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Switching From Vanity Metrics to Metrics That Matter With Bob Lanham From Facebook

  • March 19, 2021
37 min read
Switching From Vanity Metrics to Metrics That Matter With Bob Lanham From Facebook

Aharon Horwitz
CEO, Fullpath

Ilana Shabtay
VP of Marketing, Fullpath

Bob Lanham
Head of Automotive Retail at Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp

Bob Lanham is the Head of Automotive Retail at Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. He is an experienced automotive retail specialist with a long history of expertise in the internet industry. Before joining Facebook, he was the Regional Vice President for Shazam and Sales Director for Hulu. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Elon University.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Bob Lanham’s career background and why he joined Hulu
  • Bob talks about the popularity of long-form and short-form video snippets
  • Can short video snippets work in dealerships?
  • How Bob got involved in auto and Facebook advertising
  • The transition dealerships are making from community hubs to big advertisers
  • Bob talks about the 4 strategies for effective Facebook advertising
  • How Facebook helps create match back strategies for dealerships
  • The right way to use vanity metrics and retargeting
  • Bob talks about working with dealers at Facebook and his advice for dealerships working with data

In this episode…

Working through Facebook data can be challenging for many businesses, including dealerships. Finding the right metrics and figuring out the audience you should target to work can be overwhelming and confusing—but it’s all necessary for measuring your company’s performance.

Bob Lanham works with dealers on their Facebook advertising strategies to help them grow and scale their businesses. After years of experience working with different media channels, Bob’s learned the ins and outs of effective marketing strategies—and he’s dedicated himself to helping you learn the same.

In this week’s episode of the Inside Auto Podcast, Aharon Horwitz and Ilana Shabtay are joined by Bob Lanham, the Head of Automotive Retail at Facebook, to talk about the right metrics dealerships should use for advertising. They also talk about the use of video snippets in advertising, the four most important Facebook advertising strategies, and Bob’s experience working with dealers.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by AutoLeadStar, a company that helps car dealerships engage quality customers on the web and convert them into car buyers.

Co-founded by Aharon Horwitz, Yishai Goldstein, and Eliav Moshe, AutoLeadStar’s state-of-the-art software automates a dealership’s entire marketing funnel and provides around-the-clock service for dealers.

AutoLeadStar’s innovative technology helps dealerships automate ads, connect with customers, and discover ROI and performance metrics

Visit their website at to learn more about their around-the-clock marketing service.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:03

Welcome to Inside Auto Podcast where we feature everyone in anyone you’d want to talk to you in and out of the automotive industry.

Ilana Shabtay 0:15

You want to shop tight here with Aharon Horwitz, co host of Inside Auto Podcast where we interview top dealers, GM marketers, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in and out of the automotive industry. Before we introduce today’s guest, this episode is sponsored by the auto leads our platform is built on a technology so powerful it allows you to market sell and service cars as you would in the real world at scale and online making one to one matches between shoppers and inventory. Automated sir is the only platform that is powered by scale speed and specificity to change the way dealers do marketing today. are on Welcome back. How you doing?

Aharon Horwitz 0:51

Ilana? It’s coming fast and furious now, isn’t it? It’s like a podcast every every like five days.

Ilana Shabtay 0:56

I know. It’s a weekly it’s officially a weekly podcast.

Aharon Horwitz 1:00

You have the knowledge Oh, that’s why it’s every week. I was wondering. Now the knowledge is just blowing my mind here. We’re learning so much. today. I expect to learn a lot because we have an amazing, amazing guest someone we’re just so excited for. The truth is when we survey our team, he’s our number one. Get so don’t tell anyone else that but we have Bob Lanham from Facebook. Bob, welcome.

Bob Lanham 1:19

It’s awesome to be here. Appreciate it.

Aharon Horwitz 1:21

All right. We’re super excited. Where are we catching you? What city are you in right now?

Bob Lanham 1:24

Right outside of Detroit, Michigan,

Bob Lanham 1:27

Detroit, Michigan whole town

Bob Lanham 1:28

called commerce Township.

