Archive for October, 2012

Using Your Website As Your Content Hub

Using Your Website As Your Content Hub – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

I have been a proponent of “Hub and Spoke” and “Content Marketing” components within automotive digital marketing strategy for many years and have written, published and created entire teams of people to deliver what is essential a hub and spoke social media marketing strategy.  HOWEVER, I may be in disagreement with several points in this article and the comments made beneath it… Or, at least having a different perspective.

 

Because most dealership websites are provided by Cobalt (an ADP Company), Dealer.com, Clickmotive, KPA/TK, Dominion, or any number of other established providers, in many cases the result of an OEM mandate or endorsement, I do not recommend and have not seen much noteworthy success with using one of these fairly “standardized” dealer website platforms as the dealer’s “Content Hub” of choice.  I believe that a different type of site platform should be put into service by car dealers as a content hub within their “Hub and Spoke” social media marketing strategy, at least the part that is focused on content marketing.

 

As all three of you and many others know, I once created over 600 dealership content hub sites for use in an extensive and for the most part grossly over-reaching “Hub and Spoke” strategy when my team launched the ADP Social Media managed services solution for ADP Dealer Services in 2008… By the end of 2010 we had 660 dealerships on the program, and there was a whole lot of learning during that 2 years development and launch program.

 

Please believe me when I say that even as far back as 2009 there were many people within the ADP Digital Marketing team that wanted and insisted that content for marketing purposes should all be published on the dealer websites supplied by various ADP dealer website solution teams.  Even before the latest changes to Google’s SERP generating algorithms and subsequent updates, we found that trying to take website platforms designed primarily for promoting dealership inventory and not built for frequent content postings, and sharing of that content by all visitors to the site, was simply not very effective.

 

What we found a couple years ago, and what I still find to this day, is that the compromises required by the OEM mandated dealer website providers for the 10,000 of 17,000 or so total number of franchised dealers who are even remotely willing to consider content publishing for marketing purposes, so reduces the effectiveness of a content marketing strategy as to neuter it.  Yet, when we use a website platform that is optimized and designed to be used as a “Content Hub” with application layers syndication to the major social media networks, easily and readily adapted to multiple content sharing and appending apps, such as “If you like this article, you may want to check out these related posts…” type of technologies, along with Google verified authorship compliance, category and tagging features and other more social media 2013 type technologies… THEN the hub and spoke concept simply rocks and drives so much traffic, engagement, marketing communications objectives and SEO benefits to both the hub and the dealer’s eCommerce random access website (RAW – Larry Bruce) when appropriate reference and citations are implemented specific to relevant content posted and distributed from the hub, that we have a WINNING CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY.

 

So what types of platforms make good “Content Hubs”? Well, let’s start with the Ning Network platform that the ADM Professional Community, dealerELITE.net, AutomotiveSocial.comAutomotiveReputation.com and several other Content Hub purposed sites targeted to car business people have been built on by professionals such as myself, Brian Pasch, J.D. Rucker (@0boy), David Kain, Chris Saraceno and several others have done.  Not saying it is perfect, far from it, I have monthly meetings with the development team at Glam Media and they can be quite frustrating, but it does work, as shown by the success of the ADM Professional Community and over 30,000 monthly visitors from SEO alone.

 

Then there is WordPress and all the various “Theme” builds and templates designed to make it function as a great “Content Hub”.  Joomla, Drupal and many other platforms are all far better designed to serve as a content hub than any of the top 5 dealer website platforms that I am familiar with.

 

As for how to manage the schizo appearing strategy of having more than one website… That has been covered so many times I do not feel the need to repeat it in a comment.  But, once again let me state that due to the low costs involved and the increased effectiveness of purpose specific platform selection, along with the marketing reality of not wanting to take a “Buying Today” car shopper and send him/her right back up-funnel and into the research and info gathering mode by thrusting all sorts of content in front of their faces, which may distract them from their initial purchase intent that brought them to the website… ONE WEBSITE IS NOT ENOUGH FOR AN OPTIMIZED AUTOMOTIVE DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY at the dealership level. 

 

A Content Hub strategy requires a site platform optimized for its use as a centralized publishing point and a high frequency of such publishing in order to be as effective as possible.  And… Publishing a steady stream of content, much of which is relevant to customers focused on research and info gathering to a dealer’s eCommerce site may not be in the best interest of that site’s role as a lead, phone call and showroom traffic generator.

 

via Using Your Website As Your Content Hub.

