Nowadays, more and more marketing investments converge on digital. But there are still many activities that cannot conclude their online sales and for which measuring the impact of online advertising becomes more complicated. This situation is particularly evident in the automotive sector, marked by a long and complex purchase path where much of the product research is performed online but the final purchase takes place offline. To circumvent this measurement problem, Volkswagen Russia has adopted new tools offered by Google.

The objectives

  • Supporting the effectiveness of advertising
  • Optimize the media mix and investments
  • Calculate the impact of digital marketing on buying offline cars

The approach

  • Welcome Email to count the auto neo-owners as offline conversions in Google Analytics
  • Multi-channel funnels to rebuild sales paths
  • Sales path data analyzed to detect the relative performance of media sources

The results

  • Indirect event rate from Google equal to 44%
  • Conversion rate from Google equal to 0.48%

In Russia, the team of Google specialized in auto and engine has developed a solution that allows you to rebuild backwards the path of purchase of a car. A welcome email is sent to the new owner of a car with the request to visit a specific landing page on the website of the automobile company, accessible only through the direct link in the email. In Google Analytics, this visit is counted as a conversion action for purchase, allowing you to measure all previous activities and site visits made by the same device.

Volkswagen, a leading company in the sector and among the leading digital advertisers in Russia, has immediately made this unique attribution approach to obtain a competitive advantage to increase even more the effectiveness of the activities of Digital marketing. In collaboration with the CRM agency Itella Connections, the car company wanted to create a research group that, dedicating itself to the continuous analysis of car buyers, could build attribution models, take decisions at the level of Digital mix and identify future investments.

As soon as the visit to the site generated by the welcome email was recorded by Google Analytics as an offline conversion action, the team performed a multi-channel funnel report for the 90 days prior to the conversion. In this way, it was possible to analyze the traffic sources and the behavior of the customers on the website, as well as to evaluate the rate of indirect events, for each advertising channel, which led to the purchase of the vehicle.

Within a month, a total of 6953 buyers of Volkswagen cars were sent welcome emails to 3960 customers. Of these, 1021 visited the landing page, thus recording a response rate of 21%. In This final group, Google Analytics then identified 623 return visitors (i.e. 61% of the customers who had clicked on the Welcome email link) and thus generated 623 purchase paths destined to be scanned.

From this analysis it emerged that Google, having contributed to 44% of the purchase routes, recorded the rate of indirect events higher than all other paid media. The sources from social media and direct deals, despite the disproportionate share of financial investments they enjoy, have proven to be the most overrated, with a total contribution of less than 5% in the purchase routes. In contrast to these percentages, the first-click Report data confirmed that, thanks to Google, 12% of customers made a conversion to the Volkswagen website.

Drawing on this data, Volkswagen has thus been able to calculate the conversion rates for the purchase of cars according to the different sources of TRAFFICO1. Google has distinguished itself as a leader, having recorded the highest conversion rate to 0.48%. These premises helped Volkswagen revise its investment strategy to benefit the best-performing sources. To deepen the data emerged from this research still underway, Volkswagen intends to further enrich the framework by adding to the parameters of the analysis the average impressions (including the video ads) and the websites of the dealerships.

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