9 Clouds Automotive Marketing Blog

Where automotive meets digital marketing.


Marketing ROI & Analytics: An Excerpt from the 2017 State of Automotive Marketing Report

Cover graphic for the 2017 State of Automotive Marketing Report

This post is the third in a series of articles exploring our 2017 State of Automotive Marketing report. Read the first and second posts, or download the full report now.   

The first excerpt post from our 2017 State of Automotive Marketing report explored the big-picture ideas, trends, and strategies embraced by dealerships throughout the U.S.

The second excerpt post took a closer look at the current auto market trends as well as the auto marketing priorities and strategies used by dealers in 2016. It also pointed out ways in which auto dealers can better prioritize their automotive marketing to increase return on investment (ROI).

In this third post, we will explore not only what sold more cars in 2016, but also what sold cars with a better margin for the dealer. To uncover this information, we turned to return on investment, or ROI.

2017 Automotive Marketing ROI & Analytics

Return on investment (ROI) is a simple calculation that shows whether a dealer made more money than it invested in a particular project or campaign. This investment could involve spending on marketing and sales (as we studied in this survey) or other spending, such as sponsorships, training, or staff.

In addition to measuring automotive marketing ROI in general, we were curious about the success of individual marketing tactics. Analytics are the data points that show the results of a single marketing effort.

For the purposes of this survey, we refer to website analytics, such as Google Analytics or a built-in analytics tool offered by a website provider. These website analytics track statistics like number website visits, number of webpages viewed, and source traffic (where website visitors originated).

Auto Marketing ROI in 2016

2016 was a strong year for automotive marketing ROI. As you can see below, less than 10% of dealers surveyed saw lower ROI in 2016 than in 2015, whereas 53% saw similar or higher ROI.

2016 ROI change

Auto Marketing Budgets for 2017

This growth is resulting in a shift of auto marketing priorities — namely, greater investment in marketing in 2017. Over 28% of those surveyed plan to increase their marketing budget to continue their growth.

budget changes for 2017

Monitoring Auto Marketing Analytics

Website analytics are great, but they are nothing if you don't monitor them and then make necessary modifications. The majority of dealers surveyed are checking website analytics at least three times a week.

Check Analytics Frequency

Those who monitor analytics regularly also see higher ROI.

Checking & Documenting Marketing ROI

Although the majority of auto dealers are diligent about regularly monitoring their analytics, measuring marketing ROI continues to be a challenge for auto dealers.

How Monitoring Analytics Affects ROI

However, as the graph below shows, dealerships that check analytics at least three times a week are 3.5 times more likely to see higher ROI than those who do not. 3.5 times! Now that's saying something.

The Biggest Marketing Challenge for Dealerships

Considering the statistics above, it's not surprising that, for the second year in a row, the greatest marketing challenge is proving ROI. Last year, the second-biggest challenge was securing budget. This year, it’s finding and using technology.

Do you struggle with proving ROI? Contact us today — we'd love to chat with you about finding a solution!

More Auto Marketing Advice On The Way

Our next 2017 State of Automotive Marketing excerpt post will explore auto marketing trends related to 2017 automotive marketing leads and sales — two very important marketing considerations for auto dealers everywhere.

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