3 Ways Data Can Make Your Dealership Smarter ?

Every day you pour your heart and soul into your dealership, so of course there’s going to be an emotional element to the marketing decisions you make. We’ve been there. There have been designs, features, and taglines that we just knew would work based off our experience and our gut feeling, but the numbers don’t lie. They can be humbling, and frustrating, but when you know what to look for, numbers are the truth — so they are empowering. They give you an advantage. They show you what’s working, what’s not, and what’s going to. Let the numbers be the proof you need to convince yourself that you are making the right changes to your website, and your dealership.

Here are just three effective analytical tools that we use to drive change every day.


1. Heatmaps

A heatmap visually represents user clicks, taps, and scrolls on your website. Colors indicate how strong users are motivated to take the actions you’ve laid out for them. One of the best tools we’ve found for heatmaps is Hotjar. One of the most useful features of Hotjar is its ability to easily switch between heatmaps by device, so we can quickly get a snapshot of how shoppers react to your site on mobile, tablet, and desktop.

Below is a portion of a mobile heatmap, and we’re turning it into a quiz. What do you see here? A heatmap that will be used to make a change, or a reason to run an A/B test? Is the dealer not getting the clicks he wants on his service button? OR, is this a heatmap showing positive results after changing buttons to drive more traffic to pre-owned vehicles? The interpretation of this heatmap is up to you, but hint: more data helps.

Heat Mapping
Heat Maps Automotive Websites


2. A/B Testing

Speaking of A/B tests, this is one of the best ways to get data. Heatmaps are a great source for generating ideas for testing. A/B testing is the most technical concept of the three we are discussing here. Most A/B testing tools have a user-friendly editor to help users get tests up and running. But depending on the nature and complexity of the test, you may still need help from a developer. The tool that we use for A/B testing is Optimizely, but there are other similar tools available. With an A/B test, 50% of your audience sees the original variation, and 50% of your audience is served your “B” variation (Optimizely will let you change this percentage, but in general we keep it at 50/50).

To help fine-tune your website’s lead-generation skills, and encourage users to click your calls to action, one of the most important tests is on the verbiage of your CTA buttons. For example, here we are testing “Get ePrice” against “Make an Offer”.


The experiment will be complete when we reach 90% statistical significance. At that point we will either keep the CTA (if the original led to more conversions) or change to the variation, if that won.

In terms of time needed, A/B testing is on the other end of the spectrum from Google Consumer Surveys. While those can take a few days (depending on the survey format, audience and number of responses) an A/B test may take several months to reach statistical significance. Length of time is determined by website traffic. For Optimizely, in general you need 12,000 website visitors per test variation. This is useful information when determining what to test and making sure you are committed to completing the test. Stopping a test early and making a decision based on incomplete data may have adverse effects on conversions.   


3. Google Consumer Surveys

Finally, surveys can be a really effective way to get a significant amount of data in a short amount of time. Bonus: it’s also relatively inexpensive. Consumers opt in to take the surveys anonymously, and in exchange they receive Google Play credits. A perfect example of how we would use this tool is to help a dealer define his Unique Selling Proposition. We want to make sure that what a dealer feels is unique to his store also resonates with what customers feel is important. We would start by helping the dealer outline 5-7 things that make his store unique.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-12-59-23-amWith Google Consumer Surveys, you are able to target by gender (male/female), age group, country and state. When you get the results, you are able to slice and dice the data in many ways. Using our example, we could look at the overall results of what Unique Selling Proposition is important to consumers in our target area. For this particular study, “Lowest Price Guarantee” is the winner.


We can also look at the answers by certain demographics. For men aged 35-44, living in urban areas, a low price guarantee is still important. But, we see no negotiation needed edging out on top. This data is useful for targeted campaigns (think personalized website offers) you may want to run.

A survey like this would take about 3 days to get hundreds of responses. It’s a quick, easy way to get valuable data.


Dig Into Data with DI

These were just a few of the fun (yeah, it truly is fun to us) ways that we gather data to make informed decisions. Give us a shout and we’ll start diving into the data with you! 

Let’s Connect

Jennifer Strilko
Jennifer has been one of the main analytical brains behind Dealer Inspire's data-driven website platform since its creation. Her research and innovation with analytics in the automotive space has led her to filing patents for unprecedented user behavior tracking tools. She is super smart.

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