Fresh Dealer Reviews connected to increased VDPs on Cars.com

Getting online reviews can be tough work, but a new analysis shows yet again that setting up processes to monitor and solicit Dealer Reviews on Cars.com can pay major dividends for proactive dealers.

Automotive Online Reputation, Dealer Reviews

Based on Cars.com shopper activity from September 2013 through February 2014, dealerships with seven or more new reviews received nearly three times as many vehicle detail page views compared to dealerships with no new reviews. Though an increase in VDPs is just one of many positives effects of a healthy online reputation, the tangible correlation highlights the impact of getting quality online reviews with consistent frequency.

How does your dealership consistently ask customers for online reviews? Share your tips in the comments section below.

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2 thoughts on “Fresh Dealer Reviews connected to increased VDPs on Cars.com

  1. Ever since Cars.com first announced they were going to allow consumers to rate and review their experience at the dealership, I wondered how this would effect overall conversion on the VDP. Of course many variables come into play, like placement of the reviews, ages of reviews, total number of reviews, etc.

    Either way, I wanted to be sure that the dealerships I was working with at the time were ahead of the game…

    http://www.cars.com/dealers/188085/younger-nissan/reviews/
    4.7 out of 5.0
    182 out of 197 people recommended this dealer. 197 reviews – not too bad but I see they have since then stopped or have cut back on pro-actively getting new reviews.

    http://www.cars.com/dealers/152876/mercedes-benz-of-hagerstown/reviews/
    4.9 out of 5.0
    468 out of 472 people recommended this dealer. YES – 472 reviews! With their latest review just over a week ago.

    It’s interesting that Cars.com has been able to conclude that with 7 or more new reviews within a rolling 6 month time frame, yields “nearly” 3X more VDP views when compared to dealers with little to no new reviews. These ARE achievable numbers for any dealership to obtain. Yet as I perform a search for a New Nissan Altima within the DC/Baltimore metro area, it’s disappointing to see so few Nissan dealers with any real volume of reviews.

    With that being said, it would be interesting to see if that 3X more VDP views would increase IF the numbers of reviews and star ratings were included on the SRP.

    Questions:

    1. Since reviews / ratings are NOT displayed on the SRP, where exactly or at what point are consumers being influenced by the ratings (while shopping on Cars.com) to view more VDP’s?

    2. As important as views are, I’m also interested to know if the reviews are increasing trackable conversion points on the VDP? Are you seeing increased form fill, increased chats, etc?

    3. Were VDP’s from mobile searches (Car.com mobile website and apps) included in these stats?
    Are you seeing a difference in the influence of reviews to VDP views (or conversions) between desktop vs mobile users?

    Side Note: It seems as if the dealership review pages receive some strong positioning in the SERPS for relevant searches – however, the current dealership review page (http://www.cars.com/dealers/188085/younger-nissan/reviews/), offers no links into the dealerships inventory on Cars.com BUT it does include a prominent link directly to the dealerships website. Any reasoning behind that?

    Jeff

    1. Jeff, really appreciate you sharing. As you referenced, while more and more dealerships are embracing their online reputations every day, there’s still a huge opportunity for dealerships in many areas to standout from competitors in their markets by promoting Dealer Reviews on Cars.com.

      You raise good questions, some which we’ll need to look into deeper in future analyses to share. For this specific stat, we evaluated the correlation between VDPs (both wired and mobile) and current Dealer Reviews. As to where consumers are being influenced, the short answer is that there are several places across the SRP, VDP, dealer locator/directory, Dealer Profile Page and research sections of the site where consumers have the potential to be exposed to reviews. While the VDP and dealer directory placements are perhaps the most pronounced, they all serve a role in reinforcing a dealership’s online reputation on Cars.com and have the potential to affect different conversion points. With that, we know from a similar analysis that shoppers who view both a VDP and Dealer Reviews on Cars.com are 58 percent more likely to engage a dealership (e.g. chat, website transfer, email), but we’ll have to follow up with specifics on how individual conversion points are related to quantity of reviews.

      The Dealer Reviews page you mentioned is intentionally very dealership-specific with a strong focus on dealership branding, contact info and, of course, review content. The header that includes the direct URL is the same as the header in adjacent Dealer Profile Page, which provides for additional photo and video content, as well as links to new and used inventory, and that was a consideration.

      Thanks again for the feedback and questions – keep it coming!

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