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Jared Hamilton
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Brad Title

Brad Title CEO and Co-founder

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Mobile chats are more likely to turn into leads: chat and targeted offers need to be on your dealer mobile site – or you’re missing out on converting 30-40% of car shoppers.


“Chatter” about the death of third-party leads continues to rumble across the industry, with more dealerships vocally cutting the third-party lead dependence cord and devoting new resources to driving more traffic to - and sales from - their own websites.

And the “chatter” I hear most when I talk to dealers (which is every day), is not about which chute their site traffic comes through, but how to turn more of that often-expensively-won traffic into actionable leads. NADA data shows that 19 in 20 of a dealer’s site visitors never turn into any kind of lead, and dealers know firsthand that most of their traffic remains a silent missed opportunity. They want strategies that make those invisible visitors, visible. They want a website that engages people better so they raise a hand, whether through online chat or by responding to a published offer.

So, over the last few years, more dealerships have signed up for an online chat solution. And the dealer publications (finally) are starting to chatter about “responsive” website design. Which means putting some behavioral tracking and analytics technology – or a “brain” - behind your website, so that you can start capturing what visitors are actually doing (what specific cars they’re interested in, how many times they’ve visited, etc.). Because this is the only way your site can stop carpet-bombing people looking at new inventory with oil change offers. And can start serving up more targeted offers, inventory views and chat interruptions that are engaging PRECISELY because they’re relevant and personal.

But most of the chat platforms – and the newer, more “responsive,” analytics-powered websites – have been all about the traditional website. Not about a dealer’s MOBILE site.

The fact is, if you don’t have these new, smarter engagement tools on your mobile website, you’re throwing at least 30% of your site traffic away.

Why Dealers Need to Connect the Chat and Engagement “Dots” to Mobile: Most dealerships may consider their mobile site their “second” screen, but it’s fast becoming the primary way car shoppers and servicers REACH and EXPERIENCE your website.

  • 30-50% of a dealer’s site traffic now comes through mobile, depending on the research.[1]
  • As of 2013, 71% of car shoppers researched auto sites on their smartphones, up dramatically from 41% in 2012.[2]
  • More vehicle/dealer research done prior to a dealer visit is now done on smartphones (59%) than on the desktop (48%).[3]
  • 63% of people car shop online while AT a dealership using their mobile device. They’re “showrooming,” and making decisions on the mobile-fly about what car to buy at what dealer: 1 in 4 are actively comparing other dealers’ prices and inventory on YOUR lot.[4]


More Mobile Car Shoppers Convert into Leads Than Desktop Shoppers: One might imagine that the mobile car buyer, because they’re on the go with that small screen, would be harder for dealer sites to engage and convert. But research indicates the opposite is true. For instance, our analysis of 1,200 dealerships showed that not only are mobile users willing to “stop and chat,” those mobile chats were more likely to turn into actionable leads (74% do) than chats happening at the quieter, big-screen desktop (71%). And a Nissan study (2013) found that mobile car shoppers are 30% more likely to submit a lead than their desktop equivalents. The mobile car shopper is in action in every way: they demand info now, and take action on it now.

Given these overwhelming mobile realities, dealerships must make sure that what’s working on the desktop (whether chat, or targeted offers) is transferred over to their mobile site. Greater site engagement is the Holy Grail, and it absolutely needs to be happening both places. Desktop and mobile sites BOTH need to:

  • Get an Analytics Brain: Some in the industry might dub it a “responsive” website, but every dealer site needs to put good behavioral analytics technology “behind” it’, which tags each visitor when they arrive, tracks every page and car they view, and then puts all that behavioral data together and in motion to more precisely engage and target them across every website channel.
  • Chat Smarter: No more “welcome” greetings pinged at someone who has looked at 40 Honda Civics over 5 visits. The analytics-informed chat agent can interrupt them with precise Honda Civic offers, pricing and inventory. Because when you capture all that behavioral data you can give your chat (and call center) agents a dashboard that’s a window into all that visitor’s activity, so they can have a real, informed conversation.
  • Target Offers & Inventory Views: Again, a good behavioral analytics platform allows you to present that Honda Civic-hunting shopper with automatic, calculated Civic offers, and relevant Civic inventory feeds, as well as other relevant, right-priced cars.


The Internet Age is the I-demand-the-right-relevant-information-now age – and mobile shoppers demand it even more. When they’re standing on another dealer’s lot, cross-shopping your site for inventory and offers (as so many now do) - and they get blasted with blinking, irrelevant ads and cars, or annoying, uninformed chat, you will lose them and a shot at taking that sale.

Dealerships need to do everything possible to make their TRADITIONAL and MOBILE websites smarter. Both need to have tracking and behavioral analytics technology in place. Because that alone can make possible meaningful, informed, high-converting chat – and the ability to show them the right offers, on the right cars, at the right time.

Dealers are just starting to adopt more “responsive,” analytics-powered traditional websites with more targeted engagement functionality. Every single engagement weapon – whether smarter chat and offers – needs to be on your mobile site. Would you ever choose to not personally, relevantly communicate with 30-50% of the people wandering around your showroom?

All the “chat” about how mobile is the future is hardly idle. The “second“ screen will indeed soon overtake the first. It’s not a contest. Make sure BOTH your websites do the exact same thing: use every engagement tool possible to turn more anonymous visitors into chatters, offer-redeemers and lead submitters. And any chat or responsive website provider you now have for your “regular” site should make that happen on mobile for no cost – and with no headaches.


-- By Brad Title, CEO Gubagoo


[1] 40% of all website traffic comes through mobile (2/2014); Edmunds reports 35% of its traffic came via mobile in 2013, vs. 5% in 2010 (10/2013), while the Cardone consultancy reports 50% of dealership traffic coming via mobile at year-end 2013. 

[2] J.D. Power Automotive Mobile Site Study, 2013 

[3] Placed, Inc. & study, 2014

[4] Placed, Inc. & study, 2014

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