Your Automotive Marketing Specialists

Your Automotive Marketing Specialists

Digital Dealer Conference | Las Vegas 2021 Recap

4 min read

The Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas last week was a great reminder of an industry coming together to learn and grow like it hasn’t been able to in years. If you were in attendance, you might agree the primary focus was to align dealerships with an even faster changing industry of shortages, advertising limitations and digital retailing. This automotive world that we know is arguably facing one of the toughest eras, but many dealers are coming out ahead.

Dealerships, marketing professionals, and vendors from all over the country headed to Vegas October 11-14th to take some time to reflect on this era, brainstorm the challenges and triumphs it has presented and acquire some tools for moving forward. Here is one instance where what happens in Vegas should definitely NOT stay in Vegas. Read this recap to get everything you missed!

Automotive Inventory Shortages

I know… I know, you certainly didn’t miss this memo and no, of course, you didn’t have to go to the conference to learn this. However, given this new world where we have no chips and cars are being assembled with nowhere to go until they just aren’t being assembled anymore, it’s time to do something about it. Here are the solutions: digital retailing to sell your in transit inventory and sell it to a much broader market area. Merchandising your used car inventory like never before. Did you know that 40+ images per vehicle have a 75% higher chance of conversion?

Where have all the Cookies Gone?

As if we aren’t dealing with enough right now, the internet has served up another challenge that has actually been ongoing over the past couple of years but could prove to hit it toughest point for advertising in the next year. Cookies – not the delicious chocolate chip kind, but the kind that lets us track online behaviors and target to those individuals have slowly been disappearing since 2017. If you’re an Apple user, or if your digital marketing agency has given you the heads up, one of the latest IOS updates eliminated cookies for these users following Safari in 2017 and Firefox in 2019. Looking ahead, Chrome plans to do the same in 2022 and all cookies are expected to be eliminated by 2023. Since this has been part of the mix slowly for a few years now, we have been handling the situation quietly and helping our clients understand what this means and what we can do, and it seems the information coming from the conference was right in line with what we’ve been saying for years.

Right now, this doesn’t necessarily mean a true disappearance of cookies. I’m sure you’ve gone online whether on your computer, tablet or phone and seen the little screen that pops up prompting you to accept the cookies for the website you’re visiting. The truth is most people DO accept these cookies. Here’s what studies have found over the last few years: people are willing to receive targeted ads relevant to what they want and like. So, the pool of users is still there it will just be a lot smaller. You’ll now get your pool of users from 1st and 2nd party data. Our company has been combing and collecting 1st party data for our clients for quite some time now. Our ID Retargeting program allows you to see the actual people coming in to your website and market to them within minutes. This matches clicks with real people and can even tell you what car they have in their driveway right now. Your 2nd party data will take a little leg work to obtain. You’ll have to partner with another company who collects their own 1st party data and purchase it from them.

Show me the Money

Contrary to our winnings at the tables in Vegas, the money is flowing right now. Profits are up and reaching record levels for some dealers and manufacturers. This is one spot (and perhaps the most important) where this tough era is proving to be not so bad. Another more “tried and true” profit center is the service center. Our fixed ops digital marketing tactics have proven successful over the last few years, but there is always room for improvement and learning. Here a few quick tips we picked up at the conference:

  • Add specific services to drop menu (popular services like oil change, warranty & recalls, etc.)
  • Create a separate Fixed Ops YouTube channel
  • Service Market Page > Service Details Page > Appointment page
  • 70% of all ROs come from within 10 miles – local campaigns are important!!
  • GMB categories – minimum of 10 and no overlapping categories


If you’ve been struggling to hire it might be time to consider an automated BDC tool. With plenty of vendors to choose from at the conference here are some highlights that might help you make the move. An automated BDC tool, or AI lead tool can help the sales team you do have eliminate a lot of wasted time. These tools with move leads through the funnel piping them in to your CRM as “hot leads” when they are ready and have requested to be contacted in return. This allows your team to spend less time digging through the trenches that can be that first lead alert and cut right to the good stuff.

For more information on anything you might have missed at Digital Dealer 2021, or for a little help tackling some of these tools above, contact us today!