The Myth of the VDP View
Let’s discuss dispelling the myth of VDP traffic and where it should rank among dealerships’ digital advertising priority.
In my experience at the dealership’s upper management level in years past, I, too, have bought into the latest and greatest thing available and drank the kool-aid. As a result, I could have done better in using my advertising dollars to the detriment of the revenue status quo.
Fast forward to the last time I spoke at a dealer 20 group. I discovered that many of those dealerships needed to improve on effectively communicating with potential customers by connecting the wrong message at the wrong time, considering where the consumer was on their car buying and servicing journey.
A dealership’s primary goal should be to effectively increase showroom traffic via human-to-human interaction.
One way to be effective with this approach is to increase engagement between the consumer and the dealership both online and ultimately in person.
Let’s tackle the truth surrounding the myth of the VDP view and how placing all your eggs in that basket is not the most effective way to increase sales and service revenue.
Since the start of the VDP view initiative in 2012, many vendors got on board with the idea of pushing VDP views as the best way to spend your digital budget.
The idea of bypassing the dealer’s home page or SRP and directly connecting them to a vehicle of interest was brilliant. But, unfortunately, many vendors have jumped on that bandwagon disregarding the fundamentals of genuinely leading the consumer to the showroom floor, instead directing them down a one-way path.
This idea, in many ways, has trumped the importance of sales. But don’t get me wrong; there is value and solid evidence that supports the idea that when an interested buyer lands on a vehicle they are interested in, it is one of the last pages they visit before actually walking into your showroom floor.
Many vendors have convinced dealers that VDP views are the most effective way to sell more cars. Unfortunately, this idea is getting way more traction than it deserves. There are far more critical things to consider before landing a potential buyer on a vehicle.
In today’s environment, people are making an educated decision to walk into a showroom floor or service drive based on what they know about the dealer. What is their reputation? What can they expect to experience by purchasing or servicing their car with you? How easy is it to communicate with your staff? How easy is it to navigate to what matters to them on your website? Can they relate to what you, as a dealer, support in your community?
What call to action matters most to people who visit your site before they walk into the showroom?
I like to put it like this; if I were to walk into your dealership and was greeted by a salesperson that immediately went into selling me a vehicle versus getting to know me and connecting with me, is like landing me on a VDP without giving me a reason to consider it.
Landing someone on a VDP is essential but not the most important. Therefore, it’s down the list of marketing priorities for a potential buyer.
When you lay all of your focus on VDP traffic, what you will experience is more views but less quality traffic. Most VDP traffic will never return to your site and spend an average of 30 seconds on your site or less if VDP views are your top goal.
Your focus should be on how to increase showroom traffic, human to human interaction.
Focus your efforts on what makes a consumer choose you over your competitors. Then, put yourself in their shoes and create a marketing strategy that speaks to the lifecycle of the consumer and the journey that leads them to your showroom and service drive.
Establish an excellent fundamental advertising foundation. When looking at your variable and fixed operations, absorption rate, and overall advertising budget, nothing is more important than increasing sales and service revenue and retaining that customer for life. This objective should be where you lay down your priorities as a dealer and use it as a foundation to work. VDP traffic can result in the consumer considering the vehicle you have for sale, but often it needs to reflect a deal because you worked backward with your digital budget.
Understand your audience. Shift your focus to understanding your potential customer’s journey before walking into your showroom floor. As a result, you will find a much better quality of traffic and, more importantly, increase showroom and service-drive activity.