Michael Thomas – Perficient Blogs https://blogs.perficient.com Expert Insights Mon, 18 May 2020 14:10:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i2.wp.com/blogs.perficient.com/files/favicon-194x194-1.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Michael Thomas – Perficient Blogs https://blogs.perficient.com 32 32 30508587 Combining Online & Offline Data in Automotive – Part Three https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/03/31/combining-online-offline-data-in-automotive-part-three/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/03/31/combining-online-offline-data-in-automotive-part-three/#respond Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:00:37 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=272384

In the past two posts I explored the topic of automotive companies merging online and offline data to build better customer profiles and better understand their consumer base. In the first post, I discussed the data landscape in automotive and the overall need to combine online and offline data. In the second post, I focused on the basic tools and technology needed to merge online and offline data, make sense of it through reporting and house it all. The focus of this post will be the additional tools needed to create personalized and precisely targeted experiences to your individual consumers, based on the improved customer profiles created through the merging of online and offline data.

Testing, targeting and personalization

The first, and perhaps most obvious, action auto companies can take with their improved data-sets is increase the targeting accuracy of their digital advertising. They can do this by using the new audience segments they create with the additional customer attributes they were able to include after the data merge. The behaviors these consumers are displaying, both online and offline, give insights about them that marketers can use to more effectively target and message to these consumers. In order to carry out this action, you need a cross-channel engagement platform that allows you to manage all the delivery options of your marketing campaigns. This engagement platform should connect with your DMP and your analytics platform, with bi-directional capabilities, allowing you to pass data and information from one tool to another.

A second action auto companies can take after combining online and offline data is improving their on-site targeting capabilities. In other words, the ability to serve the right content to the right individual while they are on your website. This requires the implementation of some sort of rule-based testing and targeting tool. As with the engagement platform discussed above, this targeting tool will need to fully integrate with your DMP, analytics platform, and even with the engagement platform. Now that you know more about your consumers, you can serve them more relevant content and provide them with a better user experience, leading to improved conversions and ultimately more auto sales.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the need to merge online and offline data, the tools needed to make it happen, and the resulting benefits. Implementing all of this technology and finding the right talent to maintain it can be a challenging feat for automotive companies. As discussed before, the auto industry has numerous ways to collect consumer data and is collecting and housing huge volumes of it. Choosing the right technology and digital partner can be crucial to successfully merging online and offline data, and to successfully utilizing it to improve your digital marketing and consumer experience. An incorrect implementation can lead companies to make important business decisions based on incorrect data. So, the damage done by a poor implementation goes far beyond the implementation itself. The right partner should have expertise in all tools discussed in this blog series and be able to navigate the implementation in a successful direction.

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Combining Online & Offline Data in Automotive – Part Two https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/03/24/combining-online-offline-data-in-automotive-part-two/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/03/24/combining-online-offline-data-in-automotive-part-two/#respond Tue, 24 Mar 2020 13:00:35 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=271479

In a previous blog post, I discussed the need and importance of combining online and offline data in the automotive industry. Now, in part two of this blog series, I will discuss some of the basic tools needed for combining online and offline data, as well as give some high-level examples of the types of offline data you may want to ingest and merge with your online data.

What tools do I need?

After deciding to make the connection of online and offline data, one obvious question is; “what tools do I need to make the connection?”. If you are a large automotive company, or their ad agency, chances are you already have some of the necessary tools. However, you most likely don’t have all the needed tools and you most likely aren’t maximizing the full capabilities of the tools you do have. This is where a tech partner who specializes in digital transformation is crucial.

At a high-level, you will need a tag management system to tag your website and online ads and collect data from user engagements. You will need a data management platform (DMP) to house all this data you are collecting. You will need an analytics platform to make sense of the data and create reporting dashboards that inform the organization. These tools should all be able to talk to one another and should have bi-directional capabilities, allowing the business user to send data and info from one system to another. There are additional tools needed to take your capabilities to the next level, and we will discuss some of those later. For now, lets focus on using the tools mentioned above, which collect online data, and discuss how offline data can be ingested into these tools and combined with the online data.

How to make the online-to-offline connection

Most auto manufacturers have given each person in their customer database an identification number to keep track of their interactions with the company, from the day they bought the vehicle, as they have service performed at dealerships, through the entire life-cycle of the vehicle(s) they have purchased. This identification number allows auto companies to create a consumer profile where much of their data is combined. Much of this is offline data. Many auto companies have mastered the use of this data for CRM purposes, but there is still much room for improvement in-terms of using and combining online data with offline data.

A high-level overview of this online-to-offline data merger would include ingesting/uploading a data file or data-set of offline data, that includes a consumer ID field, into your DMP. Then you would want to match the consumer ID field in the offline data-set with the data platform IDs stored within your DMP, using a known data-point such as email address. That way, you can take all the offline data you have on that customer and add it to the online data you are collecting on them as they visit your site and view your online ads. Now you have a more complete profile of your customers.

