Autobytel

Robert Niven
Is anyone working with Autobytel? Are the leads worth the cost? What's your experience with them and what brand are you listing?
John Sevier
Robert, We (Ford) currently work with them. They charge per lead and if you stay on top of them and dispute your bad leads every month it's worth it (for us). The leads that generate off of their website typically (95%) buy something completely different then what they submitted a lead on, and if you approach it that way it should pay off. We cancelled them a while back and noticed a slight drop in sales. After picking them back up, and changing our approach with the leads, we have noticed some profitability with them. I'm not a fan of 3rd Party lead providers but our Internet Department is really strong and they do well with them. I wouldn't suggest picking up more than one 3rd Party lead provider though.
Skutch Henks
Thanks for that information John, I'm also analyzing 3rd party lead providers and we happen to use Autobytel and others, they all have a large amount of quote websites to gather leads per market which seems to be overlapping efforts. What I'm trying to figure out is how do they compare currently to the OEM leads per a dealers market area in relation to incremental profit value. Meaning in your case, Ford.com would be a viable website for a shopper to submit a quote to a dealer in your market area, and from my research OEM leads would also be any dealers best lead provider for new vehicles. John could you share how you feel your Autobytel leads measure up to your OEM (Ford) leads? Also do you currently advertise to any new vehicle shoppers using search engine text ads, PPC/SEM? Thank you in advance.
John Sevier
Skutch,Ford.com (OEM) leads should be and from my experience always have been better than any 3rd party lead provider. There is huge overlap with 3rd party lead providers and that's why I suggest to not go with more than one. PPC is very important and can sometimes be targeted to out perform a 3rd party lead provider depending on your area and market. My personal preference (and what we currently do) is use Autobytel as our one 3rd party lead provider, and invest in PPC. We have noticed after measuring that PPC is very strong for us and I don't see stopping anytime soon.I hope that helps answer your question. It's a busy day and I just quickly typed out my response.
Skutch Henks
Thank you John, yes that's very helpful! I'm discovering the new inventory overlap with 3rd party leads is like you said huge, compared to OEM leads, lot's of duplication of efforts. I think they both are essentially doing the same thing in regards to generating leads and dealers are simply shelling out more per for no valid reason. Also seems like those lead providers only benefit from first time shoppers - maybe just starting their shopping process, meaning if those shoppers didn't find the 3rd party quote site in search maybe the dealer's inventory would be found anyway on PPC or the OEM site in due time. That's a perpetual strategy of a good marketing business online, doesn't mean it's a good spend of ad dollars though for dealers. Also I'm finding there are a lot of leads generated but the sold rate is quite low compared to overall website visits per lead.
Shannon Hammons
We are currently using them. In our area a lot of the leads are in the market but are so far away from us that they aren't giving me many looks.

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