Ralph Paglia shared an Instagram photo with you

July 18, 2013 1 comment

Hi there,

Ralph Paglia just shared an Instagram photo with you:

view full image

“Register to attend AutoCon 2013 at Aria #LasVegas from 9/4 to 9/6 and use Promo Code ADM13 to save hundreds! http://AutoCon2013.com
(taken at Automotive Media Partners, LLC)

The Instagram Team

Infographic: Top 100 Automotive Blogs Ranked by Quality of Posts

February 17, 2013 Leave a comment

The following list showcases an independently produced and ranked directory of the Top 100 Automotive Blogs selected for recommendation to visit, subscribe, join and follow them in 2013…

When the author (Ron Mays) who assembled and created the ranking for this list of the Top 100 Automotive Blogs and Networks for 2013 first contacted Ralph Paglia, we did not know what to expect. Ralph provided Ron Mays with the information he requested. When the list was announced and the below Infographic published, all of us associated with the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community were pleasantly surprised to see that the ADM Professional Community came in at number 10 out of 100 sites that were selected. The infographic Ron Mays and the CouponAudit team created to display this ranking of auto industry and car business networking UGC sites is available below.

Top 100 Fashion blogs to follow

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit

In above infographic, you can view the Top 100 Auto Blogs to follow in 2013. The team at CouponAudit ranked the sites shown according to quality of posts.

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...

Online Advertising Trends – October through December 2012 – Automotive Marketing

February 3, 2013 Leave a comment

Online Advertising Trends – October through December 2012

Marin Whitepaper Summary for ADM Professional Community Members

“Online Advertising Trends – October through December 2012”


The following report posted below and the charts displayed are my synopsis and summary culled from a 26 page quarterly report provided by the people I work with at Marin Software, Inc. All contents of this blog post on ADM are the property of Marin Software, Inc.

The Research Methodology summary shown below is the best validation for conclusions generated by this report…

The fourth quarter has always proven to be the busiest for marketers — retailers in particular — because of the holiday season. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, advertisers faced increased competition resulting in higher costs per click.

As predicted earlier this year, we saw mobile traffic peak at nearly 22% of all paid search clicks on Google in the US; we saw similar mobile traffic levels in the UK and Australia. We continue to see staggering growth around the adoption of smartphone and tablets for search advertising.

As Marin’s customer base continues to expand globally, we have committed to expanding our analysis into new verticals and geographies to help provide more granular insights for marketers. In this quarterly report we included insights on paid search performance in Australia as well as industry-specific metrics for the Automotive, B2B, Finance, Retail and Travel verticals.

Research Methodology

To uncover key trends for the fourth quarter of 2012, we sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, which includes global advertisers and agencies that invest over $4.0 billion annually in biddable media through the Marin platform.

The Marin Global Online Advertising Index consists of enterprise-class marketers — larger advertisers and agencies that spend in excess of $1 Million annually on paid-search, display, social and mobile. As such, our data sample and findings skew towards the behavior of larger organizations and includes some of the world’s most sophisticated advertisers.

This study is longitudinal, focusing on a representative set of advertisers who have been active on Marin for the previous five quarters and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) on a year-over-year (YoY) and quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) basis. Unless otherwise mentioned, all of the analysis in this study refers to trends in the search (versus content) network. Wherever possible, we used medians and indexed values—instead of absolute values—to more clearly highlight overall trends. This allows us to mitigate the effects of outliers and make the findings more representative of the performance of the typical Marin client.

For the Q4 2012 report, Marin refreshed our client index data pool. This could result in slight deviations from previously reported data but makes for more representative analysis and findings.

US Findings:

1. Overall Performance: On an annual basis, US advertisers saw paid search click volume rise by 31% accompanied by a 38% increase in impression volume. The higher impression volume may indicate the continued growth of paid search as marketers shift more of their advertising dollars online. Cost per click (CPC) increased from $0.96 in Q3 2012 to $1.01 in Q4 2012 — the higher CPC likely attributable to the increased competition over the holiday season. Marketers
saw a lower click through rate (CTR) year on year versus Q4 2011.

2. Google Maintains its Market Share for Search Spend: According to Comscore, 67.0% of all US-based search queries were conducted on Google during November 2012. During this same period, Yahoo! was at 12.1% and Microsoft at 16.2%. In light of having 67.0% of the overall US search volume, Google monetized its searches more effectively — accounting for 80% of paid search spend and 78% of all paid-clicks during the same period.

On a year-over-year basis for Google, we saw significant increases in click and impression volumes. Quarter over quarter, the average CPC increased by 11% — indicating increased competition over the holiday season.