A simple and common example would be collecting a consumer’s email within a form they filled out in-person at an event. Then sending them an email with some kind of promotion and call to action. The user clicks/engages with the call to action within the email and is taken to your website. You now know this website visitor’s email, which you can use to ingest and match all the offline data collected on them, to the platform ID within your DMP created for them as they entered your site. You have now effectively tied the offline data collected on that consumer at the event, to the online data captured during their website visit. Another common offline data touch-point in automotive comes during interactions at the dealership, such as purchasing a vehicle or bringing a vehicle in for service. This offline data can be ingested and merged with online data in the same manner as the data collected in the event example used above.

Where the analytics platform comes in

Now that we have merged the online and offline data, we need to start making sense of it using reports and dashboards within your analytics reporting tool. A quality analytics platform should allow you to slice your data and view in different ways that help you make better business, marketing and advertising decisions. As you use the analytics reports in the analytic tool to better understand the full consumer profiles you have created, you can start to create new and more valuable audience segments within your DMP to target with individualized website content and ad campaigns. We will get further into this topic, and the additional tools needed, in part three of this blog series on combining online and offline data in automotive. Stay tuned for part three next week.

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Combining Online and Offline Data in Automotive – Part One https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/03/18/combining-online-offline-data-in-automotive-part-one/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/03/18/combining-online-offline-data-in-automotive-part-one/#respond Wed, 18 Mar 2020 14:00:48 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=271365

As technology advances, new ways to gather customer data and new ways to use that data in marketing and customer outreach have emerged. This has created a new need for many companies in various industries. The need to combine offline data with online data in accurate and intelligent ways, allowing the organization to gather more customer intel and do a better job of using that data to reach the right consumers at the right time. This is especially true in the automotive industry, which has many more types of customer interactions and touch-points than the average industry. Auto companies are gathering first-party data online from visitors to their websites, their apps, and from those exposed to their online advertising. They are collecting offline data from customers at dealerships and any live events (auto shows, etc..). They are collecting in-vehicle data while drivers operate the vehicle, both data from the car’s mechanics/functionality and from the drivers’ use/interactions with vehicle features and apps. Finally, they are also ingesting second and third-party data from partners and data sellers. This could be income and financial data from insurance companies, banks, and other financial institutions. It could also be general industry data such as syndicate studies and surveys from J.D. Power, Oracle Data Cloud, IHS or Cox Automotive, just to name a few.

Setting the current data landscape in Automotive

You can see how this can get complicated quickly, making it difficult to accurately collect and merge this data in ways that are useful in making business decisions. Currently, there aren’t any auto manufacturers that are paving the way and standing head and shoulders above the competition in this arena. All auto companies are collecting all the data I mentioned above, and some are moving forward and making improvements in different ways. But, all of them struggle to accurately merge online and offline data, making sure the user behind the online device is the same person who filled out the form at the event, and the same consumer who took their vehicle to their local dealership for service. Additionally, even after figuring out how to combine online and offline data, they then struggle with using this data across business units to provide a consistent marketing message and a consistent consumer experience. Much of the struggle comes from lack of communication across business units, as teams within these units don’t know how other units are using the same data, how each one of them plays a specific role in the consumer journey, and that they are only as good as the weakest link.

A trusted digital partner is the key to success

To combat the issue of actually combining online and offline data, auto companies need to have strong technology and digital transformation partners that can help them correctly implement the software and digital platforms needed, as well as identify the needed talent/skillset to maintain these new systems. To tackle the issues around using the data, after correctly combining it, these auto companies need to consider implementing some kind of data center of excellence or competency center. This center of excellence should include leaders from the auto company’s internal business units, from the digital transformation partner, and from the ad agency/marketing service providers. Getting all of these stakeholders working together is important to the success of this endeavor. Successfully combining your online and offline data in automotive can put you ahead of the competition and can potentially allow you to gain deeper consumer insights, allow you to better target individuals with personalized content and provide a much more consistent consumer experience across all consumer touch-points.

Now that we have discussed the need for combining online and offline data in part one of this blog series, we will get into some specifics around the tools needed to collect and combine data in part two. We will also talk about some simple, but important, examples of combining online and offline data-sets in automotive. Check back next week for part two.

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Address Data Privacy Challenges and What Future Laws to Expect https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/03/04/address-data-privacy-challenges-and-what-future-laws-to-expect/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/03/04/address-data-privacy-challenges-and-what-future-laws-to-expect/#respond Wed, 04 Mar 2020 14:05:33 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=250634

Previously, I discussed the compliance hurdles that will come with the California Consumer Privacy Act. This final blog of the series addresses data privacy challenges and highlights a few future laws that will be enacted soon.

