The “VDP Views Cause Sales” Fad
If there’s anything that deserves to be called a fad in automotive digital today, it’s VDP views.
Articles from “9 Million Reasons why VDP Views Are The Metric that Matters” and “The #1 Digital Activity That Really Sells Cars” – all talk about how “correlated” or how much VDP views are a “predictor” of sales – but one thing that nobody seems to notice is that they’re only talking about a relationship, not a cause-and-effect.
Do VDP Views Actually Increase Sales?
Searches for “VDP views causal test” or “proof that VDP views cause more sales”, unfortunately, don’t turn up any actual tests. They do, however, pull up the same articles from the lumbering old giants of the industry, talking about how closely related VDP views are to sales.
The simple error in this logic comes from the “third-cause fallacy”. Do VDP views cause sales? Or are they only strongly correlated with another factor that is correlated with sales? Perhaps size of dealership?
An excellent example of the third-cause or “common cause” fallacy is this: increases in ice cream sales are known to cause an increase in drownings. Never mind that ice cream sales and swimming, a precursor to drowning, increase when the temperature increases – ice cream sales cause drowning.
Luckily, we’ve done our own tests for clients who are focused on VDP views. In our test for a franchised, urban, Canadian dealer, we found that a campaign focused on generating VDP views generated a CPA (cost per acquisition) that was 46% higher than the average CPA for all other dealers in the same month.
When Do VDP Views Really Matter
From our time working within dealerships, through our time specializing in managing Paid & Organic search in other CMSes, to managing Paid search for clients on our own CMS – we’ve learned that customers go through different stages.
Other companies may or may not know this, but they’d be happy to have your advertising dollars either way. They talk about impressions, clicks, VDP views, and CPM, but they conveniently avoid the topic of “how many leads did you get for the amount of dollars you spend?” Sometimes it’s because they don’t know how to measure conversions; sometimes it’s because it’s just plain easier not being responsible for how many leads you generate.
VDP Views or Leads?
Knowing how this business looks from the other side – and being a lead-focused company – we’ve devoted our Paid Search efforts to maximizing your lead per dollar, and shockingly, we’ve found that blasting ads with models, trims, and prices at people who are trying to decide whether they want a minivan or a compact SUV is not only wasteful, it’s annoying.
Once a customer has done their research on OEM sites, car-magazine sites, and third-party comparison services – they’ll come looking for you, the dealer. And that’s the point where you have to be ready to explain to them why you’re the right place to buy the car that they have picked out.
What Really Closes Sales?
Having the car is the price of entry. In fact, the customer is going to assume that you have every car in every trim in every colour on your lot – which of you hasn’t had a customer grind or complain based on their preferred build not being available? But after that, it comes down to “why should I buy from you?” Unless you’ve got a new-old-stock ’71 Hemi Cuda convertible that somebody left in the wash bay and forgot about for a few decades, nobody’s walking in ready to sign papers just because you’ve got a VDP showing that you’ve got a car available.
Find Out for Yourself
Want to test this? So do we, and we’re all ears. If you’re convinced that VDP views alone lead to sales, sign up with Convertus, and we’ll build you a custom campaign focused only on SRPs and VDPs, and we’ll compare how you’re doing to other dealers in your vertical.