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Google On The Verge Of Anit-Trust Lawsuit – Automotive Marketing Community

Written by Tim Martell of Wikimotive


The United States FTC is looking into the possibility of pursuing an anti-trust case against search engine giant Google.  

Sources close to the FTC say that four FTC commissioners: “have become convinced after more than a year of investigation that Google illegally used its dominance of the search market to hurt its rivals.” A decision to file a law suit against Google could have major implications for the future ofSearch Engine Optimization SEO and the search industry in general.

In 1998 a similar lawsuit was filed against Microsoft alleging that they abused their monopoly position. If Microsoft had lost they may have been forced to split into two parts. They ended up settling for an extremely large sum of money and, although they did not get convicted, they still lost. Many believe the case forced Bill Gates to resign as CEO and the company has never been the same since.

According to sources close to the FTC, it appears likely that they will pursue a case against Google. They won’t have to work very hard either, to come up with a good reason. They’ve been inundated with complaints about how Google is conducting itself. A lot of complaints have to do with Google favoring their own properties in vertical search results, but surprisingly that may not be what the FTC chooses to go after. One source said the FTC commissioners have given weight to… “complaints that Google refuses to share data that would allow advertisers and developers to create software to compare the value they get on Google to advertising spending on Microsoft’s Bing or Yahoo.

In a related issue, the FTC is looking at Google’s handling of valuable patents, which are determined to be essential to smartphones. The agency is trying to determine if they are licensed fairly and whether patent infringement lawsuits are used to hamper innovation.”

If the FTC does decide to go after Google for anti-trust violations you can bet on one outcome with absolute confidence: Google will never be the same. And that will almost certainly mean a massive shake up in the world of SEO and digital marketing in general.

 

via Google On The Verge Of Anit-Trust Lawsuit – Automotive Marketing Community.

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Mobile vs PC and why does it matter? – Automotive Professional Community

Mobile vs PC and why does it matter?

Mobile vs PC and why does it matter?

 

As someone who lives on his PC, I have to stretch my imagination every time I hear about the advent of the mobile generation.

I have an iPad and I have my super-duper Galaxy S3 smart phone. I absolutely love them for different reasons.

This got me to thinking about those who say PCs are doomed. And I have to say I disagree. It’s not just that PCs are not doomed, it’s why they are not doomed and what it means for Digital Marketing.

The popularity of mobile, be it tablet or smart phone, is portability and “less vs more”. Portability speaks to itself, so let’s examine “less vs more”.

The average person uses his computer for email, surfing, communicating, socializing, and finding specific things like maps and navigation. They also love games. These things are ideal for mobile and encompass the needs of these people. Therefore, combined with portability, you have the obvious attraction.

However, working on these devices tries one’s patience, unless you travel for your job. It is much easier to work on a PC than any of the alternatives. A PC has so many more software possibilities than a mobile device. It has a keyboard that is practical. And serious work can be done.

I think PCs are here to stay for some time.

What does that mean to marketers? Consider the times that many people contact dealers. It is usually lunchtime. Many of them are using their PCs and dead time at work to do so. It’s not just that they can’t do it at home. It’s that they plan that time for personal things to do that they don’t have time to do at home. I know because I do it too. And I’m a consumer. I often say to my wife in the evening, “I’ll try to do that on my lunch break tomorrow”.

Are their any implications I’m missing? Does it matter? I’m looking for opinions. What do you think?

 

Replies to This ADM Discussion:

  Tom, I posted a blog yesterday about the new 2012 J.D. Power AutoShopper car buyer behavior study and the big news was that 20% of the people who buy new vehicles in 2012 use a “mobile” device to access web based information related to their vehicle shopping activities… That’s right, 20%.  Keep in mind that the 20% number INCLUDES iPADS AND TABLETS.

So, as fast as the use of mobile devices is growing, it is in no danger of toppling full size laptops and desktop PC’s any time soon as far as becoming the majority of devices used by car buyers during the shopping process. With that said, we are fast approaching the moment in time when people use their mobile devices more frequently for accessing the web than full sized PC’s… What does that mean?