Aharon Horwitz 1:30

All right. Very nice. Very nice. Okay, great. So listen, Bob, we’re excited to have you. What’s so interesting to me is the way you’ve kind of traveled through some of the history of kind of the digital world we’re living in right now. You were first of all, I did not know this about you. And I’ve met you a few times. You actually were in. You were in a dealership when you started your automotive career, which I was tired of Sarasota, which I thought was really cool. You did internet sales. You did f&i you did the whole, you went through the through the ringer there, right, and I try to set it up. You also then went to Microsoft, where you spent a few years and then Yahoo. And then you were also in Hulu and opened up territory for Hulu. So the whole streaming universe. And then you moved, of course to Facebook, which is really the site of a lot of innovation when it comes definitely to kind of connecting between products and customers. So I’ll ask you with all of this. I’m interested in Hulu. So you, you like what was going on when you got in and Hulu was streaming popular? Was it already? Like Did you feel that was the next big thing like what what tell us about Hulu? Before we get into Facebook and in the car? We have

Ilana Shabtay 2:37

to hear about Hulu.

Bob Lanham 2:39

But well, you know, this is back in 2008. when when when Hulu essentially started and what what most people don’t realize is Hulu was founded by two TV networks NBC and Fox and Disney bought into it about a year later, I

Aharon Horwitz 2:53

thought it was Disney. So you’re saying it wasn’t originally Disney.

Bob Lanham 2:56

It was not originally Disney, it was NBC and Fox started I’ll tell you the sole purpose of why it was started. Or the main one of the main purposes of why Hulu was founded, was to eliminate piracy, right? Because what was happening is people were putting TV shows and whatnot on YouTube. And of course, the content creators it’s all copyrighted, we’re not getting their share for so is essentially to protect the protect the, you know, the the assets of of, you know, TV shows, and then eventually movies etc. And it’s funny because everybody talks about Ott now. And I’m like, oh, man, I did that back in 2000. Right. 1900. And plus, but Hulu was an interesting ride. I mean, it was it was Jason Kyler was our CEO, probably one of the best CEOs I ever worked with. And he was all about user experience, which I know we’ll get into, you know, as relates to auto. He was all about user experience and making it easy for people to find the content, recommend the content, all of the above. So Hulu was Hulu was a blast.

Aharon Horwitz 3:59

It feels like it’s kind of gone a second life now. Like he kind of like maybe got it was quieter. And then now it’s like taking a big step forward. I don’t know maybe that’s just me. I feel like I’ve heard more about Hulu, and Disney in the past year than I did before.

Bob Lanham 4:13

Well, I think they had to figure out what the ownership of Hulu was. I think the I think as you see everyone’s now coming out with their own app, every TV TV network is coming out with its own app app. So I think they’re I think every network is simply trying to figure out how to manage their own assets. Right. I mean, we add assets are from from all over the place. And I just think everyone wants to own their own assets. So I think they needed to kind of figure that out. But what people don’t realize is we were only in the beginning. first couple years, it was just there was no app. We weren’t on a tablet, we weren’t on TVs and that

Ilana Shabtay 4:51

was one of those. Yeah, wow. Amazing. Yeah,

Ilana Shabtay 4:54

you remember that because Hulu was free for college students. I believe at some point. It was If you had, my address, it was free. So I know that I was a power user of Hulu during college. That’s for

Bob Lanham 5:09

us. Sorry, I’m going to cut you off. But yeah, what was it like when when when, when we would walk into the first year, and sell premium content at premium cpms. In an era ad networks, were kind of the thing at the moment pioneer buying cheap inventory at low cost, right? And we’d walk in with with with premium cpms. And I couldn’t tell you guys, I had so many buyers telling me, no one will ever watch TV, on their phone, or on an app or on their desktop. And we’re like, okay, and fast forward to where Hulu is today. And clearly where that whole entire industry is today. Clearly they were wrong.

Aharon Horwitz 5:52

Yeah. So while we’re on this little word, this little deep dive into the world of streaming. So what do you think about? Like, what happened with that query concept? Like, what was wrong with that concept?

Bob Lanham 6:03

Remember, I’m not even sure I know a concept

Bob Lanham 6:05

called that query. equipo query or something was like,

Bob Lanham 6:11

short term.