On Yahoo and Bing, advertisers saw marked improvement in clicks. On a year-over-year basis, advertisers saw 25% higher click volumes along with a 22% jump in CPC and a 13% increase in the average CTR.

3. Industry Specific Trends: While it’s helpful to understand the broader context of how paid search is evolving at a macro level, the reality is that different industries can demonstrate fundamentally different trends. To that end, we looked at the behavior of seven different industries and uncovered some varying trends. This section provides insights on representative values for CTR and CPC across seven verticals to uncover industry-specific trends for key metrics in the
fourth quarter of 2012.

The Automotive vertical is the first bar on the left for each of the two charts shown below…

The four charts displayed below are specific to the Automotive vertical…

4. Device Targeting and Performance: While Desktops and Laptop computers still command the vast majority of search spend, we continue to see positive trends as marketers explore new platforms to extend their reach. Device targeting, in particular, is showing that smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly popular around the world. To provide context around usage patterns and spend allocation, the charts below show how click and spend share was segmented across our client base during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Smartphone and tablet devices accounted for a 22% share of clicks and 17% share of spend. Growth in consumer adoption has been a strong driver of click volume growth on mobile devices. Additionally, spend allocations on mobile devices are growing quickly as marketers realize solid performance across both smartphones and tablets. The following charts compare CTR and CPC across desktops, smartphones, and tablets for the fourth quarter of 2012.

While device targeting may not be relevant for all advertisers, marketers should evaluate their target demographic and, where appropriate, leverage the performance and cost effectiveness of targeting ads to tablet or smartphone users.

Facebook Findings:

Across geographies, the CTR from Facebook campaigns is comparable. In regards to cost, advertisers in Australia experience a higher average CPC than their counterparts in the rest of the world.

Compared to the average CPC of paid search advertising, Facebook is seemingly a less expensive alternative, offering creative advertising options outside of the traditional search and display.

Additionally, with the release of mobile-specific targeting for Facebook ads, advertisers are starting to see a higher CTR for mobile ads versus desktop ads. We’ll continue to monitor this trend as more advertisers adopt the mobile-placement option on Facebook.

Download the Full Marin Report by Right-Clicking and “Save As”:

Research Brief – Online Marketing Quarterly Benchmarking US Q4 2012

by Ralph Paglia


via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Image representing Marin Software as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

Automotive Digital Marketing – Spread the Word about this Professional Community

January 24, 2013 3 comments

Automotive Digital Marketing – Spread the Word – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community


Spread the Word – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community  Find more videos like this on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

JD Rucker writes: Automotive Digital Marketing, better known by many in the automotive industry as simply ADM, needs your help. As a community that specializes in highlighting the best practices and strongest techniques that dealers can use to improve their online marketing, ADM has proven time and time again to be the highest venue to exchange ideas, discuss strategies, and share stories. Let’s spread the word to every dealer we know at 20 groups and everywhere else to expand the community. The stronger the community, the more useful it will be for all of us.”

Ralph Paglia responds: JD Rucker… You rock! I doubt if there are any ADM Professional Community Members who are unaware of JD’s support for this community, but let me share these observations with our community.  For quite a few years, JD has consistently been one of the auto industry’s staunchest supporters of raising the overall levels of professional knowledge and expertise among people in the car business.  He has called me on numerous occasions to discuss the strategies and site management tactics designed to grow the actual “COMMUNITY” concept that ADM is based upon.
Even when JD and I were direct competitors, debating each other on the conference circuit, he was and remains one of the highest integrity leaders I have had the privilege of working with in the car business.  JD Rucker specializes in, and is passionate about driving all of us to ask more questions, push our knowledge and skill sets a little higher each day and being one of my mentors and proponents of so many strong and enduring principles that I and a growing number of others believe in.
When it comes to doing what is best for a dealer client, I have personally received many messages and calls from JD encouraging all of us in the supplier side of the business to stay focused on what is best for the client and to drop our petty competitive attitudes when the opportunity to collaborate and deliver better results to a dealership presents itself.  Watching this video while speaking to JD on the phone has been a moving experience for me… And, he is right… let’s get more dealers and car biz pros to participate, post, comment and become ACTIVE members of the ADM Professional Community.  Each of us will grow and benefit from the experience and our efforts to support and encourage continuous improvement of our craft.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Friends and Family Online Most Trusted Source for Vehicle Selection and Car Buying Guidance

January 23, 2013 2 comments

Friends and Family Online Most Trusted Source for Vehicle Selection and Car Buying Guidance

Family and Friends Still Most Trusted for Vehicle Shopping and Car Buying Decisions

American Automotive Consumers still look first to their friends and family for advice regarding their major purchase decisions, according to a WSL/Strategic Retail survey.

