Client Success: Increasing Qualified Traffic and Marketing ROI for Group of Oklahoma Auto Dealerships

03.03.2023 Sara Brasfield3 min

According to Google, 95 percent of consumers use digital research tools when searching for a vehicle—and twice as many people start their vehicle search online instead of at a dealer’s lot.

In recognition of this trend, auto dealerships of any size—whether single locations or multi-lot chains—must be aggressive in building digital pipelines for qualified sales leads. Dealership inventories must be easily found online, and dealerships need tools for qualifying leads and driving conversion opportunities for their sales teams.

This was the challenge faced by one Oklahoma dealership when it reached out to Cox Media for help. The company operated five dealership lots offering a mix of new and used vehicles, and the business was interested in testing the best digital strategies for increasing qualified traffic and identifying the most cost-effective channels to prioritize in its future digital marketing campaigns.

The Goal

While increasing leads is a natural strategy for increasing overall sales conversions, the Oklahoma auto dealership knew that not all lead generation channels are created equal. Like many dealerships, the company was heavily reliant on third-party auto sites as a referral source when it reached out to Cox Media.

To push its digital local marketing success forward, the company wanted Cox Media’s help in testing the effectiveness of lead generation across multiple channels, including third-party auto sites and Cox Media’s own Vehicle Inventory Marketing solution.

The dealership was hopeful that test campaigns across all of these channels would identify which ones offered the greatest marketing ROI. With these results in-hand, the dealership could then adjust its marketing strategy to optimize the use of its marketing budget, with the ultimate goal of driving greater revenue for the business.

The Solution

To help our client identify the most cost-effective option for generating digital auto sales leads, Cox Media developed a referral campaign placing display ads across four third-party auto properties:,,, and Cox’s own Vehicle Inventory Marketing platform.

Each of these campaigns were run concurrently to evaluate their total impressions delivered, click-thru rate, and cost per user referral.

Cox Media’s team also evaluated qualitative data points affecting campaign ROI, including the proportion of referral traffic from regions beyond the dealership’s local market; whether or not the dealership’s inventory is featured alongside the vehicles of its competitors; and whether factors such as the vehicle’s list price affect the visibility of that vehicle through the third-party site.

The Results

At the conclusion of the campaign’s test period, the Cox Vehicle Inventory Marketing solution demonstrated better in terms of the cost per new user and the overall quality of the marketing leads, based on the number of sales generated through each third-party site.

The VIM campaign delivered the following results for the dealership:

  • 27 vehicle sales driven within a one-month period;
  • 100 percent of click-thru referrals were delivered to the vehicle details page on the dealer’s website, rather than referring prospects elsewhere;
  • A superior percentage of local traffic when compared to other third-party sites;
  • An improved ability to connect with consumers early in the research process, before they’ve visited other dealerships.

Based on the performance of this campaign, the dealership elected to remove other third-party vendors from its marketing campaign, and instead reallocated its marketing budget to increase its spending through Cox’s VIM solution.

Ready to drive more cost-effective auto sales leads at a higher volume for your dealership? A small business marketing consultant can help. Contact Cox Media today to learn more.

About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is a Marketing Manager on Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than nine years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the office, Sara loves spending time running, reading, and supporting her favorite sports teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

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