Aharon Horwitz 6:12

Yeah, short form you guys, GG is that my only one who knows this? There’s this whole concept that the guy is a what’s his name, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and like a mega Whitman, maybe they were building a company with short form TV shows like that you could watch. I don’t know, in like bite sized chunks, which, which I don’t know, I don’t know if I could find a usage for that. But I guess during the pandemic, maybe people want a longer form, because we’re all trying to, you know, make it through our through our crazy lives, like, you know, go like dose ourselves on Netflix at night. But they didn’t work like the whole company shut down. And so short form, I don’t know, is it gonna work? Does it exist? Do you think it makes sense?

Bob Lanham 6:46

Well, Jason Kilar, the former CEO who started a company before that, that was very similar concept, which was short form, you know, snippets, because I think what we were finding is the short form clip snippets, we call them were very popular and people could binge like, there was no tomorrow. Got on why you didn’t?

Aharon Horwitz 7:08

You did see that work. I mean, there was a demand for the short form stuff.

Bob Lanham 7:12

on Hulu. There was, you know, a standalone company. I don’t know, I don’t know if it was the content. I mean, at the end of the day, the programming, and the content is king, right? So right, regardless of the length, if the content and the plot and the actors and actresses think you’re not going to watch it.

Aharon Horwitz 7:29

Yeah, I feel like there’s this. It’s so interesting to look at, like the evolution of human content over time, like there was, you know, 1000s of years ago, there was like, you know, there was like Homer and the Odyssey, and, you know, and then the Iliad, and then you know, we had like the bite, it was like long form, sort of, you know, deep and then, you know, philosophy in the kind of continental philosophy and stuff. And I feel like over time, it just, it just chops down, get shorter, shorter, shorter, Twitter did the 140 content, but there feels like a bit of a backlash now, where people do want to have longer form stuff, people want to explain themselves, they want to go in depth again, medium, like what’s going on on LinkedIn, Facebook, I mean, there’s, there’s a, there’s a, I think there’s a nostalgia and a recognition that longer form has value in actually spending time on an essay and thinking it through is getting popular again, in a way that it wasn’t maybe, or we thought it was gonna kind of fade A few years ago, I don’t know, just just an observation.

Bob Lanham 8:24

I think we just assumed because everybody lives a busy live life that, oh, shorter snippets is easier for people to consume, when in fact, I think we’ve learned that if the content is quality, it’s hard to tell a good quality story in in, in 15 minutes, right? It needs to be a longer plot to engage people. And I just think the longer form 30 minutes shows and our shows, and and, you know, we had known what binge you know, who invented ultimately binge watching, right, which was able to just watch over and over and over, you know, you could get through a season and in two days,

Aharon Horwitz 9:01

I know I’m trying to explain to my son who’s seven that in the old days, I couldn’t watch all of the Ninja Turtles, the whole original animated series, and like a week was not possible, nor is it healthy. But you know, he just wants to watch it immediately. You know, it’s I was like, No, he used to come on once a week or once a day. And that was just what you had to do back then. You know?

Bob Lanham 9:20

Well, it’s funny because we talked about Ott now and how it’s the it’s the greatest next thing and it is no I mean, it’s it is a new player. Don’t get me wrong, but it’s no different than what we were doing back in 2008 2009 2010, etc. But the differences it’s just more accessible.

Aharon Horwitz 9:38

Yeah, it’s everywhere. Now.

Bob Lanham 9:39

We just by the end before, yeah, Hulu. We have the scale in the beginning to sell to local dealers, of course or even any local businesses. It was national only then, you know, after a couple years, we were able to scale it out to regional right to get rid of get get those regional clients, but at that time, you couldn’t scale it to the local clients. We didn’t Have a do it yourself platform. So you had to buy through a through Hulu Rep. You know now that this content sits in DSPs and you know everything else it’s it’s just easily accessible. But what I always tell people and this is not a knock on on Ott at all I tell dealers is just make sure you ask for frequency. Frequency is a challenge in Ott and you have to monitor it.

