Terms and Definitions
Leads are shoppers who have converted and identified themselves either via a form-fill or a phone call. AutoLeadStar does not count pageviews or clicks as leads. We define leads as an opportunity whose details are captured and sent into the Dealership CRM. AutoLeadStar tracks and provides reporting on the following lead sources:
- Leads from calls - This metric combines clicks on the Google Ads call extensions added to Acquire ads AND calls tracked via DNI from numbers displayed on the dealership's website (either the DNI AutoLeadStar sets up on behalf of the Dealer using Google's DNI, or using the numbers from any third party services a client may be using and has provided to their account manager).
- Website leads - This metric includes all submitted lead forms from shoppers who came to the dealership site off Acquire ads (this can include Connect lead forms, if Connect is activated on an account). Although not all conversions take place via the Connect widget, our snippet, which is placed across the entire site is "listening to" to all forms and therefore we are able to use input tracking to count conversions which take place onsite, but outside of AutoLeadStar.
Unlike some ad agencies, we attribute AutoLeadStar leads only for a conversion that happens within 30 days of the call or the ad-click, and only count a phone call lead for a call lasting over 60 seconds as verified by Google.
To learn more about Acquire Lead reporting, read about Acquire Dashboard Reporting or check out this Dashboard Reporting User webinar (lead reporting for Acquire is specifically discussed starting at minute 23:00).
- Connect Conversions on Site: Connect leads include shoppers who convert on any of the active connect modules on the dealer website (E-price, Book Appointment, Test Drive, etc.),
- Connect CTC and Chat Conversions: Connect also reports on leads who have converted inside a Chat conversation (if Connect ChatBot is enabled) as well as those who click on the Click-to-Call (CTC) icon nested within the Connect Widget.
To learn more about Connect lead reporting, read about Reports: Connect Performance.
Cost Per Lead
Cost per lead is typically calculated by taking the total of your ad spend divided by the number of leads captured in a particular campaign. This is a pretty straight forward calculation if you have a closed system where you can track every action in your conversion funnel. Given that AutoLeadStar operates across multiple channels and the lead conversions come in from multiple traffic sources, and can take place within multiple forms and website plugins, a direct calculation can be challenging and sometimes present an incomplete picture.
Lead We Can't See
There are some kinds of leads that we cannot track but which we know have come to your site and should be attributed to AutoLeadStar. This is because some conversions can occur on web pages that are embedded within an Iframe. Examples of these kinds of pages can include service appointment booking pages or Trade-In forms.
Conversions which take place within an IFrame are difficult for AutoLeadStar to track because the IFrame provider is often times unable or unwilling to insert the AutoLeadStar code snippet into their pages. Therefore, we can't "see" what happens in those forms. However, based on our research and observations across hundreds of clients and thousands of website, we are certain conversions are taking place.
Another type of lead which is difficult to track are phone calls which don't come from ad extensions or known DNI numbers. Sometimes dealerships have multiple phone numbers - one listed on their Google My Business Page, another listed on their website, another listed in their website footer, another listed on a dealer group page etc. Again, based on our research and observations across hundreds of clients and thousands of website, we are certain additional phone conversions are taking place that we don't necessarily have visibility into.
While the discrepancy between the actual tracked number of leads and leads which we know are taking place but lack visibility for is very small, we do incorporate them into our calculation of the overall Cost Per Lead. Meaning, the formula we use is the Total Ad Spend divided by Tracked Phone Leads + Tracked Website Leads + % of hidden leads. In this way, we can be sure to report more accurately the true cost per lead on your account.
It is important to note however, that while we incorporate a certain % of hidden leads into the calculation for cost per lead, we do NOT include any leads in your total lead count that are not tracked and verified.
To track AutoLeadStar events or set up goals inside your Google Analytics account, click here.
How can you help us improve accuracy?
You can help us improve accuracy by reducing the rate of your Hidden Website Leads and increasing the rate of your Tracked Website Leads.
Read about how you can help us to track more leads.
What factors can impact my cost per lead?
Typically we see that the higher the spend, the higher the CPL. With low spend the system will focus on the low hanging fruits which are the “cheap” leads. The more spend it has, the more expensive leads it can reach for (see visual aid below to explain how more budget can increase CPL).
It's also important to note that any restriction/adjustments to the system will increase the CPL. This can include actions like, budget allocation, targeting exceptions, boosting, etc. Fallowing any major changes, one should also keep in mind that any major change to the system will re-trigger the learning process which can also affect CPL (for a limited time) - changing budget, changing targeting, pausing/running new Channels/Objectives and even Bundles.
Even though the Acquire AI system is always learning, it’s not guaranteed that each month will have a lower CPL than the previous month. Sometimes there are “external” factors that can affect the performance such as seasonality, inventory levels, OEM and dealer incentives and the market demand.
To learn more about factors that can impact your CPL, check out this user webinar where we discuss Cost Per Lead.