Well, from what I can see there is a distinct tendency to shop for vehicles and related information using full sized devices. Another significant piece of data is the predominant use of mobile devices to check information by car buyers WHILE THEY ARE PHYSICALLY VISITING DEALERSHIPS.  So the implications are clear and I am not the first automotive marketing professional to point out that we must now design our web based assets to work across a wide variety of different sized screens and browser formats…

Get used to it.  If your web sites and assets do not work properly across ALL OF THE ABOVE, including full sized PC’s with big monitors, cell phones and tablet devices, you are leaving money on the table in regards to your digital marketing strategy.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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J.D. Power 2012 AutoShopper Study Shows Car Buyers Using Mobile Devices At Increasing Rates

J.D. Power 2012 AutoShopper Study Shows Car Buyers Using Mobile Devices At Increasing Rates

 

2012 New Autoshopper Study Shows Continued Evolution of Car Buyers Using Web Access Devices

J.D. Power and Associates Reports:
Although the Majority of Automotive Buyers Continue to Use Personal Computers to Shop for New Vehicles, Tablets and Smartphones Are Used by One in Five Digital Auto Buyers

Nearly 60 Percent of Buyers Narrow Their Decision to One Model during the Final Week before Buying

October 2012 –Influenced by the phenomenal growth of mobile devices to access the Internet, tablets and smartphones are being used by one in five new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet in the automotive shopping process, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 New Autoshopper StudySM released today.

The study analyzes how new-vehicle buyers use digital devices (computers, smartphones and tablets) and which websites and apps are used to gather information prior to purchase. Overall, 79 percent of new-vehicle buyers use the Internet (also referred to as Automotive Internet Users, or AIUs) to research their vehicle purchase.

While nearly all (99%) AIUs use a desktop/laptop computer at some point in their shopping process, nearly 30 percent use multiple devices, including desktops, smartphones and/or tablets. The study finds that 20 percent of AIUs use a smartphone to gather information while shopping for a new vehicle, and 18 percent use a tablet.

“Access to new-vehicle information through the Internet and apps–obtained via personal computers, smartphones and tablets–is having a greater impact on many aspects of the purchase decision than ever before,” said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power and Associates. “It is important for brands and websites to provide consistency across their sites and apps, no matter what device is being used to access the information.  The shopping experience should be equally usable and the shopping information equally complete, no matter the device.”

The majority of shopping among AIUs still occurs at home. However, tablets are not as mobile as they may seem. Most AIUs who use a tablet for shopping do so at home, while those who use a smartphone are more likely than tablet users to do so outside of the home, as smartphones are always within reach.

Among AIUs who use a smartphone, 59 percent do so at the dealership, accessing vehicle pricing, model and inventory information, as well as comparing vehicles.

“This interplay between the dealership experience and digital information has become more intertwined with the availability of shopping content on mobile devices,” said Walker. “Now that buyers can easily access information right from their pockets, it is essential that the dealer body is as well versed as the shoppers in order to provide consistent information both online and in the dealership.”

The study finds that buyers go online nearly as soon as they decide to buy a new vehicle, and 59 percent of AIUs narrow their consideration list to one model during the final week before the actual purchase. With such a high volume of buyers deciding on the model of purchase so close to the actual time of the sale, the digital experience and dealer interaction are more important than ever. 

The vast majority (98%) of AIUs visit manufacturer websites during their shopping process, followed by third-party websites (81%); dealer websites (73%); and social media sites (5%). AIUs rely heavily on manufacturer websites for researching specific models and utilizing build tools, while they more frequently rely on third-party sites for comparing vehicles; reading vehicle ratings and reviews; and learning about vehicle trade-in values. AIUs use dealer sites primarily for inventory and dealer-specific information, such as directions/location, hours and contact information.

“With such a wide range of information available digitally, it’s important for OEMs to partner with automotive sites, not only to drive traffic to the brand and dealer sites, but also to offer consistency in the information and tools shoppers rely on,” said Walker. “Manufacturers and automotive third-party sites need to think about synchronization across their properties in order to help provide consistency throughout the automotive shopping experience for their target audience.”

Digital automotive research continues to have the most impact on brand and model selection, followed by price, which is relatively unchanged from four years ago.  As a result of having product information accessible through websites and apps, new-vehicle buyers have more tools to help define their consideration set.

Although mobile apps are still used by a minority of AIUs, the same shopping tools are being used across the two types of digital properties, albeit at different rates. 

The 2012 New Autoshopper Study is based on responses from 12,289 purchasers and lessees of 2010 to 2012 model-year new vehicles who used information gathered digitally in the shopping process.

About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. 

For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies
McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial’s leading brands include Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.

Media Relations Contacts:
John Tews; J.D. Power and Associates; Troy, Mich.;

(248) 680-6218; media.relations@jdpa.com

Syvetril Perryman; J.D. Power and Associates; Westlake Village, Calif.;

(805) 418-8103; media.relations@jdpa.com

Follow us on Twitter: @JDPower

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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