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This week a Google AdWords approved vendor, in the Chrysler Digital program, told us that they couldn't connect the dealer's Google AdWords account with the dealership's Google Analytics account. We asked why. We were told that it was a Shift Digital policy.
We called Shift Digital and the dealer support representative confirmed that they would not allow the company to connect the two accounts. No reason was given other than it was the company policy.
Before I publish my full report on this dangerous decision and the current advertising reporting pratices supervised by Shift Digital, I wanted to give both Chrysler Digital, Chrysler Dealers, Approved OEM Vendors, and Shift Digital an opportunity to reach out to me and explain their position.
I wonder where Google stands on this matter? Google specifically recommends that Google Analytics and AdWords are connected. In this article, Google states that:
Linking a Google Analytics property to your AdWords account can help you analyze customer activity on your website. This information can shed light on how much of your website traffic or sales comes from AdWords, and help you improve your ads and website.
More specifically Google states that the connect allows Chrysler dealers to "automatically view your AdWords click and cost data alongside your Analytics site engagement data." In other words, dealers can inspect the click quality of the AdWords investments!
Ooops..maybe the fact that the connection shows campaign costs in Analytics, which would expose just how much money is being funneled to agencies and the OEM, is the reason behind this edict?
My reaction to this decision was that Shift Digital must think that Chrysler dealers are like mushrooms. They can feed them shit and keep them in the dark.
Will the Chrysler Dealer Advisory Board stand up? Will Google?
Without the connection of Analytics and AdWords dealers cannot see what specific path consumers take when they click on an ad from a specific AdWords Campaign Ad Group. They cannot see which Ad Groups are generating the most SRP and VDP views.
Without the two accounts connected Chrysler dealers can not inspect and/or improve their AdWords click quality based on website actions. They would have to trust that their AdWords vendor is doing a fantastic job.
Is the real reason why the connection has been denied, is so that Shift Digital does not want dealers to understand their business model? Are they trying to hide just how much their Digital Advertising program is padded with fees?
The connection clearly show how much Google is charging for campaigns which may not match the Chrysler bill from the approved vendors.
Do they believe that Chrysler dealers are like mushrooms and that but removing the Google recommended AUDIT tools in Analytics, they will not complain?
Do all dealers want to inspect their AdWords campaigns? No. But the Chrysler dealers that are truly operating in the digital age, and that have a passion for excellence, do want this audit function enabled.
Since, Google demands that agencies provide TRANSPARENT reporting (see: http://bit.ly/1zcCoNw) to customers, will Google step up and tell Shift Digital and Google AdWords approved SMB partners to stop blocking AdWords and Analytics connections?
It takes one minute to connect the two accounts so this is not a task that is unreasonable. In seems to me, that Google is saying that Chrysler dealers can DEMAND the transparency that the connections delivers:
For advertisers to fully realize the benefits of advertising on Google, they need to have the right information to make informed decisions. Therefore, we require all of our third-party partners to be transparent with information that affects these decisions. In addition to meeting the requirements outlined below, third parties must make reasonable efforts to provide their customers with other relevant information when requested.
I have been told by vendors that Shift Digital operates like the "digital mafia" in the United States. No vendors DARE to speak against the Company in fear that they will lose their OEM contract. Does anyone want to confirm that opinion?
Shift Digital extracts a payment from vendors in the Chrysler program to fund its services, and the payment percentage of each monthly retail transaction may shock you. That is another article in itself.
I know many of the Chrysler approved AdWords vendors provide a clear statement of fees when they operate Google AdWords programs for dealers outside of the Chrysler program. So, are they complicit in this deception? Is Google complicit as well?
Does Google encourage their approved agencies to charge for AdWords services that are not performed to build a "bank" of unused cash? Does Google allow approved advertising partners to ESTIMATE monthly AdWords bills? If there are unused AdWords funds, in any given month, should they be withheld from the customer's knowledge?
I think Google would say "no" on all cases but I hope that they will answer that questions directly. As you will soon learn, the sloppy billing and reporting practices that I have discovered in the Chrysler Digital Program are designed to benefit only one company.
Could Chrysler dealers be paying much more or getting much less for the OEM approved Chrysler digital services, because of the Shift Digital management model? It is clear that the OEMs like outsourcing all digital decisions regardless of the fees charged to dealers and vendors.
Shouldn't Chrysler dealers demand transparency from their OEM advertising programs or has Shift Digital grown to0 big and influential?
A simple solution would be to allow the recommend connection and just be honest with Chrysler dealers about how much of their spend is going to Google Advertising, how much is going to management by vendors, and how much Shift Digital receives for being the manager of all things digital.
I'll give all parties involved till May 4th to reach out and contact me about this matter. Any calls or emails can be kept confidential if you would like to remain anonymous. I hope that the executives at Chrysler, Shift Digital, and Google will step up and clarify their position.
You can send me email or contact me on my cell at 732.672.2356. I would also like to hear from dealers who object to this practice and have contacted their Chrysler representatives.
SUPPORTERS OF TRANSPARENCY: Please share this post on social media and like this post. I will be starting a petition for Chrysler dealers to sign. The more dealers we can reach in the next few weeks the better.