Aharon Horwitz 10:22

Yeah, by the way, let’s just let’s just be honest. Ilana a TV show 30 short snippets either 30 minutes or 15. Or maybe five set in a dealership. dealer confidential. We just like I mean, could you see it? It’s like the office in the dealership. It would just be unbelievable. That would be it? would you would you guys? What do you think you guys coming in on that show? There

Bob Lanham 10:42

was a show? I don’t remember the name of it. But it was a Dodge dealership? I think they were in Georgia. Oh, no way. Yeah, there was a show. But they were like the extreme sales people. But you know, like the old school sales, but it lasted a year. And it didn’t. It didn’t

Aharon Horwitz 10:59

tell you. You could do an office, the office style TV show in a dealership, it would totally work. Wait, did you’ve all listened to this that This American Life in a dealership in Long Island, right? Oh, this is a great episode of This American Life. It’s online, we’ll send it to you after it gets called 121 cars, 126 cars. It’s a month in the life of a dealership in Long Island where they’re racing to hit the OEM stars up money. And you know, they have to hit that quota. And you just it gets into the lives of each salesperson. And what happens in the end of the month is they’re just trying to give cards to their sister and their cousin. And, you know, it was unbelievable. It was like literally all the issues that Dale Pollack writes about in his books, you know, we’re showing up in that, in that particular session. It’s everyone who joins our team has to listen to that.

Bob Lanham 11:44

And it’s a it’s a fraction to the industry. It’s

Bob Lanham 11:49

unfortunate, unfortunately, probably the wrong introduction to the industry, because we’re actually trying to change the industry from from from that type. Oh,

Aharon Horwitz 11:56

yeah, totally. I’ve kind of dated. It’s probably seven, eight years ago. It’s the industry has changed so much in the past five years. It’s unbelievable. Okay, good. So this is very, very interesting. And I think that, you know, would you see yourself as we destined to be in the nexus between automotive and tech, or could you just as easily have gone full, you know, full tech, let’s say, like, how did that happen? Suddenly, you became auto and Facebook or auto and, and technology advertising?

Bob Lanham 12:27

Well, once I moved to Detroit and started working for Microsoft, it was ultimately MSN right there MSN division, their online division, you know, by default, being in Detroit, your your automotive, right, we’ve got it. General Motors, we’ve got Ford Motor Company, and now we have still lantis. Right, which formerly Chrysler so by default, if you’re in advertising, and what a lot of people don’t realize is Detroit at one point, was a top three market, right? It literally went like New York, I think LA and then and then Detroit because of the you know, at one time Big Three than the than the than the Detroit three. So with automotive here, you’re just by default automotive and just where the career kind of kind of happened it, it came full circle for me where I started right out of out of school out of dealership, you know, selling cars and then move into the internet manager, if we want to, I use the term loosely internet, because this is in the mid 90s, and then to f&i. And then I went into the national side of the business, and then the regional side of the business, and then was able to kind of create this team a number of years ago, and really start to focus on the local side, which is, which is the dealer business at Facebook.

Aharon Horwitz 13:42

And I’m fascinated by like this, I have this like fascination with the history of how. And I think Facebook has a different role here. So I want you to talk about maybe industry wide, but then Facebook specifically, it just seems like there was a time where you know, dealers were community hubs and people used to come in and buy cars and the children bought from or their parents bought and you know, the dealers played golf with people and got haircuts with people and yada yada yada. along comes the internet. someone throws up a website. Now there’s no websites kind of disorganized wild west on the internet. And then along come the aggregators, cars CarGurus auto trader, and they basically go on, they suck up all the inventory, and they kind of disintermediate the customer and the dealer in some level, right? dealers go from being like a community hub to being a number to being a price. And at some point, it seems to me in the mid 2000s. And by the way, those folks are all working with Google at the time, and then eventually Facebook, but it seems like at some point in like, I don’t know, it was a 2014 15 maybe I’m trying to figure out kind of how it started. Like there’s almost like a team, maybe a Google that sort of reformatted the way that OEMs tier two and dealers think about marketing and kind of figure out Okay, wait, there’s a role for dealers to go direct via Google. And then those folks kind of met up with some folks who were either coming from places like Microsoft or Yahoo, or from Facebook, already a Facebook and then Facebook came in and before you know It suddenly dealers are huge, huge marketers and Facebook and Google. And my question is like, how did that transition happen? And how did they go to being the main story and the aggregators? And even to a certain extent, the OEMs, almost like second fiddle to the dealers?

