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Michael Sommerton

DEALER Solutions, a Cox Automotive company, has launched a new specialist advertising agency for dealers with the “specific goal” of reducing the cost-per-lead for car dealers.

Called Digipurple, the agency uses ITS proprietary automated data feed technology to drive online buyer traffic using Facebook and Google directly to individual vehicle detail pages listed on a dealer’s own website.

The company says that sending leads directly to dealers’ listings bypasses lead generation fees charged by third party websites such as Carsales.

The service is available to OEMs and franchised dealers of all sizes as well as independent used car dealers.

The system is based on the Dealer.com website business model operated by Cox Automotive in the United States.

The CEO of Dealer Solutions, Michael Sommerton told GoAutoNews Premium: “It is all about maximising views on dealers websites and maximising views of their specific inventory, reducing the cost per lead.

“Dealers spend a fortune on getting leads but we know through Cox US studies that 83 per cent of consumers visit dealer’s websites as part of their purchase journey.”

“That’s why a specialist automotive advertising agency, backed by specific inventory based data, is so critical to drive down dealer costs and improve online visits to their stock.”

Dealer Solutions says trials it has undertaken with dealers show that the cost per lead is significantly cheaper than a lead from a service like Carsales.

In a one month trial with Prestige Honda in Perth, Digipurple, on an outlay of about $1500, generated 5740 website sessions, an average time on site of 2:07 minutes, 57 phone calls, 88 brochure requests and 148 form leads directly to the dealer website.

In another trial at Westside Auto Wholesale, also in Perth, with a budget of $1300, Digipurple ran Facebook dynamic ads which generated 15,826 additional visitors (up 31 per cent), 24,037 additional vehicle detail page views (up 39 per cent) at a cost per click of six cents and cost per vehicle details page of eight cents.

Both case studies were with Facebook.

Mr Sommerton said that the new agency was being led by experts from the US parent company “who understand how to run a successful advertising agency and understand the skills required for inventory-based online advertising campaigns”.

“Digipurple’s main goal is to emulate the success of Dealer.com in the US,” he said.  

“We have hired experts from Dealer.com. We have not exactly replicated Dealer.com systems but we have replicated the concept on top of our platform which highlights individual dealer’s stock to drive traffic to a particular vehicle.

“That is the success of Dealer.com and that is what we aim to emulate here in Australia.”

Mr Sommerton said the Digipurple concept was very specific.

“If you are interested in a particular year, model, colour and type of a Mazda CX-5, for example, using our data technology we are able to use what we call long tail search descriptors on each particular piece of inventory and we are able to target a campaign directly around particular items of inventory.

“So we are getting as many eyeballs as possible on that particular piece of inventory that people are actually interested in looking at.

“There are many companies out there with generic descriptions which are virtually meaningless. The power of our system is that when they really describe what the car they want is all about we can drive the details of the car to those who are interested those particular features.

“It goes straight to the details page which, on Dealer Solutions website have clear call to actions and, now, the ability to place a deposit,” he said.

“What we are trying to do is to reduce the cost of leads for dealers and the way we want to position Digipurple is that we want to spend dealers’ money incredibly effectively.

“Anyone can take your money as a digital agency and spend it and claim the normal managed fee but we want to work with the dealers to maximise their return or even work with the agency the dealer currently uses to make sure their campaigns are far more effective than they would otherwise would be.”

Mr Sommerton said that the vice-president of advertising at Dealer.com, Chris Smith, was relocating to Australia to lead Digipurple and a number of digital strategists based in the US were working with a new team set up in Australia to run Digipurple under Mr Smith’s leadership.

Mr Sommerton said Digipurple is advertising in its own right and was being run separately to Dealer Solutions.

“While it uses the Dealer Solutions corporate colour of purple and uses the Dealer Solutions data, we felt it was important enough to make it a separate venture and for Chris Smith to really drive the venture as a separate brand within this market,” he said.

“We have the view that this market is very fragmented and that there is really no one advertising agency (doing this). So we are really keen to fill that void and we feel there is a great opportunity to partner with the dealers to do that.

“We have been doing digital advertising under the Dealer Solutions umbrella for a long time but now we want to use a different name and image because what we are doing is unique and very different to Dealer Solutions products.  

“So the existing advertising activities undertaken by Dealer Solutions over the years have been rolled into Digipurple.”

Mr Sommerton said Digipurple had already attracted “dozens” of dealers signing on.

“The interest is incredibly strong. The interest is there in the market, there is no doubt about that,” he said.

Digipurple range of services covers digital advertising, SEO, digital creative, content, reporting and managed social.

By John Mellor

Manheim
DealerCell
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