Even the biggest automotive marketing companies can run into trouble when it comes to consistently generating high-quality leads. Like other industries where customers make big-ticket purchases, the path to conversion can stretch across weeks or months and involve plenty of research and deliberation on the buyer’s part.

Without a way to properly analyze leads across multiple channels, you can be left with attribution blind spots that put a serious dent in your automotive marketing efforts — you might double down on channels that aren’t effective at driving business, or you might fail to capture some leads entirely.

This attribution challenge is something that the Humberview Group knows all too well. Based out of Toronto, Ontario, Humberview represents more than 30 automotive dealerships in Canada’s greater Toronto and Great Lakes regions. Their dealerships sell just about every car make and model you can name, from Chevys and Buicks to Volkswagens and Toyotas.

The challenges of multichannel marketing

Despite their industry-leading status, Humberview just wasn’t satisfied with the accepted wisdom about how they should market their dealerships. Many in automotive marketing favor bringing in leads through website form submissions, since they’re cheap and simple to implement, but Humberview found this just wasn’t enough.

“In the auto business, there’s a lot of research that suggests that two-thirds of website visitors do not contact a dealer on digital channels right after visiting the page,” says Maxim Poliakov, digital marketing manager at the Humberview Group.

Car buyers instead might do some additional research on a model they’re interested in, and then visit the showroom to look at the car themselves. And this presents difficulties that are well-known to anyone who deals with multichannel attribution models: All of these interactions are extremely valuable when it comes to analytics and attribution, but unless you’re able to properly capture and document all that data, you’re missing out on valuable touchpoints that can illuminate just how effectively your marketing is performing.

“So now, when we think about that one-third of visitors who do contact a dealer, an even smaller percentage of that are the ones who prefer form submissions,” Poliakov explains. “If you’re focusing your analytics only on form submissions, you’re missing a lot of conversion data, you’re missing out on many many leads, and it’s much harder to make effective decisions about your automotive marketing campaigns.”

An open API and CRM integrations make automotive marketing easy

Inbound service and sales calls are a big part of Humberview’s day-to-day operations, so they recognized that advanced call tracking and analytics could bring considerable benefits to their business. They had previously been using a barebones call tracking service that came bundled with their website provider, but they recently redesigned their website and switched to a new platform that didn’t include call tracking features.

With the website redesign presenting them with an opportunity for a fresh start, Poliakov and the rest of his team decided to make the switch to CallRail. Right away, they discovered there were real and tangible benefits to unifying the analytics and reporting for their different advertising channels — this approach helps them glean valuable high-level insights about how their automotive marketing initiatives are performing.

“The main feature that got us interested in CallRail was definitely Dynamic Number Insertion, and how that really improved how we could track leads in GoogleAnalytics,” Poliakov says. “Also, our last provider didn’t have a proper API, and their reporting system was very clumsy. With CallRail’s open API and more advanced reporting, we’ve been able to integrate with many different platforms, like GoogleAnalytics and Google Ads ( formerly AdWords,) and also with our internal analytics platform.”

Now that everything is unified under a single dashboard, Humberview can achieve a full-spectrum view of their marketing efforts, Poliakov says: “It’s awesome, and not only has this saved a lot of time, it has made our marketing so much more effective and more efficient.”

The result: More leads, lower CPL, and optimized conversions

With CallRail’s Keyword Tracking and Dynamic Number Insertion fully integrated into their workflow, Humberview could take a big-picture approach to analyzing how customers were interacting with them. By fully documenting and analyzing the various touchpoints that leads interact with during their purchase journey, Poliakov and his team could suss out which of their channels were the best at driving conversions and sales.

“One of the best features with CallRail we’ve found so far is the level of control we’re given for naming and categorizing our call tracking numbers,” he says. “We’ve developed our own internal system and naming convention for our numbers, so we can easily filter and sort through the numbers to get the kinds of granular reports we need, or to create a larger, more general report.”

And Humberview’s success is a testament to the effectiveness of this unified approach to call tracking and analytics: In the six months since implementing CallRail and merging their analytics, they’ve seen a more than 300 percent increase in their inbound leads.

“After enabling the Goals feature in CallRail and linking that to our Google Analytics, we’ve been able to capture and properly document about three times more leads than before,” Poliakov explains. “With our last platform it just wasn’t possible for us to analyze these leads, we had no idea they were even coming into our funnel, which was a lot of lost opportunity for our sales team.”

And Humberview isn’t planning to slow down anytime soon — with the success they’ve seen so far, they’re eager to implement CallRail across the entire company. “We setup everything in terms of analytics and reporting, so our next step is now to train our sales and service departments to get the most out of CallRail, and integrate it into their daily processes,” Poliakov says. “We’re very excited to be doing this in the near-future, because we can see how much of a benefit it will have.”

5 multichannel marketing tips from the pros at Humberview

  1. Many people call from Google Maps without visiting your website — Fortunately, you can have a call tracking number as your primary GMB number. Assign your local number as the second number in GMB to avoid issues with local search optimization (LSO).
  2. Use dynamic number insertion (DNI) to track phone conversions on your website — Phone leads are going to become your main source of conversion data.
  3. But remind your team to never use your DNI tracking numbers anywhere else — Avoid using them in print, offline campaigns, other websites, or anywhere else, because misuse of these tracking numbers will affect your reporting.
  4. Listen to each and every one of your inbound calls — You’ll be shocked at how many people clicking on your sales-focused campaigns follow up to make service or parts inquiries.
  5. Try switching your Google Ads campaigns from ‘last click’ attribution to ‘linear’ or ‘time decay’ — You’re dealing with multi-touch customer journeys, which means you can’t rely solely on last-click conversions. (Be sure to also periodically check your assisted conversion reports in Google Analytics.)

If you’re an automotive marketer looking to take your advertising game to the next level through advanced call tracking and analytics, now is the time!

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