In order to overcome these data privacy challenges, you can implement automated data scanning/discovery and correction tools, or data cataloging tools, to better understand all of the locations where personally identifiable information (PII) is located.

Another aspect to consider is whether or not your company should use some sort of device graph. A device graph is essentially an identity management system that maps/ links multiple devices to an individual. Consumers typically own several devices, and those same devices are often shared between multiple users, such as family members. With this in mind, the use and importance of a device graph have significantly increased for many companies, including automotive.

CCPA laws will certainly cause device graph users to rethink and re-work their collection setup. Omitting data across one of the user’s devices may not be enough if they are also using a second or even third device. If they request to opt-out, you will need to ensure that you are omitting the data being collected from all devices that the consumer uses. This is where the implementation of a customer master data management system comes into play. It can enable the deletion of personal data, via a master record, from all devices and sources, all at once. In this case, a device graph may help meet that goal, but it may still require some changes during setup.

One question that remains is, what data do automotive OEMs have to delete versus what data might be considered “essential to the operation of a vehicle?” Some examples revolve around autonomous driving, navigation records, vehicle diagnostics, and service reminders, to name a few. This remains an important open question given the amount of telemetry data that can now be collected from a vehicle, for the most part, without the customer’s knowledge or permission.

CCPA isn’t the first data privacy law, and it won’t be the last

As mentioned, similar data privacy laws have already been introduced in the EU. In 2020, expect to see other states and countries adopt this idea, in some cases, with small differences. Brazil will be implementing its new data protection law, Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados (LGPD), and Thailand will implement its Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), both in 2020. Automotive OEMs, along with their technology partners and agencies, will need to fully understand the differences to ensure they are correctly complying in each region of the world.

Compliance is a massive undertaking, but working with an experienced partner can help you comply with current laws and prepare for what’s to come.

To learn more about the CCPA’s impact on the automotive industry, compliance hurdles to expect, and how to address data privacy challenges, you can click here or download below.

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Compliance Hurdles You Can Expect With the CCPA https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/02/25/compliance-hurdles-you-can-expect-with-the-ccpa/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/02/25/compliance-hurdles-you-can-expect-with-the-ccpa/#respond Tue, 25 Feb 2020 14:03:43 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=250631

My last blog introduced the CCPA and discussed how it will impact automotive companies. This blog examines compliance hurdles that will come with the California Consumer Privacy Act. The vast majority of the issues that you will face when working towards CCPA compliance are technical ones. You will need to create a “compliance portal” to monitor and handle the consumer requests for data deletion. To do this, you’ll need to work with a trusted technology and digital transformation partner with extensive knowledge of the CCPA and the options that make it easier for you to comply.

For example, you could allow users to fill out a form, and with a single request that their data be deleted, regardless of how many systems it resides in. This automated approach would eliminate the need to manually go into different applications and delete the data, and it would provide consumers with confirmation that their data was deleted.

One of the hurdles that the CCPA introduces includes the ability to remove a user’s data from your reporting, as well as the ability to remove their data from any data sets you plan on selling or trading with a data partner. This can be accomplished by using a tag management system to block the firing of tags and setting of cookies for a user and have their data omitted.

Some of the other challenges that may not be top-of-mind are the ability to remove the user’s data from ad targeting and website personalization, analytics reports, and from the hands of data brokers.

To learn more about the CCPA’s impact on the automotive industry, compliance hurdles to expect, and how to address data privacy challenges, you can click here or download below.

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My Adobe Audience Manager Certification Experience https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/02/18/my-adobe-audience-manager-certification-experience/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/02/18/my-adobe-audience-manager-certification-experience/#respond Tue, 18 Feb 2020 14:31:19 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=250771

As I wrote previously in another blog post, I challenged myself to obtain a few different Adobe Certifications by the end of 2019. As the end of the year came and went, I ended up with three Adobe Certifications. I’m now an Adobe Certified Expert in Adobe Analytics, Audience Manager and Target.

After passing the Adobe Analytics exam, I decided to go after the Adobe Audience Manager (AAM) Business Practitioner Certification. It made the most sense, as Adobe Analytics and Audience Manager both make up the Adobe Analytics Cloud. I started taking the online partner portal AAM courses with very little previous experience with the Audience Manager. However, I still felt it was easier to understand the concepts and master AAM than it was Adobe Analytics. The actual exam, while challenging, was not as difficult as the Adobe Analytic exam either. But, the AAM knowledge I gained was every bit as valuable. Mastering topics such as creating meaningful audience segments, combining online & offline data sets and using data destinations prove to be valuable in my everyday work as an Analytics Consultant. Below is some info regarding the structure of the AAM Business Practitioner Exam (9A0-415):

Adobe Audience Manager Business Practitioner Certification (9A0-415) Exam Structure

  • Questions: 60
  • Time to Complete: 90 Minutes
  • Type of Test: Multiple Choice & Multiple Select
  • Delivery Method: Online Proctored (webcam & mic required)

All Adobe exams require a score of at least 550 to pass. Your test score can range from 300-700. When reading these requirements for the first time, most people have the same questions; how many questions do I need to answer correctly in order to get at least a 550 passing grade? In my search for this answer, I stumbled upon many forums with comments from people who had the same exact question. The best resource to use, in order to find this answer, can be found in the Adobe ACE Passing Percentage Guide.

