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From: Jared Hamilton
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Amy Taggart

Amy Taggart Marketing Manager

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When I Say "Third Party Leads", What Does That Mean To You?

Inventory leads? Finance leads? Internet leads?

How about all of the above?

Sitting here writing in my office in Richmond, it never occurred to me that there might be some confusion around that term. I should have gotten a clue when DrivingSales.com eliminated the "Third Party Leads" category from their product listings and moved us under "Used Car Advertising".

That is not what we do, and I don't think anyone would know to look for our finance leads there. We might get lucky if they search for "Carloan.com" here, if they know us already and think to do that.

Try this yourselves - do a Google search for "third party leads" and see what comes up.

Surprisingly, most of the results on page one have to do with third party leads for the automotive industry. Not surprisingly, none of the PPC ads in my results had the whole string "third party leads" included. (Check out the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find out why.)

It did, however, point me to this DealerRefresh transcription of an NADA 2010 panel called "Perfecting the Lead Mix for Your Dealership" that discussed the menu of lead choices available today and the different types of sales styles and follow up processes required for each.

Great read, by the way.

In this case, if you look closely, the "independent internet lead" - as the Dealix rep prefers to call them - refers mainly to inventory leads as far as I can tell. Those are very different from finance leads, where for the most part the consumer has not decided on a particular make and model.

I'll take a closer look at the differences in the next post. In the meantime, comment and let me know - what does the term "third party leads" mean to you?

 

Jim Bell
Amy...a lead is a lead no matter where it comes from. It is all online advertising in my eyes, and the call to actions may be a little different on all of those sites. Yes, it may be a pay per lead or just a blanket charge for listing the inventories online, but we pay for it regardless. I call a 3rd party lead anything that isn't from our website. If it's not from there, it is a 3rd party, period. 3rd party sites are advertising with hopes that they will walk in, call, or submit the lead for more info. That's just my 2 cents.
Bryan Armstrong
Amy, I look at a 3rd Party lead as any lead that did not originate from real estate under my direct control. So by that definition, AT and Cars.com, where they submit on MY inventory (though many would argue it's not under my control, I price, merchandise,and control the display, therefore I control)falls under ADVERTISING just as an old liner ad in the paper would. Leads that are more generic such as Edmunds, carloan.com, kbb,Costco etc. are 3rd party. I can customize the approach and handling of those by site and source, but I do NOT control the site they were generated from. I'm not saying it's right, it's just how I measure it.
Amy Taggart
Thanks for responding Jim and Bryan - that bears out what I've been hearing in the field from my reps and points to one of the challenges of differentiating what we offer. And I'll be pointing to your responses in my next post...you should be used to being the spotlight by now!
Bart Wilson
Interesting discussion Amy. I would define a third party lead as something I pay for that wasn't generated by my dealership directly. As the industry changes the more important question may be how do you measure the performance of a lead source, not where or how you got it.
Amy Taggart
Thanks, Bart. I think you're right, especially as even more dealers get more involved in lead generation and start building portfolios of lead sources, including their own websites.

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