Why Your Monthly Advertising Reports Are Meaningless
I like to call it the receipt report. You know the kind of report that you get at the end of the month, that tells you what you just purchased, rather than what your purchase did for you?
So much advertising is run through media agencies/companies and more that are shocking to see. Thousands upon thousands of dollars spent and not a single bit of it is reported using any meaningful metrics. They’re just receipts!
Often dealers get reports back talking about how many impressions they got, what the click-through rate (CTR) was and how many clicks they received.
The problem is those are meaningless numbers to a dealer. Those numbers tell you absolutely nothing about the quality of what you purchased. That’s a receipt, not a report.
Example 1 – Spreadsheet Receipts
Dealership receives an email with their previous month’s report. This report is a CSV file, with 20 plus rows of different ‘flight’ information for various ad units and locations. It contains three columns, clicks, CTR, and impressions.
The numbers are followed by “Your CTR this month is great, it’s above industry standard.”
Your CTR this month is great, it’s above industry standard.
Wonderful news everyone! Rejoice at our advertising expertise. Or wait, you don’t know a thing about those 1000 clicks you just purchased. I have a list of questions for you, and that report can’t answer any of them.
- Did these people look at a new or used car?
- Did these people view your special offers?
- Did these people bounce from your website?
- Were these people from the regions you wanted to advertise to?
- Did you get any leads?
- Did anyone chat with your chat solution (if you have one)?
- Did anyone of those people make a phone call?
Do those sound like ridiculous questions? They’re REQUIRED questions yet dealers month after month, just accept these useless reports that provide no information about the quality of the traffic they generated.
They don’t look at post click information; that’s the only information the dealership should care about. What do you care about CTR? If you can’t answer any of the above questions, your above industry standard CTR, impressions and clicks are nothing but noise.
You need to identify that traffic separately from the rest of your website traffic, and then analyze it using (likely) Google Analytics. But the issue is A) you don’t know how and B) you didn’t isolate that traffic properly. Your media companies don’t even help you do that? THEY SHOULD, but it’s easier to pull the wool over your eyes if you can’t dig down into how it performs, it’s not their problem, it’s yours.
Your reports should go into things like conversions, time on site, VDP views, phone calls generated, leads generated, desired engagement. If they don’t, then you don’t have a report at all, you have a waste of your time and thousands of dollars.
Example 2 – Actions & CTR
This media company sent an email as their report, no attachment just some text in the email saying how many clicks were generated, how many “actions” (no definition of action) happened, and how much their CTR improved. That’s it; that’s the best they could do. They do this for hundreds of dealers monthly, and it’s astounding.
Start demanding better, because if you don’t, these companies will continue to happily take your money and leave you in the dark, or distract you with vague information while leaving out the important things you should be analyzing.
The first step is to help yourself, and you can do this by asking all your partners to isolate their traffic.