Three Innovative Marketing Solutions to Measure Auto Purchase Attribution

Understanding the impact of your online advertising is a challenge for all advertisers, but auto manufacturers seem to struggle here the most. Buying a car follows one of the longest sales cycles out there, and it’s an in-person purchase. Sure, certain aspects of auto buying are regularly conducted online, like model research on a manufacturer’s site or negotiating details via email, but the final step of signing an agreement and handing over the keys generally still happens at the dealership. So how can auto advertisers determine if their digital advertising helped to influence a sale? There are a few different options for offline attribution throughout the sales cycle. Capture Dealership Foot Traffic Measuring foot traffic applies offline attribution to the middle of the sales cycle and helps to gauge consideration among consumers. You can use beacon technology to capture customer device IDs as people enter the dealership, and then match those device IDs back to your advertising campaign. This solution will tell you if your advertising got people in the door, and it’s a great way to add real-world results to your upper-funnel metric tracking. Utilize DMV Auto Purchase Data Transactions are the next phase of the sales cycle you can measure with offline attribution. I know you must be thinking, how can I track auto transactions, since cars are usually purchased through finance agreements? Well, it’s a bit more complex than tracking foot traffic, but it is possible to connect household IDs to DMV state auto purchase data to impression data. Goodway Group’s Auto Purchase Attribution solution uses household data from Oracle Data Cloud, DMV purchase data from Polk, and our campaign data to create a proprietary report that shows how many auto purchasers in a month saw your ads. Our buy-through rate compares users who saw your ads and bought a car to users who saw your ad but didn’t purchase, giving you a lift ratio. Tap Into After-Market Credit Card Purchases Finally, you can use credit card data to track after-market sales, like parts & service purchases. While consumers don’t typically buy cars via credit card, they do often pay for parts & service transactions via credit. You can use this data to create a lift study by separating your audience into control and exposed groups. The control group would be a suppression group that won’t see your ads, and the exposed group would be the audience you are advertising to. Then, you’d compare P&S credit card purchase data for both groups to get a true lift on your advertising’s impact since you are comparing users who purchased after seeing an ad to consumers who would have made a purchase anyway. To learn more about auto advertising opportunities, reach out to us at info@goodwaygroup.com.

What Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention Changes Mean for Advertisers

In late 2017, Apple released iOS 11, which included the new Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) feature for Safari. Then, in 2018, Apple announced an update to ITP, further limiting how advertisers can track browsing data using cookies. This is great for consumer privacy, but how will Apple’s latest changes impact your advertising campaigns?

What’s Changed?

For years, Safari has blocked third-party cookies on webpages, but these rules didn’t include first-party cookies or cookie trackers placed on ads. However, with the original introduction of ITP, Safari began deactivating any type of cookie designed to track users across sites after 24 hours — including first-party cookies. After the initial 24-hour tracking window, the cookie only operated as a user login. ITP also deleted tracking cookies entirely if the user didn’t visit the site for more than 30 days. By comparison, the standard cookie in Google AdWords is available for retargeting use for 30 days, and many other bid tools make them available for 90 days. With the newest updates to ITP, the 24-hour tracking window is completely removed, meaning the cookies that many advertisers rely on for retargeting and attributing conversions to the correct campaign element will no longer be able to measure conversions on Safari at all. Reducing the reach and tracking that dynamic ads can have on mobile devices is especially impactful for industries with long sales cycles, such as auto advertisers. By deactivating conversion tracking cookies, such as legacy DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM) iframe or image pixels, Safari prevents advertisers from collecting site visit and browsing behavior data to build personalized content and messaging. Plus, this doesn’t necessarily mean users will see fewer ads — just ones that are more generic and not tailored to their personal interests. Who Could Be Impacted by ITP Changes? Mobile campaigns running on Safari browsers will feel the greatest impact as Safari makes up 50% of the mobile browser share. However, the number of mobile web campaigns pales in comparison to those run in-app, meaning the overall impact on conversion reporting will be relatively limited. Desktop campaigns running on Safari browsers will have few consequences, as Safari’s share on desktop is less than 10%. Mobile in-app campaigns are not affected by ITP since they do not rely on cookies for user tracking. Since mobile activity for most social media platforms happens in-app, those campaigns won’t be significantly disrupted by the change either. Catch Up With These Terms to Know First-Party Cookies – Data owned by the advertiser and collected on its own website. First-party cookies do helpful things, like remember your username and password automatically the next time you log in, but they are also very useful in advertising to build retargeting pools and track conversions that result from ads. Third-Party Cookies – Data owned and collected by an outside company. An easy way to spot third-party cookies is the domain name doesn’t match the website the user is currently visiting. Third-party data is most commonly used in behavioral targeting campaigns. Google Tag Manager (GTM) – A tool that allows marketers to add and update website tags from an external platform, rather than editing their website code directly. Global Site Tags – A new JavaScript tag developed by Google that allows advertisers to send website conversion data to AdWords, DoubleClick, and Google Analytics. Global site tags are ITP-compliant.