Bob Lanham 15:15

Yeah, you know, I have to honestly tell you, I think it’s it’s education and having a team that is now presenting to the marketplace, you know, Facebook’s full asset. So So Google did that with Peter Leto, I don’t know, 12 years ago, when he started the retail team at Google. So he was able to talk to dealers on, hey, this is exactly what you should be doing as a relates to us, right, versus the ad agencies that handle the national and regional business, which we call tier one and tier two, as you well know. So he was able to talk directly to the dealers on, hey, here’s what we should do. Because remember, also, the OEM also have programs, we want you to buy stuff, we want you to buy stuff, we want you to buy this much of search, and so on, and so forth. So, so when we started ours about four years ago, you know, I just think that the industry wasn’t aware of all of us assets that have to, or if they were, they didn’t know how to use them properly. And that’s everything from their Facebook page, right to their Instagram, right? To messaging, right, to simply the content that should be on both of these, these assets, their page and their and their handle. So now by having a team, that we have a Facebook, we’re able to talk to them. And you know, you talked about the community aspect of a dealer. And that’s what we want them to bring back. I was actually asked the other day, they said, Do you think dealers have gotten away from playing a role in their community? And I said, some for sure have been those who haven’t, you wouldn’t know that they still play a role in their community. And that’s the problem, right? You wouldn’t know they need to start marketing that politely. It’s not like they’re selling the fact that they donated money to the school or anything like that. But that’s why you do that you do it for a reason, right? Outside of it’s a good call.

Aharon Horwitz 17:12

So by the way, and you guys have that built into your philosophy, right? I don’t know if it’s still true. But when we met you guys, I know whenever it was a year ago, two years ago, you told us about four strategies that Facebook kind of recommends, we actually built that into our product deployment where dealers can see which ad is living on or which strategy of Facebook spore strategies? Are those still relevant? Meaning? Do you still think that the four strategies that you guys had and if you want to go into them or not, but I’m just interested things shift? There, those four strategies a year and a half later? Still what you’re talking about for the dealers? cost for life? You know, yeah,

Bob Lanham 17:47

I’ll tell you why. They’re absolutely still relevant. They were relevant to 50 years ago, and I think they’re gonna be relevant 50 years from now. And the reason being is the strategies are full funnel marketing strategies. I mean, they literally follow the behavior of how consumers buy products. Right? And, and they, they follow actually the in store process, too, if you think about it. So our first strategy is what we call our Why buy here, and that’s a brand strategy, right? Like, why should I buy from dealer A versus dealer B that has the exact same car, and it’s frankly, the same distance away than then dealer a, and that’s very similar to the meet and greet in store. So every sales representative at a store, one of the first things they’re trained on, is how to handle an up how to take a physical person that has just parked their car about to walk into the showroom, how to handle that, as we call it, the meet and greet. They say the best closers are better openers, well, what’s the goal of the meet and greet to earn trust, right? To build awareness of your trust, right to make sure you break down that wall of Oh, man, I hate buying a car this is going to stink to now this is actually going to be a good experience. So that meet and greet is your first introduction to do that. Well, that’s you have to bring the meet and greet online. Right? And what we’re seeing is those dealers who bring the Why buy here the meet and greet online, they’re getting better results on those engagement based ads, because it’s the meet and greet, right? It’s the same thing as hello to clothes, right? no different. So I always tell dealers, like I was never trained. I never had a script for meet and greet that said, Hi, welcome to China. Sara. So can I have your name, number, email address, and you’re going to buy from me today? Huh? You’ve never destined zero scripts. But any dealer that only runs lead gen ads is doing that exact example. Saying Just give me your info. Yeah, they literally did it. So I can put you in this poor process where we’re going to email and text back and forth and then the rest is history. So what we’re seeing is though, again, those dealers that have a brand strategy of value Promise you should buy from me because they’re seeing greater results when they finally do ask, Hey, can I get your email and your phone number because I have this awesome process afterwards, you know that. So that’s the Why buy here they’re ready to buy is basic, I mean, it’s a set it let us strategy, taking an inventory feed loaded into our platform and then letting the machines do the work. Right. That’s, that’s the product, the product based advertising. And that will drive your low cost vdps, that will drive awareness of the inventory that’s sitting on your lot. And what’s so great about it is if a dealer say, oh, how do I adjust my advertising on my inventory, so you don’t need to do anything to feed adjust for you, because it just goes off of what’s what you actually have on your lot and what you don’t have on your lap. But one of my favorite strategies, which will be probably the most profitable strategy for the dealer is customers for life, which is utilizing first party data to create very strategic strategic audiences, you know, pair that with, with messaging that is talking to that audience. And we have seen ROI be the best in the business outside of, you know, beating digital and traditional and anything of that. And, you know, we all talk, we all heard about Google’s announcement and blocking cookies by the end of 2022. And Apple, iOS is already starting their, their updating on on how they’re going to make it an opt in for people to be tracked, your first party data just became more important than it ever has

