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From: Jared Hamilton
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Devorah Wolf

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What Is Smart Targeting, and Why Should Your Dealership Care?

Smart targeting is becoming a popular term in the automotive space. But with every buzz word, it’s important to understand the actual meaning.  What is smart targeting and how can it benefit your dealership’s website?

First, a definition:

Smart targeting is the use of AI (artificial intelligence) technology to predict the interests of website visitors and target them with relevant content and offers at optimal times.

Let’s break that down.

Hopefully you have lots of content on your site: information for every customer, from the late stage shopper seriously considering a particular model to the first-time browser to the service customer who needs an oil change. Getting all that content up is super important.   

What smart targeting does is take it to the next level: it takes your content and special offer overlays and targets them to the right customer at the right time. That way, you can build on customers' interests and provide each one with opportunities to convert when interest is high.

Here are some examples:

  • Someone browsing VDPs can be shown an offer on that particular vehicle after having a few moments to read and research on their own. Because they are demonstrating interest in that vehicle, this offer is useful for them, and is offered at a time they will likely convert.
  • The first-time visitor will see an offer for a holiday sale, not the second they arrive onsite, but after 15 seconds or so, enough time to get oriented. Note: this customer will not see a specific vehicle offer because they are likely still shopping around and not ready to choose a car yet.

How does smart targeting actually work?

The technology works like this: a system based on algorithms and machine learning tracks visitor data such as location, browser language, and time of day. It also notes behaviors including site visits, time onsite, and VDP views. Using this information, the system creates segments of visitors, such as early-stage shoppers, late-stage shoppers, shoppers in a particular location, and so on, and predicts the interests of each segment. With segments in place, site visitors can be categorized and offered content they will likely want. Finally, their responses are recorded– did they convert or not?– to improve segments and future predictions.

In non-technology terms, smart targeting is a system that behaves like a great salesperson, responding to customer interests, anticipating their questions, and helping them find the products and deals that interest them.

How does smart targeting benefit my dealership?

Smart targeting is a tool that brings online car shoppers unprecedented levels of personalization on dealership website. This means:

  1. Improved advertising ROI. When customers convert on your site, the ad dollars you spend bringing them there pay off. You also save on retargeting.
  2. A competitive edge. In today’s market, 55% of customers are willing to pay more for better customer service. The dealership that can provide it from the moment customers arrive onsite will win over those customers, drawing them away from the competition.
  3. More leads. Recent research shows that 74% of customers get frustrated with content that is irrelevant to their interests. Personalization is an effective way to get more leads. Smart targeting is the key to personalization.

Are you using smart targeting on your dealership website? Is it helping you get more leads?

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