Quick Tips for Advertisers

As any digital media buyer will tell you, data on the websites people visit and how they behave on different sites is critical to building a long-term successful campaign. Fortunately, we’re one step ahead to ensure your campaigns stay on track.

  1. If you’re seeing campaign conversions drop and you suspect it might be due to ITP, do an analysis comparing data from your CRM or other marketing management tools to see if it follows a similar trend. While data between platforms will never match 100%, it often follows similar trends.
  2. If you are using legacy DCM iframe or image pixels to track conversions on your site, then you need to replace them with a GTM container tag — unless you have already implemented the pixels via GTM, in which case you are all set. When implementing pixels via GTM, iframe and image DCM pixels are automatically converted into ITP-compliant global site tags, so you will be able to continue tracking conversions coming in from Safari browsers.
  3. Google recently implemented global site tags, which are ITP-compliant and streamline website tagging for all Google products. If you are using a tag manager other than GTM, you need to implement global site tags to continue to send website conversion data to platforms like AdWords and Google Analytics. Otherwise, you may see a drop in your conversion data moving forward.
  4. Take advantage of the growth of in-app traffic and expand your media strategy beyond the browser to limit your exposure to ITP. And if your brand has an app, make sure you are maximizing downloads with the latest strategies.

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Still Clinging to Fixed CPMs? Then You’re Probably Missing Out

Like any auction-based environment, CPM prices fluctuate minute to minute based on the competitive market, seasonality, time of day, and so many other factors. So how can digital advertisers ensure they are paying the best possible price for every impression they bid on? It starts with setting up your ad campaigns to maximize programmatic’s ability to take advantage of auction mechanics. Programmatic is designed to spend your media dollars more efficiently, but only if you let it. Here’s how to ensure you don’t miss out:

Fixed CPMs vs. dCPMs

For years, fixed cost-per-thousand (CPM) pricing was the main buying model for advertising. Carried over from traditional media, fixed CPMs gave advertisers new to digital a way to estimate ad-serving costs and to guarantee a certain number of impressions – making the transition from traditional to digital media buying seem that much easier. This is because from a fixed number of impressions, you can plan for specific reach and TRP numbers, but this convenience comes at a cost. It’s simply not the most effective way to buy or measure digital media. Consider this: Every auction-based platform from AdWords to DSPs works dynamically in real time; so why shouldn’t your buying model? Dynamic CPMs (dCPMs) are native to digital advertising and give modern advertisers a better way to buy. With dCPMs, you still set a budget, but the price adjusts in real time depending on the website, placements, day, time, etc., so you can maximize your spend on the impressions that matter the most to your goal – be it website visits, purchases, etc. And that’s just the beginning …

Programmatic’s True Value

Too often, cheap inventory is fraud-ridden and won’t actually improve your business results. With a dCPM model, there is no advantage to serving to these kinds of low-quality impressions. Instead, dCPM focuses on hitting the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most important to you by flexing the spend up or down based on the likelihood that the impression will give you the result you want, such as a conversion. This flexibility also means as the campaign progresses, you can reinvest any cost savings back into the campaign to maximize the budget. For example, if you purchase the inventory at a lower price than expected, you will receive more impressions to fulfill the budget and vice versa. Plus, dCPM pricing gives you a better view into where your partner’s true value lies – not simply in the delivery, but in the strategy behind the execution. How they adjust bids. How they ensure high-quality impressions. How they gather and analyze data to help inform your next campaign so you continue to improve month after month. Taking advantage of auction mechanics to gain efficiencies and insights like these are the real benefit of running programmatically. And they can only be fully achieved on a dCPM model.

Shifting Models

Programmatic pricing has become a hot-button conversation in the ad tech industry. As IO-based business is decreasing with more and more digital advertisers embracing a flat-fee model, they are getting access to a dedicated team, a suite of premium data products, and valuable strategy and analytics that couldn’t have been cost-effectively included on a fixed CPM plan. In many cases, these models also include performance-based bonuses for hitting certain benchmarks against campaign goals using dCPM strategies – the CPM is irrelevant when actual results are the focus. The idea is that this gives you the accountability you want from partners, and it enables programmatic experts to put more skin in the game. But no matter the partner you choose, one thing is for sure, if you continue to cling onto fixed CPMs, then you’re going to miss out on the real benefits of programmatic. Reach out to us to find out more about how you can spend your media dollars more efficiently.