Last-click attribution is dead. And major data publishers know it, as evidenced by Google’s attempts to improve its attribution capabilities. For many auto dealers, Google’s tools, which default to last-click attribution, fail to measure the effectiveness of auto dealers’ marketing spend in an omnichannel world. As a result, dealers are over investing in tactics such as paid search with limited payback.
To master digital, auto dealers need to recognize all the media that determine what, where, and from whom consumers purchase vehicles – or what is known as multi-touch attribution. In digital, multi-touch attribution gives credit where credit is due – similar to an ice hockey game where players are credited with assists for passing puck to the team mate who scores a goal. Multi-touch attribution provides insight into how all the players contributed.
For some time, dealers have been telling me that tools such as Google Analytics provide, at best, a glimpse of last-click attribution, meaning that dealers lack a true understanding of all the touchpoints that influence the shopper’s journey.
I have some new hard numbers to complement dealers’ experiences, courtesy of Clarivoy.
For context: Clarivoy provides proprietary software products that help businesses measure the return on their marketing spend. The Clarivoy Multi-Touch Attribution solution is designed to help dealers understand how all their digital marketing investment efforts -- not just the last click or interaction -- influence the car buying journey.
Recently more than 100 Cars.com dealer customers integrated the Clarivoy Multi-Touch Attribution solution into their Google Analytics software. We suspected that Google Analytics was failing to recognize the true influence of third-party sites such as Cars.com, and we believed Clarivoy’s product would expose those limitations.
Our hunch was correct. As Clarivoy announced July 11, dealers using last-click attribution with Google Analytics are not able to accurately attribute the value of third-party sites such as Cars.com. For instance, on average, dealers who implemented the multi-touch attribution solution saw conversions on their sites attributed to Cars.com increase by 37 percent -- with a 20 percent decrease in cost per conversion after two months on the trial.
The results were even more interesting when dealers considered the conversions that occur directly on Cars.com. Adding Cars.com data (e.g., Cars.com leads) to the multi-touch attribution model allowed one dealer to identify more than 11,000 conversion events that happened on the Cars.com site – on top of the original 103 reported by Google Analytics!
This trial use of the Clarivoy solution provides some important take-aways:
The disconnect between consumer behavior and dealers’ marketing investments has some important consequences. Dealers:
The solution to this disconnect is for dealers to use multi-attribution tools that look before the last click. Once dealers are set up for success, they can adjust their marketing spend accordingly – and start reaping the benefits of true insight into consumer behavior. What are you waiting for?