69% of the Wall Street Journal’s respondents said that family and friends help them choose what to buy, up 13% from 61% last year.

Next on the list, manufacturer (OEM) and retailer (Dealership) websites, each used by 55% of the survey’s respondents.

The study notes that retailer websites (including car dealers), are a growing influence on consumers, having played second fiddle to manufacturer websites in prior surveys.

Traditional media such as TV and magazines are an information source for 42%, ahead of sales associates and e-mail messages from manufacturers and retailers, each at 32%.

It’s interesting to note that this study shows traditional offline media ranking behind digital and online resources as a trusted information source. This may be partly due to the increasing influence of online reviews and dealership ratings by automotive consumers… Considering the study’s bias from being funded by a TV advertising based consortium, revealing that digital media is more trusted than others is most notable. While that may be the case, the authors of this study point out that several other studies point to TV advertising in particular as most effective in influencing consumer purchase decisions.

Despite recent finding by other scientifically validated surveys that almost half of Americans engage with brands on social networks, just 26% of respondents to the WSL/Strategic Retail survey said they use social networks to find information about an item they’re considering purchasing.

If Millennials (16-34) can be used as a leading indicator for automotive marketing professionals, social networks may prove a more influential automotive consumer research and information source in the future: Millennials were 54% more likely than the average respondent to say they turn to social media for product information.

About the Data: The data is based on a survey of 1500 adults and 200 teens aged 16-65+.

Source: www.marketingcharts.com/family-and-friends-still-most-trusted-for-s…

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Digital Dealer Compliance – Automotive Marketing Professionals

January 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Digital Dealer Compliance – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community


Digital Dealer Compliance

Dealership compliance concerns have traditionally focused primarily on the sales and finance processes. However, the unprecedented growth of digital marketing, social media, and online reputation management has invited new regulations and created additional legal challenges for dealers to contend with. Following are six areas that dealers should pay close attention to in 2013:

Advertising Online – Internet advertising may be handled by any number of people in the dealership, such as a used car manager, internet manager, marketing director or perhaps an outside vendor. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state regulators have been taking a much more aggressive stance in examining and challenging internet advertising. It’s vital that anyone who is responsible for writing and posting advertisements online be well aware of state and federal advertising regulations.

A particular area of concern is social media. Despite the fact that social networking tends to be a low-keyed, casual type of communication, advertising regulations still apply. For instance, if inventory is posted or prices/payments are quoted on a social media site, it’s likely that the posts will be deemed to be advertisements and will be subject to disclosure and truth in advertising regulations. A good rule of thumb is to have any information that could possibly be construed as advertising reviewed by upper management or a qualified professional before it is posted online. Remember, advertising violations can be easy for regulators to identify and difficult to defend against.

Online Reviews – The FTC’s updated Endorsement and Advertising Guidelines require companies to ensure that their posts are completely accurate and not misleading, and planting or allowing fake reviews is a violation. Reviewers must never endorse a product or service that they have not used personally or create any other form of false endorsement.

Dealers may also face liability if employees or vendors use social media to comment on the company’s services or products without disclosing the employment or business relationship. The FTC has indicated that companies are fully responsible and liable for all inappropriate actions of their employees and their vendors.

Regulations also require that any reviewer provided with any form of compensation for posting a review must fully disclose the source and nature of any compensation received. So, if a dealer gives away free oil changes or gas cards for reviews and the reviewers fail to disclose their compensation, the dealership may face liability.

Social Media Policies – Social media applications have soared in popularity and it’s important that dealers control the information that’s coming out of their business. Policies and procedures should be put in place to spell out how employees are expected to conduct themselves within social media.  A social media policy can help take the guesswork out of what is appropriate for employees to post about a company to their social networks.

In addition, there are a number of legal considerations that every company should be aware of when establishing their social media policies and procedures, such as social media use in employment decisions; potential overtime claims; harassment, discrimination and defamation claims; and copyright and privacy issues. Beyond legal risks, employees can harm a company’s reputation by disseminating controversial or inappropriate comments.

Contests and Sweepstakes – Sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways have become increasingly popular among dealerships, especially on sites such as Facebook. These promotions can be a great way to get word out about your company, increase your social media presence and develop leads. However, entry into a poorly considered sweepstakes or contest can be a trap for the unwary dealer. These promotions are governed by a variety of federal and state laws as well as social networking sites’ terms of service. Failure to follow pertinent statutes and regulations regarding promotions can lead to government inquiries, civil enforcement actions, adverse publicity, and even criminal penalties.