This list will tell you the passing percentage needed for each exam. If you use the percentage on this list, along with the number of questions on the exam you are taking (which can be found in the Adobe exam guide for your particular exam: https://learning.adobe.com/catalog.html), you can calculate the number of correct answers needed to score a 550, or above, and pass. For example, there are 60 questions on the 9A0-415 exam, and you need a 73% (as of writing this) to pass. 73% of 60 is 43.8, so you would need to answer 44 of the 60 questions correctly to pass.

Topics Covered

There are over 14 hours of on-demand video training, as well as several instructor-led courses, on the Adobe Partner Solutions website for AAM. However, the 9A0-415 exam takes a narrow focus, with all 60 questions falling into one of these four main topics:

  • Activation (32%): Creating audience segments and traits, understand addressable audiences for destinations, understand how to add new destinations and describe destination types.
  • Analysis (32%): Define Total Audience Size, the difference between Real-Time and Total Segment populations, the daily rate of change of an audience, Boolean Logic, compare audience sizes.
  • Platform Configuration (16%): Clear naming conventions, navigating tool to the right segment, locate and export reports for data manipulation.
  • Data Flow Quality Assurance (20%): Perform quality assurance of the AAM (DEMDEX) pixel, read and interpret Unused Signals Reports, perform quality assurance of match rates to a destination.

Overall, preparing for and taking the AAM Business Practitioner exam was a rewarding experience. While learning, it was obvious that this curriculum was going to make me a better data and analytics professional and help me in my day-to-day work responsibilities.

If you have any interest in learning more about taking Adobe exams, click here for information on the following:

  • Exam Prep Resources
  • How to Register
  • What to Expect on Test Day

This will take you to a previous review of my Adobe Analytics certification experience. The second half of the article covers the three topics listed above. Also, check back in the near future for an additional review of my Adobe Target certification experience.

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[Perspective] California Consumer Privacy Act’s Impact on Automakers https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/02/11/perspective-california-consumer-privacy-act-impact-on-automakers/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/02/11/perspective-california-consumer-privacy-act-impact-on-automakers/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2020 14:01:40 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=250628

Data privacy laws, specifically the California Consumer Privacy Act, continue to be a hot topic of discussion across industries. The automotive industry is no exception. As original equipment manufacturers (OEM) improve their ability to collect, house, and make sense of customer data, they must also improve their ability to adhere to laws and regulations. As well as protect the privacy of their consumers.

Automotive companies are collecting consumer data in many ways. Including from users online who interact with their advertising, from visitors across their various web properties, and current customers as they operate their vehicles. The collection and use of all this data has caused some concern from consumers and regulators. They feel the need to rein this in before it goes any further.

Enter the California Consumer Privacy Act

Many global automotive companies have already been impacted by new data regulations. The introduction of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May of 2018 forced automotive companies, as well as others, to address data privacy issues and the challenges that come with it. California now has its own version of this law that forces companies that do business with consumers in California to comply. Regardless of where the company is physically based. It’s called the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and it went into effect on January 1, 2020.

There are three key objectives that the CCPA seeks to accomplish. First, it gives consumers the right to know what information companies are collecting about them. Second, consumers have the right to ask for their information to be deleted and tell these companies not to share or sell their data. Lastly, the CCPA protects consumers against companies that do not uphold the value of privacy. They enforce this by way of serious consequences for failing to comply with the new laws

The regulations that California laid out will surely spread as other states adopt similar regulations. And because these laws aren’t based on where a company resides, it’s crucial that automotive companies ensure compliance. For example, an automotive manufacturer shouldn’t wait until the state in which it’s based introduces its own data privacy law. If the company sells its cars to consumers in California, the CCPA applies.

To learn more about the CCPA’s impact on the automotive industry, compliance hurdles to expect, and how to address data privacy challenges, you can click here or download below.

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Will Ecommerce Guide the Future to Direct-to-Consumer Sales? https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/02/05/will-ecommerce-impact-on-the-future-of-direct-to-consumer-sales/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/02/05/will-ecommerce-impact-on-the-future-of-direct-to-consumer-sales/#respond Wed, 05 Feb 2020 14:01:30 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=250410

Previously, I examined eCommerce functionality in the automotive industry and the benefits of a direct-to-consumer sales model. This blog follows up and discusses how to find a reliable technology partner, functionality aspects, and aspects of this new direct-to-customer sales method.

