Notifications & Messages

Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
Hey - It’s time to join the thousands of other dealer professionals on DrivingSales. Create an account so you can get full access to the articles, discussions and people that are shaping the future of the automotive industry.
Ian Cruickshank

Ian Cruickshank VP of Sales and Marketing

Exclusive Blog Posts

Why So Many Options If You Don't Pay Attention to The Source?

Why So Many Options If You Don't Pay Attention to The Source?

Is there a lot of thought that goes into deciding which call to actions to offer on the VDP’s? Or is it a constant free for all, or worse an aftertho…

3 Reasons Why Loyalty to Technology is Greater than Loyalty to Cars

3 Reasons Why Loyalty to Technology is Greater than Loyalty to Cars

Despite efforts to chase down loyalty in the automotive industry -  the path to a repeat purchase is an even tougher feat. Here are three reasons why …

Dispel Fears About the Auto Industry with Your Recruiting

Dispel Fears About the Auto Industry with Your Recruiting

If you were to ask most sales managers what customers don’t like about the automotive industry when shopping for a vehicle? They usually say, “…

How is Your 'Why Buy Here' Messaging?

How is Your 'Why Buy Here' Messaging?

What type of 'Why Buy Here' messaging are you using to drive in customers? Watch the video to learn more.   …

Give Customers a Refreshing, Old Ad Message

Give Customers a Refreshing, Old Ad Message

If you’re the average dealer who’s trying to grow business, the fixed operations departments are one of the best bets you can make. Once you br…

Why Direct-to-VDP advertising is better than other landing pages?

Why is direct-to-VDP advertising better than landing a buyer on a typical landing page? The adage is true, "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” I’ve referenced the Punchline Effect in previous webinars wherein, the more clicks a customer has to navigate through on your site, the more search abandonment your analytics will record. So if the goal is to sell more cars then the more buyers you lose, the fewer cars you can count on selling.


Get from search to sell … faster.

Consider this, if your website is the online version of your dealership, is there any logic in having a buyer arrive at your lot and then wander around until they find the car they wanted? Of course not, so why would that be okay online?

Let’s examine this more closely with our poor, wandering buyer on the car lot. If they are left to their own devices to wander the car lot looking for the car they came to find, there is a pretty good chance they will leave without making a purchase. If they arrive at the dealership and are escorted by a salesperson directly to the car(s) they are interested in and receive a personalized product recommendation; they are very likely to (at least)  take a test drive.


This is a simplified example of why Direct-to-VDP works much better than ads leading to typical landing pages or your home page. Buyers want to feel that the dealership understands their needs and curates a personal experience for them, whether this happens online or on-site. In this digital age we can show the in-market shopper the car(s) they are most interested in - the clearest path is to show them that car and click to that car’s VDP. 

So, what is a high-value ad? We like to define it as - A relevant advertisement that takes a buyer directly to the vehicle they’re searching for and prompts that consumer to visit the showroom or connect with the dealership.

How will you know if your advertisement is working to achieve these results? One clear way would be to measure VDP Efficiency (The number of VDP views / number of sessions for a traffic source).  I’ve discussed this very topic in a webinar to help set up your Google Analytics to measure that statistic.

Ads designed to go directly to VDP typically have an efficiency rating of between 65 and 75%, in other words, for every 1000 people looking at the ads, roughly 650-750 click through to view a VDP. The last 25% - 35% are typically a buyer clicking on the company’s logo. In our world - this clicks go to the SRP that is relevant. Example: a sedan intender will get an SRP with sedans.











Whether clicking directly on the VDP or going to a relevant SRP, that is high-value advertising. This type of curated advertising experience will drive in-market buyers to your site more effectively and efficiently.

Direct to VDP is King.

In today’s world of thin margins and ultra-competitive sales, it’s important to not waste advertising dollars on “maybes”. There is no reason to forget SEM, Adwords, and typical landing pages entirely because they obviously have their merits. When you look at the cost per click of Adwords, it’s pretty normal to think you’re getting a great deal. When you dig deeper, you’ll likely realize that you probably need to spend $12 or more per VDP view, that’s likely not as cost effective as you may have thought.

Direct-to-VDP advertising is more effective at driving people to see your inventory and each click is going directly to a VDP rather than a list page. Instead of paying for clicks that may (or may not) result in the buyer seeing the car they want to buy, you’re paying for clicks directly to the car they DO want.

I’ll go back to the analogy that your website (as well as your advertising) is an extension of your dealership. Think of a buyer coming into your showroom, asking for the blue Camry they’re interested in. Your salesperson tells him that the Camry line is in the back near the fence and to call him when they have found the right one. This is not unlike the typical landing page experience.

Direct to VPD Ads are the equivalent of having the salesperson walk the buyer directly to the car they asked for. Isn’t that what you train your staff to do anyway? More importantly, this is the experience (as a buyer) you would want to have. As an extension of your business, your advertising should be as good as your best salespeople.

A final truth about today’s consumers: 54% would consider ending their relationship with a retailer if they are not given tailor-made, relevant content and offers. This will be the most important fact when determining when to turn to Direct-to-VDP advertising. The simple truth is, today’s buyers want to feel they are the most important customer you have. They want to feel that from your dealership team, your website and your advertising.


Be sure to subscribe and we’ll talk about personalization and relevancy in the coming weeks.

eric brown

So understand your premise but data on over 10K dealer sites disagree.....over the past 3 years data has shown much higher bounce rates on VDP than home page. this is the opposite of what was normal just a few years ago. When diving deeper it isclear all those direct to VDP campaigns were the cause. 

The reason.....its really hard to buy audience segments tightly targeted enough and with enough shoppers to align message with page content/vdp. That is, how many Honda Fit shoppers are there....not that many to warrant the labor to build and manage a campaign for a local dealership and thus your agency ends up buying a segment of all Honda shoppers, and in fact for many ad nets/DSPs you can't buy at teh model now when the non-Fit shoppers included in your audience segments click through to a Fit VDP they bounce. Which then leads to less effective campaign given all those bouncing Accord shoppers were never given the oppty on your home page to select the content/inventory they were in search of. And, now you just sacrificed a bunch of Accord buyers for a few Fit buyers.

Though the theory of aligning content with intent is great, but in practice it rarely happens due to economics and technical limitations thus fails.

PS: Do agree with your assessment of SEM clicks...way to expensive and the cost per lead is north of 300 on average (avg. shopper clicks 6X to same dealership), plus over 70% of those clicks come from keywords using dealer name or make and market...could have got those for free.

Ian Cruickshank

Hi Eric, thanks so much for your comment, and I have to agree with you because (while I did infer it) I did not explicitly say "Direct to VDP is King - when using targeted dynamic inventory ads.

It’s a shame to say this in the Driving Sales environment as it will seem self-serving but, your second paragraph virtually describes what our Auto Audience Network does - you can have a look at We’ve built a DMP that enables us to segment individual users and match them with the vehicles that our dealer partners have available for sale. As you’ve stated, this approach would work in theory - I can tell you from the experience of our customers it does work quite well.

The other part that we should look at is that it sounds like the Dataium study is describing success or failure by measuring only the bounce rate of the home page vs the VDP. Knowing how much data Dataium is capable of capturing, you have likely looked much deeper than bounce. My concern is that comparing only Bounce rate on a Home page vs. a VDP is only testing the theory that users won’t find what they want on Home page and they need to dig deeper vs. the VDP that tells them all they want to know about a specific car and they either convert or leave (aka. Bounce). I think this is a hypothesis that we can all agree on without a study.

 Unlock all of the community & features  Join Now