Text Message Marketing – A recent high-profile lawsuit involving a large dealer group that allegedly failed to honor text message opt-out requests ended in a $2.5 million settlement. Text messaging is subject to a number of federal and state restrictions and the rules are extremely confusing. These regulations can be much more difficult to deal with than telemarketing or email regulations – primarily because many consumers are charged for text messages and the government feels that they should be afforded additional protection against unwanted solicitations. It’s wise to always consult knowledgeable legal counsel before launching a text marketing campaign.

Online Privacy – Dealerships typically collect a great deal of personal information from their website visitors through contact forms, online credit applications, etc. What many businesses fail to realize is how vitally important it is to properly handle any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) collected from consumers through their sites. The potential penalties are substantial. It’s important for dealers to examine their policies for handling consumer privacy online and to review the policies with their employees and vendors to ascertain their understanding. The FTC has penalized a number of companies for failing to follow their own published privacy statements.


via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community


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Dangers of Marketing Metrics Dependency – Automotive Marketing Professionals

December 10, 2012 3 comments

Dangers of Marketing Metrics Dependency

Dealer Beware

As Pamela Vaughan so aptly describes, there are many reasons why all car dealers, General Managers and automotive marketing professionals should be aware of the pitfalls around being overly dependent on making decisions based on report data and performance metrics numbers… 

The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a fra...
The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a framework for how to categorize metrics from the tactical to strategic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Among many reasons I wanted to feature Pamela Vaughan’s article on the ADM Professional Community is my own direct experience working on teams that provide marketing services and advertising products to auto dealers. While working on such teams for many years (since 1997), I was privileged to collaborate with some of the brightest minds in automotive marketing.  A standard operating procedure for such supplier and service provider based teams is to focus on researching a never ending supply of Key Performance Indicator (KPI) data and Reporting Analytics… Many hours and a high level of concentration are routinely invested in extracting the data points that make the products these teams provide to car dealers appear more effective than they may actually be for most dealerships.  

Data Bias Logic and Justification

The logic behind these initiatives is similar to the old days of the Cold War with “Mutual Assured Destruction” (MAD)… Since each supplier’s perception is that their competition is doing it, they feel a tremendous amount of pressure to extract the compelling data that will empower their sales team in gaining a competitive advantage while seeking each dealer’s attention.  

Although the data is usually factually true, I have seen far too many dealers exhibit a tendency to become overly dependent on supplier provided reports and metrics.  This is then exacerbated by the far too prevalent tendency to focus on examples and “Case Studies” taken from other dealers which have been selected for the purpose of making a sales presentation or proposal.  

The Most Relevant and Useful Marketing Data Sources

Like most automotive professional marketers, I am a firm believer in the appropriate use of Key Performance Indicator (KPI) tracking and reporting. However, it serves every dealer well to realize that the most important metrics are the ones the dealer extracts themselves, or by trusted managers using the same measurement tools and parameters each month.

The most relevant Key Performance Metrics (KPI) are the ones generated by the dealership when compared to the previous month, the same month a year ago, the YTD compared to the same time period a year ago.  These are extracted and reviewed without filtering or withholding of data points that do not show what somebody wants to see reviewed by the dealer. As stated, my personal experience is that Marketing Reports and Performance Metrics that are reported to dealers by suppliers and service providers are completely factual, but they have been selected by design, and for the purpose of casting a favorable light on the products or services that supplier offers.

Market-mix models
Market-mix models (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beware of Supplier Built Reporting Systems

There is a growing trend for many of the more all inclusive dealer website and marketing service suppliers to create proprietary and inclusive reporting systems.  These supplier provided reporting tools and apps remind me of asking a fox to report on the state of the hen house.  I have seen several of them make use of such tactics as (for example) blending organic traffic with paid traffic, then dividing by the dollars the dealer spends within THAT SUPPLIER’S Search Engine Advertising (SEA or SEM) system.  The assumption being that all traffic to the dealer’s website came from their own source of search advertising, which results in reports that appear to be a very low “Cost Per Visitor”… The dealer that views such reports will routinely confuse this metric with Google generated “Cost Per Click” data, incorrectly concluding that the supplier’s system is performing far better than it actually is.


Such systems also take advantage of OEM sponsored or third party provided Search Engine Advertising (SEA) programs to enhance what their internal and proprietary reports show the dealer. These types of supplier built data and KPI reports are being generated from “Bias Engineered In” reporting systems.  This creates a compelling argument in favor of using independent and more reliable KPI reporting and tracking applications, such as Google Analytics.  Reporting application such as Google Analytics, WebTrends or Adobe’s SiteCatalyst are a far better source of data for making marketing decisions.  They are unbiased and more reliable for dealers to use.  


Almost all supplier engineered, designed and built-in reporting system will BY DESIGN contain a bias towards making value added products and services sold by that same supplier look better.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community 



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