Finding a technology partner that specializes in digital transformation is key. That doesn’t simply mean finding a partner that can help you build a roadmap and strategic vision, but rather one that has the in-house knowledge to actually implement the tools and technology needed to make it all happen.

For example, building eCommerce functionality involves not only the digital bucket that consumers “drop” their products into, but it also includes accepting the consumer’s payment of choice, delivering information to the payment processor, distributing the information to a dealership, and storing product information for each consumer. The build-out of such a program requires an incredible understanding of the customer journey, processes, and systems.

Consider the Non-Technical Factors of eCommerce

When looking at the non-technical aspects, such as automotive manufacturers’ relationships with the dealerships, there are several sub-factors to consider when implementing eCommerce functionality. This new functionality will cause concern among the dealer base, and it will be up to the OEM to provide a clear role for the dealers to play and show their value. In some cases, the role of the dealer may need to be larger than simply the pickup location.

Going back to the Tesla example, perhaps the reason to visit the dealership changes, and consumers view the dealership as a place to get familiar with the product. This would also most likely change the employee base at the dealerships. Perhaps dealerships start employing fewer sales representatives and more “product experts” or “evangelists.” These dealers may even want the eCommerce functionality where a consumer could purchase online just as they could the OEM site.

ECommerce functionality could impact the service side of the business for dealers, too. Consumers may build their car online and be matched with a dealership that has that exact car, or opt to receive a delivery of that car when it’s built and ready. This may ultimately erode the loyalty and trust that a consumer may have with a particular dealer. Some consumers will want to stick with their trusted dealer, while others will build the exact car they want online and be willing to travel to a different dealership to pick it up. In the process of the pickup, the new dealership may be able to create a relationship with the new customer, enticing that person to bring their vehicle back for maintenance over its lifetime. Dealers have been competing for loyal customers from the beginning, but this change in the consumer process could lead to less dealership loyalty.

The Physical Impact of Direct-to-Consumer Automotive Sales

It’s also worth mentioning that a direct-to-consumer sales approach could impact physical vehicle production and traditional inventory levels. If consumers go online and build the exact car they want, and pay for it online, manufacturers may be able to better control inventory and waste less time and resources on inventory that goes unsold for a longer period of time. On the flip side, this approach would depend on consumers’ willingness to wait weeks or months to get the car they build. Some may be willing; others may not.

Implementing a direct-to-consumer sales strategy and a digital shopping cart could be the next competitive advantage for OEMs and dealers. While it will be exciting to see how much company’s embrace the direct-to-consumer sales approach and the impact it has on everyone in the “food chain,” one thing is for sure. It will be those with the boldest ideas, the strongest determination, and best technology partners that set themselves apart and rise to the top.

To learn more about how eCommerce could affect direct-to-consumer sales models, what factors come into play when deciding to add eCommerce functionality to a website and the impact on auto manufacturers and dealers you can click here or download our perspective below.

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[Perspective] Is eCommerce the Future of Auto Sales? https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/01/30/perspective-is-ecommerce-the-future-of-auto-sales/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/01/30/perspective-is-ecommerce-the-future-of-auto-sales/#respond Thu, 30 Jan 2020 14:01:17 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=250407

Since 1898, the automotive industry has largely relied on the dealership network approach to sell its products. However, the concept of a direct-to-consumer sales model has become a bigger topic of conversation lately. The majority of the discussion hasn’t been about automotive companies opening physical locations or stores of their own to replace the dealerships, but rather about the consumer completing a purchase online and picking up the car at the dealership.

Even if customers purchase a car online, there still needs to be some face-to-face interaction, which is a good thing, but with this new model, the dreaded negotiating process at the dealership would be eradicated. Even if the auto companies wanted to circumvent the dealerships (which they don’t), they are unable to because of laws prohibiting direct sales in most states. Tesla has run into this issue, and it remains a hurdle for the company. It has physical locations that a consumer can visit to become familiar with the products, but they must go online on their own to purchase a Tesla.

So, without changing any laws on the books, what could a future direct-to-consumer sales model look like in the automotive industry?Car Driving On A Sunset Road

The time is fast approaching when automotive manufacturers will add a shopping cart to their website. The industry is unique in many ways, from the products themselves to the shopping process consumers must go through. Many factors come into play when an automotive company decides to add eCommerce functionality to its website. These factors have a rippling effect that extends well beyond the website itself. Some are obvious, such as the technology and functionality that must be built into the site through the collaboration between marketers and tech experts. Others may not be so obvious, such as the impact on the manufacturer-dealer network relationship. While these aspects are much different from each other, they are equally as crucial in the success or failure of direct-to-consumer sales.

