Clarivoy & Cars.com study spots limitations of last-click attribution

COLUMBUS, Ohio - 

Here’s another way store managers can measure how impactful — both from reach and cost perspectives — their online presence is.

Dealers using Google Analytics are now able to accurately attribute the value of third-party sites such as Cars.com, according to the initial findings from a trial use of Clarivoy’s Multi-Touch Attribution solution.

In an April trial with Cars.com, officials highlighted more than 100 Cars.com dealer customers upgraded their Google Analytics platform with Clarivoy’s Multi-Touch Attribution solution. The Clarivoy 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.

The company indicated the initial use of Clarivoy’s solution revealed that Google Analytics misses the cost-effective conversion value of 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 after two months in the trial.

Clarivoy pointed out that the results were even more dramatic when dealers considered the conversions that occurred directly on Cars.com. The addition of Cars.com data — Cars.com leads, vehicle description pages (VDPs), and trackable walk-ins — to this multi-touch attribution model allowed one dealer to identify 11,390 conversion events that happened on the Cars.com site in addition to the original 103 reported by Google Analytics.

According to Clarivoy chief executive officer Steve White, dealers typically rely on Google Analytics to help them understand the impact of their advertising. However, White insisted the true value of a third-party auto site doesn’t show up in Google Analytics as it is by default set up to give all of the credit to the last click.

“Typically, what we see is a lot of third-party websites do not get the credit they deserve because in most cases the last engagement that occurs with the dealer’s website is either branded search, organic or direct traffic,” White said. “As a result, sites such as Cars.com become invisible to Google Analytics when trying to evaluate performance.

“Dealers needed a solution that helps them see the actual impact a partner like Cars.com really brings and the ability to compare that to their other marketing channels in one dashboard,” he continued.

Cars.com chief revenue officer John Clavadetscher reacted to the trial findings, too.

“Time and time again, we see dealer customers overspending on paid search, because they are only measuring marketing impact based on the last click,” Clavadetscher said.

“By understanding the full customer journey leading up to the last click, dealers are able to better understand the influence that Cars.com has on the path to purchase and make more informed decisions about how to allocate their marketing spend,” he went on to say.

When shopping online, many customers view a dealer’s VDPs or submit an inquiry right on the Cars.com website, and this data is never reflected in Google Analytics. Clarivoy’s native integration can offer several benefits including:

• Clarivoy’s Attribution Channels classify data more logically and accurately specifically for dealers

• Dealers can apply cost data from all digital marketing investments to evaluate the true cost per engagement and cost per lead using Clarivoy's proprietary multi-touch attribution model

• Insight into Cars.com conversion activity, including VDPs, lead submissions and Lot Insights data

“The biggest differentiator of our solution for dealers is our independent, unbiased approach for analyzing and reporting data. We don’t have a stake in the game,” White said.

Clarivoy’s Multi-Touch Sales Attribution platform can focus on user-level attribution, allowing dealers to transparently view a consumer’s full purchase path, sorting and ranking the influence of each channel’s contribution — paid search, display ads, TV, email, third-party websites, organic search, social and brand website — to understand what is really driving sales.

For a copy of the Clarivoy/Cars.com case study, . 

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