Aharon Horwitz 21:35

ever, ever became more important than knowing how to leverage it, you know, as the most is probably the most critical thing to be focused on right now.

Bob Lanham 21:42

Well, and to go back to your question, I mean, dealers have been doing these strategies for 50 to 100 years, they just didn’t know they could do it on Facebook. And the reason being is, you know, the ecosystem would just go in and say, lead gen lead gen lead gen, that’s all Facebook can do. Like No, no, like, look what we can do, like we’re a full funnel, we have turned 31 million adults 18 plus on our platform every month, like we’ve got, we’re able to drive awareness all the way down to drive a lead, and then everything in between. But that wasn’t being sold in the ecosystem. And that’s why the team that I that we have that I’m on, that’s our goal, right is to let the industry know that we are much more than a click and a lead gen opportunity. Wonderful.

Ilana Shabtay 22:27

I know dealers really care about I’ve been hearing about this recently, um, matching back and making sure that they can take a sale and figure out which you know, which advertising platform that sale came from. With the four different strategies. Obviously, it might be easier or harder based on you know, what you’re doing to target. So if you’re uploading audiences, for customers for life, it might be easier for a match back in that sense. But how, how is Facebook? If anything? How is Facebook, creating a mesh bag strategy for dealers? how widespread is it? How good is it if you can, if you feel comfortable? Please give us an update on that. Because I do know that that has become a hot topic.

Bob Lanham 23:05

Yeah, I’ve been we’ve been able to match back to sales for some time now. probably three or four years, we you know, a business has been able to upload a database of people that prop bought a product or service from them, and match it to their to their Facebook campaigns. Well, we took it a step further with our launch of our measurement platform called Facebook attribution, which allows them to upload their sales data into Facebook attribution, and not only match back to Facebook, but match back to the other digital properties that they have bought. And they tagged so we can do a true path to conversion. And that’s what I will tell you has really started to awaken the industry in the sense of how much money they’re spending on specific platforms, and then seeing what platforms play a role in what conversions and what do I mean by that they quickly found out that they might have been overspending on a specific platform and maybe under spending on another platform and and you know last year in the second quarter, when right when the pandemic hit, that’s when dealer started to evaluate. You know, what people don’t realize is their second largest expenditure, which is advertising and marketing, right? It goes payroll, advertising and marketing in their in their inventory or floorplan, and dealers were forced to evaluate the second largest expenditure and got smarter. They started to realize and there’s a hot topic right now going on on clubhouse, they’re starting to realize, hey, I’ve got to know what’s going on. I can’t just rely on reports or someone else handling it because what I buy and how I buy my media, because it’s my second largest expenditure. 100% plays a role in my store’s profitability. It’s undeniable because of the size of the expense. So what I think dealers love to see is that ad spend the sale All right, I spent that Listen, you talk to the internet manager, and they want to get into cost per clicks and, and and VDP views and lead gen, you talk to the dealer principal and they say, Well, how much money did I spend? How many cars that I sell and that I make any money. So when every dealer principal will tell you, they don’t care about anything else, right? So that’s what our platform, fortunately is able to do for them. As you load up your sales data, you load your repair order data. And now they can say I spent x, I reached X amount of people, and out of those people I reached X amount came in and purchased from us, and you’re getting a real ROI metric. Yeah,