When looking at the technology and website functionality, it’s critical for automotive companies not to overlook the partners they choose to support their transformation efforts. First and foremost, does the partner have first-hand industry experience? Do they have a successful track record working with companies like yours? Partners should also have knowledge of various software vendors, the ability to implement the best solution that fits into the ecosystem currently in place, and the strategic vision to align with your goals.

To learn more about how eCommerce could affect direct-to-consumer sales models, what factors come into play when deciding to add eCommerce functionality to a website and the impact on auto manufacturers and dealers you can click here or download our perspective below.

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My Adobe Analytics Certification Experience https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/01/07/my-adobe-analytics-certification-experience/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/01/07/my-adobe-analytics-certification-experience/#respond Tue, 07 Jan 2020 17:51:28 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=249558

During Q3 2019, I challenged myself to obtain a few different Adobe Certifications by the end of the year. As the end of the year came-and-went, I ended up with three Adobe Certifications. I’m now an Adobe Certified Expert in Adobe Analytics, Audience Manager and Target.

The first certification I pursued was the Analytics Business Practitioner certification or Adobe exam AD0-E202. Although I had a few years of experience in Adobe Analytics (including back in the Omniture days), and a decade of solid data and analytics experience to draw from, preparing for and taking the Analytics exam was difficult and challenging. To be completely honest, I found the Analytics exam much more difficult than the Audience Manager and Target exams. That’s part of the reason why I found the training materials and curriculum so impressive and rewarding. Before I get into the curriculum and the resources I used to prepare, I first want to cover the basics of the exam, how it is structured, and the requirements to pass.

Adobe Analytics Business Practitioner Certification (AD0-E202) Exam Structure

  • Questions: 69
  • Time to Complete: 120 Minutes
  • Type of Test: Multiple Choice & Multiple Select
  • Delivery Method: Online Proctored (webcam & mic required)

All Adobe exams require a score of at least 550 to pass. Your test score can range from 300-700. When reading these requirements for the first time, most people have the same questions; how many questions do I need to answer correctly in order to get at least a 550 passing grade? In my search for this answer, I stumbled upon many forums with comments from people who had the same exact question. The best resource to use, in order to find this answer, can be found in the Adobe ACE Passing Percentage Guide (found here). This list will tell you the passing percentage needed for each exam. If you use the percentage on this list, along with the number of questions on the exam you are taking (found here in the Adobe exam guide for your particular exam), you can calculate the number of correct answers needed to score a 550, or above, and pass. For example, there are 69 questions on the AD0-E202 exam, and you need a 72% (as of writing this) to pass. 72% of 69 is 49.7, so you would need to answer 50 of the 69 questions correctly to pass.

Adobe Analytics Topics Covered

There are over 24 hours of on-demand video training, as well as several instructor-led courses, on the Adobe Partner Solutions website for Adobe Analytics. However, the exam boils all that info down into five main topics:

  • Business Analysis (25%): Determining the best reporting strategy, conversion funnels, interpreting the Solution Design Reference (SDR), outliers and anomalies in reports.
  • Reporting & Dashboarding (25%): Configuring projects using the appropriate tool, fallout & flow visualizations, Report Builder, Data Warehouse, sharing projects, setting Alerts, and looking up dimensions/components.
  • Segmentation & Calculated Metrics (25%): Developing & configuring segments, sharing segments, comparing segments, applying segments to projects, generating calculated metrics and determining metric types.
  • General Tool Knowledge & Troubleshooting (15%): Identifying data quality issues, defining types of dimensions & parameters, bringing data in and out of Adobe Analytics and configuring Report Builder.
  • Administration (10%): Configuring Marketing Channel reports & Processing Rules, Classification Importer & Rule Builder, Marketing URLs, configuring Virtual Report Suites and Report Suite Admin Console settings.

Exam Prep Resources

Below is a list of the resources I used in order to prepare for the exam. On top of using these resources, Adobe recommends that you have 2 years of analytics experience before taking the exam.

  • Adobe’s Partner Sandbox Environment: If you work for a company that partners with Adobe, you can most likely get access to their training sandbox environment, which gives you hands-on access to Adobe Analytics, and any other Adobe tools you want to gain more experience with. Talk to your Adobe admin.
  • On-Demand Training: On the Adobe Partner site, found here, you can get access to several hours of free training videos. These videos were great and made it easy to understand and retain the info.
  • Adobe Certified Expert Exam Guide: Each Adobe exam has its own exam guide. It includes the topics the exam will cover, the number of questions, the amount of time and a checklist of the specific tasks you should be able to perform within the tool before taking the exam. These guides can be found on the Adobe Partner website mentioned above.
  • Adobe User Guide: Found here, the Adobe User Guides are the online manual to all the workings of all the Adobe Experience Cloud tools.
  • Adobe Forums: I regularly visited https://forums.adobe.com, https://community.adobe.com, and https://helpx.adobe.com. These forums helped me further dig into topics covered on the User Guide site.

