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Iris Kelley

Iris Kelley Director, B2B Marketing

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Solving the Attribution Problem in Automotive

Customer obsession and identity mapping will take advertising and attribution to the next level in the automotive industry. This was the key takeaway from a presentation that CMO Brooke Skinner Ricketts and LiveRamp Chief Evangelist Andrew Kasprzycki delivered at the Automotive Analytics and Attribution Summit November 19. 

Chasing the Holy Grail

Brooke and Andrew asserted that at a time when automotive dealerships are battling disruptive forces such as the rise of digital retailing, the keys to survival are data intelligence and customer obsession. 

“We are all ultimately chasing the holy grail – a perfect understanding of the consumer,” Brooke said. “This insight should deliver the data needed to make our marketing more efficient and effective while giving us a clear understanding of how your marketing dollars are performing on each channel.”

But unfortunately, as an industry, we still have work to do in obtaining a clear understanding of the customer, and “dealers are believing false attribution models and wasting valuable dollars as a result,” she added.

Four Attribution Challenges

Andrew and Brooke noted that understanding consumers is getting even harder as shoppers navigate across a broad tableau of devices and channels. Attribution models are not working because the amount of data associated with each person is atomized across this complex journey.

As Andrew said, “When data is separated from the human we create inefficiencies.”

He said today’s attribution models face specific challenges across four dimensions:

  • 1 Devices. The number of devices connected to the internet isexpected to nearly triple to 30 billion by 2020 and then nearly triple again to 80 billion five years later.[i]


  • 2 Digital Platforms. There are 3,500+ media and marketing platforms that consumers interact with on devices each using its own identifier for the consumer.[ii]


  • 3 Data. The amount of data available continues to grow. Connected devices produce 8 Zettabytes of data per year.[iii]By 2025, 80 billion devices are expected to produce 180 zettabytes of data. The exploding volume and frequency of data produces a massive opportunity for marketers to understand their current and potential consumers in a hyper-focused way. But it also represents a significant risk in that you might be crushed under a 180 zettabyte balloon if you don’t get in front of this now.


  • 4 Identity resolution. The underlying challenge in making sense of all this data is what the market talks about as identity resolution. According to Andrew, identity resolution is the ability to connect people, data, and devices, across any channel and at any level of granularity.But doing so iseasier said than done, both because of the quantity of data available and because identifiers for an individual are constantly changing and can quickly become outdated.


  • “Individuals interact with brands through multiple digital devices and channels, and hundreds of different marketing platforms, each with their own identifier for a consumer,” he said. “Just connecting these data points in the digital world is extremely challenging, and tying them back to offline identity and data even more so.”


People-Based Marketing and LiveRamp are working together to address these challenges in a powerful way: by combining’s valuable consumer data with dealers’ DMS data to deliver insights down to the individual and household level. Put another way, “We are helping dealerships embrace people-based marketing -- or synthesizing customer data from multiple sources, building a rich profile of the customer, and more effectively reaching customers on any device,” Andrew said. “People-based marketing It connects brands with real people -- not audience or device groups.” 

According to Brooke and Andrew, the relationship will offer these advantages to dealers: 

1 Reduce waste in spend by serving advertising to the person and not the device -- and therefore reduce any wasted frequency. 

2 Drive more leads by recognizing when customers are back in market for a car even many years later – and send them personalized communication. Dealers will also have the means to customize communication to consumers at different points of life change, such as when they get married. In addition, dealers will have a better way to customize advertising to car shoppers based off their past car purchases as well as their site and on-the-lot behavior on 

3 Trade up and trade in shoppers. Dealers will target people whose leases are almost up to trade them up to the next model; and geo-target people who have engaged with their dealership online but are now visiting competitive dealerships. 

4 Offer real-time notification and activation. Dealers will know the moment someone lands on their lot and all necessary details to be able to create more intelligent connections and close more deals, faster. 

5 Optimize for the future by understanding which messages resonate the best with different customer segments and optimize messaging. 

Working with LiveRamp, will be able to understand the totality of the car buying cycle at the individual or household level and be able to help dealers get more qualified leads and sales.

“But we can’t do it alone,” Brooke said. “We need to come together to improve the industry as a whole.”

Sign up here to be a beta partner with us and on the frontlines of moving this industry forward. 





[i]Forbes, “152,000 Smart Devices Every Minute in 2025: IDC Outlines the Future of Smart Things,” March 3, 2016.

[ii]The DMA, “LiveRamp and Adobe Technologies Among 2017 DMA Innovation Award Winners,” August 29, 2017.

[iii]Forbes, “152,000 Smart Devices Every Minute In 2025: IDC Outlines The Future of Smart Things,” March 3, 2016.

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