Aharon Horwitz 25:35

I think we’re getting past the phase, or we’re starting to see sort of the we’re maybe on the downward slope of the vanity metrics era. And I think that there’s there’s more and more awareness, every single month of what Matt measurements matter. And in the end, of course, it’s all getting down to the conversion attribution to the sale. But you know, what, in the event that you have to what are the proximate metrics that matter? What are those that don’t? What’s the best way to measure sales? You I feel like we’re getting to a better place every single month on that

Bob Lanham 26:05

for your 100% I think, you know, the browsers and the mobile software are going to force us to get to get there because there’s the tracking. Gonna be there, right? The attribution the retargeting, it’s gonna get really challenging here in the future. We don’t know like, we’ll see what comes from it. But the fact that you’re able to match ad spend the sales to get a true ROI. And I’m here to say, digital proxies are not worth while. I’m not here to say that at all. I think they’re, they’re worth looking at to see if you’re executing correctly. Right. But I mean, you’re to troubleshoot Maybe, yeah, and just this just to see if I might, am I efficient, would that spend on that. But you know, I have a huge passion for what’s called media mix modeling. And anyone that’s ever heard me talk or room and clubhouse, it’s all about media mix modeling, because it’s the most simplistic form to understand if you’re advertising and marketing is working. And that’s simply mapping, everything you’re buying from traditional to print, to Ott to the search the social to display, like everything, including your CRM costs, your direct mail, throw it all in there, right? And then just divided by the number of sales, and you quickly understand the power of your media plan. And then you can start to pull Twitter triggers to see okay, what can I do better here and there to see if I can get my cost per sale, lower and lower?

Aharon Horwitz 27:32

We’re gonna let you go soon here. But I got to ask, you know, you work at Facebook, one of the sort of Premier, you know, platforms, in, in, in, in the digital universe, increasingly becoming the universe, do you? How does it work inside meaning you have all these insights from dealers, you’re talking to dealers all the time at the conferences, you’re you’re, you know, you’re you’re, you’re in these conversations, you’re facilitating conversations. How do you get the feedback to product? And how do you get that loop going inside such a, frankly, massive, massive organization? And how do the insights from the field impact what comes out six months later, or three months later, from, you know, from California from wherever it might be?

Bob Lanham 28:17

Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s what I spend a lot of my time doing, which is educating internally, right? It’s easy to say, oh, an OEM just wants leads, and then build a product to just does that, right, because we have the power to do that. But when you when you start to educate a team that hasn’t grown up in the auto space hasn’t sold in the auto space or built to the auto place, auto space. It’s it’s a lot of navigation. It’s a lot of hard conversations, it’s calls with dealers and say here, don’t have to hear it from me. You can hear it from them, which which I do a lot of time on, you get

Aharon Horwitz 28:53

your product people on the phone with the dealers 100%

Bob Lanham 28:57

Yeah, I want to hear it. I want them to hear it straight straight from them. By the way, they’re gonna if I set them up with five dealers, they’re gonna, they’re probably going to hear either five different answers, or the same answers five different ways, but they will know that, right? And then there’s also that, hey, like, we can easily build a product to accommodate. But do we want to do that? Do we want to drive actually the industry to where it needs to go versus just build a product to to accommodate? So there’s a lot of balancing and a lot of phone calls. I mean, a lot of time spent on it. But I’ll tell you, I’m really proud of where we are today, from where we started. Because before there was nothing like before products would launch and you’d had no idea and you’re like, well wait a second I that you can’t you can’t launch that product. Now there’s a direct connection. We’re working closely together. We’re not perfect, but you know, our goal is to be as perfect as we can. So I’m excited for where we are headed. Because now that I Everyone is communicating or getting on the same page, we’re letting them hear directly from from, from our dealer partners, you know, as big and small right from your independent that sells five cars a month to your dealer groups that sell 1000s of 1000s. So it’s the answer your question in the long winded way. It’s what I spend most of my time doing is navigating internally to make sure that we are doing the right thing for the dealer.

Aharon Horwitz 30:29

Awesome. Well, Ilana, that was great. Right?

