Google’s 14th annual Think Auto event in Toronto was attended by over 1,500 people and featured one hugely successful DG (dealer group) that talked through their success with digital marketing. General Manager and Vice President of Paragon Honda and Acura, Brian Benstock, enthusiastically shared highlights from their journey into the digital world including how, with Google’s help, decreased their cost per sale from $600 to $175 and increased their YoY (year over year) new car sales by 40% for one Honda dealership.
In an age of digital disruption, Brian Benstock and his team were inspired by eCommerce giant Amazon’s business model and applied it to the automotive business by offering home pick-up and delivery to their clients and prospects in New York City.
“Consumers want to shop on their own terms and also want to control the process,” Benstock noted. He also publicly accepted that he disliked change – just like his counterparts across North America – but had to embrace it for survival. That acceptance led to his group’s rising success. At a time when 86% of viewers skip TV advertisements and NBA playoff TV viewership hit multi-year lows with double digit declines, he decided to leverage the power of online video instead.
“YouTube, on mobile alone, reaches more 18 to 49 year old’s than any broadcast or cable TV network. 50% of online shoppers say video has helped them decide which specific brand or product to buy,” he shared.
Starting off with several versions of six second bumper ads, Brian decided to have 15 second skippable ad versions and even five minute test drive videos of all new models arriving at their dealerships. The results were unbelievable: They saw a total of 10.5K car sales (new and used) in 2018 and 42K store visits. Over 18.7K store visits were driven by Google video and search alone.
YouTube contributed to 42% of the store visits but was only 8% of their overall marketing budget. They were able to beat the industry average of $600 cost per sale, coming in at $175, which helped them re-invest some of those savings into reaching out to more targeted audiences.
And those six second bumper ads were hugely successful in helping them get 220% average gross profit increase per repair order. “We realized that 80% of customers prefer to have their car serviced without going to the dealership. It was a $485 billion opportunity in 2018 of which only 20% of the service repair was captured by dealers. A consumer getting upset at his wasted time in a dealership is likely to spend only $295 per repair order in-store. If you save them time and show them what else their car may need, they’re much more likely to ask us to go ahead with the repair,” he added.
The End Results: 25% increase in customer pay repair order count; 67% increase in hours produced per month and 13% increase in effective labour rate (due to almost no need to discount repairs and services).
Would you like to test video as an effective medium for your dealership advertising?
— Sparsh Sharma – Digital Strategist, TRFFK