

  • In terms of capturing demand, he used real world examples such as search results for “best minivan for kids”, “Spectra car reviews” and “Cadillac vs. BMW”. These were all done from his home in the Bay Area and no one had any kind of display advertising, nor did any dealerships show on Page 1 of the results. In other words, he noted that some of the most qualified consumers in the auto industry were forced to go to third-party sites because dealerships were not even trying to pull traffic!

 

Again, many points from this introduction were duplicated in other presentations but Kaushik’s unique and downright entertaining style ensured a captivated audience. The significance of his lecture was really on show once he got into customer experience and building value. Check back in the coming days!

 

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