Ilana Shabtay 30:31

I know, I was gonna say thank you for asking that question, actually, because I was thinking the same thing. So appreciate it. That was super Yeah, that

Aharon Horwitz 30:37

was that was a great chat. We really appreciate it. Bob Lanham from Facebook, kind of the maister of Facebook’s automotive strategy. So we’re excited to have learned a lot I learned a lot from this conversation, I also found very interesting, um, Bob, anything coming up that you want to, like, excite people about something that’s like a major on your radar?

Bob Lanham 30:56

I don’t know if this is exciting. But I think what people have to get on their radar is, is how are we going to navigate these changes of tracking going away or being very limited? That not only changes, audience strategies, but it also changes measurement strategies, right. And then we talked about matching back to the sale, which we just we have to get there. And it may not have to be at a property level. But it has to be at at least a holistic media plan. level. Yeah. That’s what I would, I would make sure dealers are asking, Hey, I’ve read about this, what does it mean? What do we need to do? Yeah, just start preparing for it.

Aharon Horwitz 31:38

Absolutely. And I think, again, the investment in first party data, and being able to which there’s a certain also just sort of cement symmetry in first party data, right, first party data tends to be data that that wants to be connected in some way, you know, more often than not, or, or, or at least indicated, it was acceptable to be connected. And there’s something just healthy about first party data. And I think every dealer needs to be thinking about what’s their data layer, how good is it? How are they storing, organizing, normalize and cleaning their data and getting it ready to be leveraged for giving hopefully, a great customer experience their customers and you know, that’s, that’s a, that’s where dealers have to be if they want to compete with what’s out there now on the internet, and we think they’re gonna be there. So we hope that they were starting to hear about dealers who are hiring digital CRM managers,

Bob Lanham 32:28

totally all you need only focus on their first party data segmented out strategically, loading it marketing against it, measuring back and the results that they’re seeing. And I spend a lot of time and you’ve probably seen some of the integrations that we’ve launched with some of the CRM partners, because we want to make it easier to do business with us. So whether it’s the dealer or the dealers agency, we want to automate that push of the data so that we can run always on strategies, we can update databases at a daily cadence, right? So look for more integrations coming down.

Aharon Horwitz 33:04

That’s fantastic. Yeah, the update cadence should be four or five, six times a day, not once a month if you’re lucky. I mean, that’s where most dealers are adding we’ve got a Mac

Bob Lanham 33:13

Yeah, I was just gonna say more importantly, not manual. It should be no, no,

Aharon Horwitz 33:17

no manual. You can’t. You can’t do those types of things several times a day. If it’s manual, it just it has to be automatic. We all know that. It’s that it I mean, in the graph is gonna flip right imagine a pie chart, the automotive industry, I would say is probably 90% manual or or FinTech enabled 10% like hard tech, the rest of Mar tech is $125 billion industry, the mahr tech industry outside of automotive, you’re talking about a flip chart. I mean, there’s so much tech and automation because of API’s because of standardized platforms. It’s it’s impossible to manage doing marketing to imagine doing marketing and sales enablement, and commerce enablement. Without those things, and dealers have to do that. And up until recently, it’s insane to think about so we’re very we’re big boosters of any automations that are coming into the space. And we’re very we think they’re welcome and important and you know, give everyone a better opportunity to do what they want to do. Bob, we really thank you. Thank

Bob Lanham 34:12

you for this time. Anytime enjoyed the conversation.

Aharon Horwitz 34:16

Awesome. Okay, a lot of you want to close this out.

Ilana Shabtay 34:18

Sure. Thank you so much, Bob. And for everyone listening please tune in if you’d like to this episode Inside Auto Podcast, you can catch it on basically any podcast streaming, apple, Spotify, I heart wherever you listen to your podcast, but thank you so much, Bob again.

Aharon Horwitz 34:34

And I make our TV show we will tell you where to stream that as well. The office in a dealership? Yeah, we’re gonna watch the one that was we’re gonna make one the better. Thanks, guys.

Bob Lanham 34:43

Thank you.

Outro 34:48

Thanks for listening to Inside Auto Podcast. Check out our other episodes with top entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

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