Company: Omaha World Herald
Owner: BH Media
Initiative: Automotive Virtual Sales Events
Challenge: In early 2018, the Omaha World Herald signed a number of large automotive dealers in their market as advertising clients. However, the company wanted to find a solution that would bring immediate engagement between consumers and auto dealers.
Solution: To acquire new revenues from a traditional market, the company chose to launch an Automotive Virtual Sales Event on the Wehaa platform. Here are the key elements of the launch strategy:
The team selected late Spring/early Summer to launch the sale.
Pricing was divided between the dealers, and each paid a similar rate for use of the platform and the turnkey promotional package. Wehaa says the pricing that markets take to dealers ranges from about $1,200 to $3,000 per dealer for the event, depending on the size of the market. The raw cost to a newspaper market using the Wehaa solution, though, is roughly a third of the dealer cost.
Wehaa supplied the promotional collateral and training for the sale event. Over ten days, promotions included hundreds of thousands of impressions on Omaha.com, print ads and a Facebook campaign delivered by Wehaa´s staff, experienced in targeting auto intenders.
Below is an example from the slide deck of the print ad, reverse published from dealer inventory, with the hero position rotating between dealers:
How it worked
The sales manager and two AE's signed up eight major local dealers, showing them collateral and giving demos of an actual tent sale. A critical element to making the sales was showing how the promotions would drive traffic to the virtual sales event, and then to the Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) on the dealer´s site. This was their core way of scoring campaign success. This is the key, as no other digital partners are doing this.
Users who entered the virtual sale during the 10 days started at the front of the sale site where a carousel features various cars.
They search the Omaha World Herald branded virtual sale site for either the dealer or the model of a car they are interested in.
This is what the dealer page looks like:
Once they reach a car they want - or a dealer - and click through to the car they want, the click from the car goes directly off the newspaper site to the dealer´s own VDP. The dealers want the traffic to land on the VDP.
Here is an example of how users click from the dealer page to the VDP:
The actual sales were made face-to-face at the dealership.
Normally when an auto dealer holds a sales event, especially over a key weekend, they promote using print, digital, broadcast and cable.
To track results from the first Virtual Sale more closely, the promotion was designed with only one promotional partner, the Omaha World Herald, spanning just 10 days.
The sales tracking was savvy: Since there was only one promotional partner and every car included in the event is taken off the web site when sold, both sides could simply measure the number of vehicles participating on the platform at the beginning of the 10 days, and how many were left at the end.
The only vehicles that were counted as sold were the vehicles removed during the sale that had also received at least one click, verified by a UTM tracking code placed on the click-through from the sales platform to the VDP. So it was very measurable.
The exact price paid by each of the eight dealers is proprietary, but per dealer packages charged by the newspaper are typically in the $1,200 to $3,000 range.
The newspaper print, website ads and programmatic delivered more than 2.4 million impressions to the dealer sites, 6 million car impressions and 9,866 clicks to the VDP pages.
The Facebook campaign reached 106,000 people, for 135,000 car impressions and 1,397 clicks to VDP pages.
In total, 491 vehicles were sold by their estimation in the 10-day sales event.
Market: Roanoke Times
Company: BH Media
Initiative: Virtual Auto/Powersports/RV Sales Event
Challenge: The Roanoke Times had a slightly different challenge and a smaller market. They had already been successful running Virtual Automotive Sales events for the prior two years, but in 2018 they wanted to increase revenues by broadening the automotive category included.
With its lakes and hills, Roanoke turns into a huge recreational area for outdoor activities in the summer. However, automotive categories related to outdoor recreation, such as RVs, boats, and all-terrain vehicles rarely used any media advertising.
Solution: Roanoke Times decided to create a sales event that would feature all types of vehicles in the market, not just automobiles, and to pitch the virtual sales event to this new market to “entice them into saying yes.”
The Times also offered the same package to each dealer.
A sales team, including the sales manager, sales rep and a digital manager, went to market with a presentation that included powerpoint collateral and a live online demo of the previous sales events, so the new dealers could see how the events drove traffic to the dealer VDP page.
Here is an example of the new 10-day tent sale as it appeared from a link on the Roanoke Times:
The newspaper, O&O ads and programmatic were able to drive 308,340 impressions to the dealer page, in addition to 717,652 impressions to vehicle pages and 3,998 VDP clicks.
Facebook delivered another 60,008 site visitors, 95,117 car impressions and 1,725 clicks to the VDP’s.
When results were tallied, sales stood at 170 vehicles sold during the 10-Day virtual sale, including 11 RV sales and 11 boat sales.
We estimate that nearly $10,000 in revenue was achieved by the event with eight dealers, confirmed by Wehaa. The total revenue per event depends on the market size and number of dealers involved.
With regularly scheduled events per year, virtual automotive tent sales provide a high margin turnkey solution to add revenue from this category and broaden the automotive base.
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