Adobe also offers in-person and online instructor-led training, but those come at an extra cost beyond the free on-demand training they give their partners access to. I did not use any instructor-led classes.

How to register

In order to register for an Adobe exam, you must visit https://www.certmetrics.com/adobe and create a profile using the same email address you used to create your Adobe partner ID when you logged into the on-demand Adobe Partner website. Once you create your profile, you can view a list of all the different Adobe exams offered, and register for any exam you please. You will then be taken to another website belonging to Adobe’s partner, PSI. There you will need to pick a day/time, pick between online proctored or in-person exam, and pay $180. You may also want to run the PSI system check to ensure your computer setup and webcam meet the standards needed to run the online exam.

What to expect on test day

As I mentioned in the section above about the exam structure, I took the online proctored version of the exam, as there are no physical Adobe testing locations near me. The Adobe online proctored exams are administered by Adobe’s partner PSI (found here). You will need to log-in and give them access to your webcam and mic. Next, you will need to show a valid ID, use your cam to take a picture of yourself, and do a room-scan with the webcam. Adobe and PSI require that you be in an enclosed room, by yourself, with no distractions. You can’t have any food or drinks in the room, you cannot have your phone or use any other tech devices other than the computer being used to take the test. Adobe and PSI do not allow any notes, screenshots or internet browsing while testing. No one is allowed to enter the room while you are testing, all doors must be closed and all windows must be blocked from view. They also ask that you do not talk during the test, including reading the questions out loud. You can’t even mouth the questions as you read them to yourself. Once inside of the testing environment, the clock starts and the first question is displayed. They also provide you with a calculator tool, if needed.

Once you complete the exam and click the submit button, you will be asked to answer a few survey questions about your testing experience. After that, your preliminary results will be displayed. You will get a Congratulations note if you pass, and a “sorry, but…” note if you did not pass. Usually, 2 or 3 days later you will get your official results, which include your score (550 is passing) and a breakdown of your performance on each of the five topics I mentioned above. Each exam question falls under one of the five topics, and you will be given a percentage of questions you answered correctly for each of the five topics. This gives you an idea of those topics you need to improve in before a re-take, if necessary.

Impressive Curriculum

I was genuinely impressed with the Adobe Analytics on-demand curriculum. Not only does it do a thorough job of teaching you all aspects of the tool itself, but it also arms you with additional knowledge that can help you be a better data analyst, a better implementation architect, and better at building and growing client relationships. It goes through the technical documentation you need to create to implement the tool correctly, it teaches you who the client stakeholders are that you need to build relationships with, and what questions you should be asking these clients. Even someone like me, who has over 10 years of analytics experience, can learn several new and valuable aspects that will help make you a better data/tech/consulting professional all around. It is fair to say that Adobe not only met my expectations but far exceeded them with their impressive curriculum.

That great experience and wealth of knowledge I picked up through the Analytics Certification process led me to go after two more Adobe certifications, as I mentioned. I plan on following up this blog post with a mini-series highlighting my experience while preparing for, and taking, the Audience Manager and Target Certification exams.

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Drive More Business with Video Advertising in Automotive Part 2 https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/10/09/drive-more-business-with-video-advertising-in-automotive-part-2/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/10/09/drive-more-business-with-video-advertising-in-automotive-part-2/#respond Wed, 09 Oct 2019 13:01:02 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=244477

One of the fastest-growing digital advertising tactics in the automotive industry is video advertising as dealers begin to see the value of the medium, while others are simply getting on board because they see their competitors doing it. Keeping up with competitors is never a bad thing, but you should always take the time to understand the value of the marketing tactics for which you are paying.

Previously, I discussed how to drive more business with video advertising, the importance of video, and how to create and gather footage. This second part analyses targeting the right audience and how to use metrics to maximize your results. Let’s begin.

Targeting the Right Consumers

First and foremost, you should be hiring an agency or marketing services provider to help you set your targeting parameters, and you should be purchasing programmatically. Programmatic is simply a fancy way of saying that you are purchasing digital ad space in real-time. Dealers don’t need to worry too much about understanding the ins and outs of programmatic buying, but you should be comfortable with your agency or marketing services provider and trust them to carry out your programmatic efforts in the best fashion.

A good marketing services provider will have an understanding of the market your dealership is in, and be able to set the right geographical targeting parameters. You want to find that balance where you are reaching a solid volume of consumers in your area but still targeting only true, in-market shoppers. Good programmatic teams do this by leveraging multiple third-party data providers, which build targeting segments based on specific consumer behaviors. To keep it basic, an auto marketer can use these third-party data segments to precisely target consumers who show behaviors that indicate they are close to purchasing a car.

Which Metrics Determine Video Performance?

