Digital marketing can deliver an array of benefits for your business: from high-level awareness, to brand-building customer engagement, to ready-to-buy leads. When it comes to measuring those benefits, though, it can be difficult to decide which metrics to focus on.
So which data should you really be using to measure success?
No doubt you’re already measuring lead generation. However, the bigger picture in digital marketing is engagement — both upper funnel engagement like web site visits and ad views, and lower funnel engagement like lead submissions. When you're trying to maximise marketing ROI, the goal is to evaluate how well each of your channels perform at both stages – and the challenge is to optimise their potential to turn into sales.
It helps to think of upper funnel engagement in terms of visibility. Visibility may come in the form of online ads, your own website, third-party classified ad sites, email newsletters, social media – or, more likely, some combination of these. At first, it helps to narrow your focus to a handful of marketing channels, especially if it’s your first venture into multi-touch attribution.
Looking at engagement on your own website is a good place to start: consider on-site engagement metrics like visit duration, bounce rates, and page views to capture how people navigate your site. Are some pages more popular than others?
Third party classified sites such as CarGurus are also a great source of upper funnel engagement data. In fact, at CarGurus, it’s important to us that we offer our dealers built-in tools that give them insight into their listings’ visibility on our site as well as other advanced analytics that show how consumers are interacting with their inventory.
Lower funnel engagement metrics are easier to quantify, at least at the bottom of the funnel. Measuring the sources of phone calls, emails, and web leads to see which channels drive the most sales interactions, is a straightforward way to measure ROI.
At this stage, having accurate tracking on third-party sites is essential. You want to have as much information about third-party leads as possible, down to using a specific phone number for each.
But beyond just leads, what you're looking for in lower-funnel metrics are signs of purchase intent – that is, actions shoppers take when they are close to making a purchase. These metrics can also help you understand what your walk-ins are doing before they come in, serving as an advanced indicator of traffic to your physical dealership. If you see, for example, that certain listings on your site are driving more clicks to your directions page, you can quite confidently infer that those vehicles are going to see an uptick in purchase interest.
Third party sources can be useful for this data, too. That’s because classified sites are a popular source of information that cater to low-funnel behaviours – dealership information, operating hours, directions, phone numbers, and so on.
So you should ask your lead providers how many map clicks, directions clicks and the like are occurring on your listings. These aren't leads in the traditional sense, but they are signals that demonstrate strong shopper interest in your vehicles.
If you’re doing multi-touch attribution right, what you’ll soon see is that the lead – or the sale – is far from the full story. Odds are, your shoppers visit a variety of platforms before they submit a lead. Understanding these shoppers and what they're doing before the sale happens will help you make informed marketing decisions and connect with more shoppers in the future.