In early 2012, based on years of work with the biggest 3rd party listings sites as a technology vendor, it became clear to us that the Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) was not only the most important page on 3rd party sites, it is the most important part of a dealers website.
Having spent more than 8 years dynamically driving VDP Views we believed only one more factor needed to be added to the ecosystem to enable the tipping point we find ourselves in. The significant improvement of dealer websites. The average dealer website has become the best place to send a car buyer. Website vendors like DealerFire, DealerOn, and SearchOptics are continually creating better and better websites. By better, I mean from a product listing and conversion standpoint.
In 2013, the automotive industry erupted with VDP focused research. Early adopters began talking about the benefits and importance of the VDP view, as a website metric for dealer sales success. Since then there have been regular blogs, articles and research papers about the impact of the VDP View on vehicle sales. Today, there is no doubt that increasing VDP and SRP views have a positive impact on sales.
The Vehicle Detail Page Click, a click which comes from your chosen advertising source and goes directly to a Vehicle Detail Page on your site, can prove to be a bit elusive. Many companies today are heavily focused on clicks to the VDP. For example LotLinx, one of the biggest promoters of the VDP click or Deep-linking, uses premium listings on 3rd party listings sites to drive dealer VDP views. Dynamic Search is a more recent way to get car buyers clicking directly to the VDP. In Display advertising, there are a few versions available. Static display ads focused on a single vehicle with the click going to the VDP for that specific car or truck. These are often served dynamically in a retargeting campaign to the user who has visited a specific VDP. Dynamic Display Ads, like those found in the Auto Audience Network, are Dealer branded templates, which populate with specific vehicles of interest as the ad is shown to the car buyer. Each vehicle in these ads clicks to the corresponding Vehicle Detail Page on the dealers own website.
However, the VDP click is creating a new problem. How do we properly measure the value of VDP clicks? Previously, the metrics used to measure the value of traffic/clicks to your site were Time on Site, Page Views, and Bounce Rate. Are these still great metrics? Yes, but can we compare them to Non-VDP clicks? Just like Search Clicks vs. Display Clicks, VDP vs. Non-VDP clicks need to be considered in a different light. Why? Simply put, you’re sending a consumer to the punchline with one click. There is no need to find the site search, input the search parameters, or choose the vehicle from the Search Results Page (SRP). This eliminates a minimum of 3 pages a buyer needs to navigate through on your site and more than a minute less time on site. This reality reduces Time on Site and Page Views, and increases Bounce Rate. This is not bad, but it is different.
In Tampa, at Digital Dealer 18, I will spend a significant amount of time reviewing these questions and more in my session at the 18th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition from April 21-23 in Tampa, FL: The Vehicle Detail Page Click – How to Get More Direct VDP Views and Make Them Stick.