  • Impressions = Number of times your ad was served and appeared on a user’s computer screen
  • Clicks = Number of times a user clicked on the ad, taking them to the dealer website (for example)
  • Views = Number of times the video started playing
  • Completion Rate = Percentage of those that watched the entire video (Completions / Total Views)
  • Cost per Completed View = Total Video Spend / Completions

Many people are familiar and comfortable with impressions and clicks, but completion rate and cost per completed view may be new to some. A good pre-roll video campaign should be driving a completion rate of more than 50% and a cost per completed view below 10 cents. Now, not all campaigns are going to perform in that range, but use these metrics as barometers when testing and optimizing your video campaigns. These are key metrics that you can’t get when advertising on television. So, not only can you reach more consumers for less money with video compared to TV, but you can also get the analytics you need to optimize your campaigns and continue to spend your budget wisely.

Final Thoughts

Start with programmatically buying pre-roll video spots and make sure your marketing service provider does a good job creating and targeting true, in-market audience segments. Embrace the metrics you get from video advertising. These are metrics you can’t get from TV ad buys. Use them to your advantage to take your video campaign performance to the next level.

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Drive More Business with Video Advertising in Automotive https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/09/24/drive-more-business-with-video-advertising-automotive/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/09/24/drive-more-business-with-video-advertising-automotive/#respond Tue, 24 Sep 2019 13:02:59 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=244473

One of the fastest-growing digital advertising tactics in the automotive industry is video advertising as dealers begin to see the value of the medium, while others are simply getting on board because they see their competitors doing it. Keeping up with competitors is never a bad thing, but you should always take the time to understand the value of the marketing tactics for which you are paying.

This blog series examines how to drive more business with video advertising. This blog covers the importance of video, and how to create and gather footage. So let’s begin.

Why Video?

Every day, people are cutting ties with traditional cable and satellite TV companies in favor of getting their content online. These people, known as “cord-cutters,” are largely Millennials, but older generations are also jumping on the bandwagon. In light of this trend, Google recommends that automotive dealers use 15% of their TV advertising budget on online video advertising.

If cord-cutters aren’t motivation enough, then consider the following:

  • 75% of auto shoppers say that online video has influenced their shopping habits or purchases
  • 61% of auto buyers visited a dealership after viewing a video ad
  • 40% of purchasers decided which brand to purchase based on an online video ad

While video can and does influence purchasing behavior, it should be thought of as an awareness play, just like display advertising. Don’t expect to see a large volume of leads coming from video campaigns – that’s not the purpose of the tactic. Instead, you should run display and video campaigns in tandem with paid search. Let display and video campaigns increase awareness, which in turn will increase search volume and can ultimately help drive more leads.

Creating and Gathering Video Footage

Many dealers ask the same question: “Where do I get the videos, or do I have to create them?” The first place you should look when searching for video footage is your organizational equipment manufacturer (OEM). Most OEMs allow dealers to leverage the national and regional TV spots in online video campaigns. Your marketing services partner should be able to provide some minimal editing, add voice-over audio, and stitch an end-card to the video that shows your dealership’s brand, location, specials, and incentives.

video advertising

The production cost for this type of video spot is minimal and cost effective. Plus, it is always a good idea to keep your messaging consistent from medium to medium so that consumers who see the national or regional commercials on TV can be hit with the same commercial consistently online. This same logic can also be applied for those dealers that have their own local TV spots. If you already took the time and money to create TV ads for your dealership, by all means, use them in a video campaign.

If you have the budget and want to take your video campaigns to the next level, you can create additional video assets. Vehicle walk-arounds are always good, and a marketing agency should be able to help you with the production of these as well. These types of videos can be used in a video campaign, on your dealership website, or on your social media pages. Vehicle walk-arounds should be used to feature new vehicle models of which you have a large, or they can be used for pre-owned vehicles that may take more time to sell. If you anticipate that you can quickly sell a pre-owned vehicle, then there is no need to do a vehicle walk-around. On the flip side, if you have a more specialized vehicle, that can take longer to sell than your average pre-owned vehicle, a video walk-around and website/social media promotion would make sense.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to limit your video advertising spots to 15 or 30 secondsShorter spots drive much better performance and also keep the consumer from feeling like you are monopololizing their time. The last thing you want to do is turn the potential of a positive video campaign into a negative experience in the mind of the consumer. Website and social media page videos can be longer than 30 seconds, but it’s not recommended to go longer than a minute. 

Final Thoughts

The importance and use of auto dealer video advertising are only going to increase. Remember, start with the free and readily available video content from your OEM. Make sure you lean on your marketing service provider to help with creating video campaigns. Use vehicle walk-arounds to help move specific models of which you have a high inventory, and keep your videos short and to the point.

Follow along with this series when my next installment highlights using pre-roll and native video, targeting the right customers, and how to analyze metrics for maximum results.

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