Tuesday, April 17, 2007

CaseStudy: AutoBytel

SITE REDESIGN LEADS TO 18.5% INCREASE IN CONVERSION FOR AUTOBYTEL

ABOUT AUTOBYTEL
Buying the right car has never been easier thanks to the Internet. Just choose the make and model and consumers can be connected with a dealer in their area committed to helping them purchase their dream car. Like most companies today, car dealers understand the extended customer reach the Internet provides. Back in 1995, Autobytel — the world’s premiere online automotive marketing and buying website — was the first to leverage the potential the Internet had for improving the automotive shopping and purchasing process for dealers and consumers alike. Today, with manufacturers and dealers adopting Internet marketing strategies at a rapid rate, Autobytel stands atop the industry it created, connecting thousands of dealers coast to coast — and every automotive manufacturer brand — with millions of consumers nationwide. Since inception, Autobytel has saved consumers millions of dollars while helping the nation’s dealers gain incremental business at a fraction of traditional marketing costs, providing a range of services — from best-in-class marketing and CRM tools, to innovative training programs. Through its innovative advertising programs and leading edge data and analytical tools, Autobytel is the place for manufacturers to connect with consumers at the golden moment when they are deciding which car or truck to buy. Autobytel owns and operates the automotive websites Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, Carsmart.com and AutoSite.com, as well as AIC (Automotive Information Center), a leader in automotive marketing data and technology and AVV Inc. (Applied Virtual Vision), a leading provider of dealership CRM and data extraction services.

INDUSTRY: Automotive
AUTHOR: Caroline Kim, Website Project Manager, Autobytel
OVERVIEW: Autobytel’s rapidly growing advertising business needed to enhance their techniques of measuring and viewing different aspects of the site — page views by make and model or page views and vehicle categories. Site Catalyst provided this data for their advertising group and also empowered their online team to analyze how site changes affected conversion, how people research vehicles, and how different customer segments react to the site. For example, after a site redesign, a 19% conversion rate on the new versus old site revealed the new site was doing a better job.

“We ran the new site at 10% of our total traffic to see how the metrics differed...
The [SiteCatalyst] data clearly showed us that the redesigned web site had a significantly higher conversion rate (19%) and was doing a better job of getting people into the places on the site they
wanted to go.”

UNIQUE QUESTIONS, PRECISE ANSWERS
THE CHALLENGE
As a leading Internet automotive marketing services company, Autobytel puts a high value on understanding customers. Through its own proprietary tracking systems the company was already looking at where site visitors came from, what pages they visited on the website, and the types of vehicles they were browsing. However, Autobytel wanted to broaden the company’s view of visitors through a different set of metrics as well as measuring the number of page views the websites were generating from various marketing campaigns. The advertising group also wanted to forecast advertising impressions for highly targeted sections of the site. “Our advertising revenue is an important and rapidly growing aspect of our business,” said Caroline Kim, Website Project Manager. “We needed to enhance the way in which we measured and viewed different aspects of the site — page views by make and model or page views and vehicle categories — because that is how our advertisers target their campaigns.” What Autobytel needed was a Web analytics tool to help track the effectiveness of specific campaigns and provide a more detailed representation of online customer behavior. After researching the industry, Autobytel chose Omniture’s SiteCatalyst™ to augment the company’s proprietary tracking system because of its ability to easily track and report on Custom Insight variables. “Being able to implement Custom Insight™ provides us with more options on how we cut the data on our sites,” said Kim. “We have so many variables that are relevant to our business. Site Catalyst’s Custom Insight reporting helps us to track items across the website — things that are related and important for us to look at together.”

THE SOLUTION
In addition to measuring page views generated by marketing campaigns and forecasting targeted advertising impressions Autobytel began to put SiteCatalyst to other uses; analyzing how site changes affected conversion, how people research vehicles, and how different customer segments react to the site. The Autobytel website underwent a significant redesign in July 2003. Data gleaned from the website through of the redesign. SiteCatalyst helped Kim’s team compare the old site to the new site through secondary tagging. “We ran the new site at 10% of our total traffic to see how the metrics differed,” explains Kim. “We looked at page views per visit, conversion rates, where consumers were going from the home page on the new layout versus the old one. The data clearly showed us that the redesigned website had a significantly higher conversion rate (19%) and was doing a better job of getting people into the places on the site they wanted to go.” SiteCatalyst is also used to track loyal, ongoing customers, those who come directly to the site by typing in the URL or using a bookmark rather than from a marketing campaign link. SiteCatalyst helps Autobytel separate those customers from the rest and run specific reports on their behavior as the site changes. “We use our loyal or direct customer segments to provide a more accurate gauge on whether or not our site changes are truly beneficial, “explains Kim. Finally, Omniture’s responsiveness to product innovation suggestions from Autobytel has contributed to the success of the relationship. “Over the last couple of years, we have made several suggestions regarding new features we would like to see in the Omniture product and quite a few have been implemented,” said Kim. “Autobytel received an average of over seven million unique visitors a month in 2003. As our online customer base continues to expand and evolve, we appreciate the fact that Omniture responds by adding new features and functionality to provide us with new ways to look at our website.”

ABOUT SITECATALYST
SiteCatalyst is the industry’s most mature, remotely hosted web analytics solution. It empowers users throughout an organization with critical information surrounding the factors that influence the success of their online businesses. SiteCatalyst provides bottom-line and most importantly real-time information that quantifies and visually represents the effectiveness of website and marketing initiatives. Going beyond simple data points about historical site activity, SiteCatalyst provides actionable information that allows immediate action on factors that most affect success.

ABOUT OMNITURE
Omniture, Inc., headquartered in Orem, Utah, is the pioneer of next-generation web analytics technology and is the most experienced provider of adaptable solutions to large, complex websites. Omniture develops and markets SiteCatalyst, which has been designed specifically for the needs of enterprise companies to monitor visitor and commerce activity, identify specific points of change, and drive business decisions that increase ROI. Omniture’s unique commitment to responding to customer needs in developing advanced solutions and cutting-edge technology has resulted in the highest client retention in the industry and an impressive client list, which includes eBay, Time Warner, Gannett, Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, Overstock.com, GM, Hewlett-Packard and VeriSign.

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