Majority of Mobile Visitors Can’t See Flash Websites

In a recent study from retail analysis firm, RichRelevance, iPads and iPhones make up over 90% of online purchases that don’t happen on a desktop device.  That means that 9 out of 10 mobile purchases come from an Apple product, a device that can’t read anything in Flash. This is up from 88% when RichRelevance conducted the same study just last April.

While many auto dealerships don’t make a ton of sales online (in the traditional, online store sense that this study refers to), this shows that the majority of those using their mobile phone for online shopping purposes are using these two devices.  If your dealership mobile website uses Flash technology, the majority of those coming to your site from a mobile device won’t be able to see it.  In fact, DealerOn customers typically see 2/3 of the traffic to their mobile website come from iPads and iPhones.  Can you imagine if only 1/3 of your website visitors could actually see the content on your site?

Studies like this one show how important it is to ensure your mobile website can be seen by everyone that wants to see it, and if it is built using Flash, 2/3 of your web visitors won’t be able to.  Check with your auto dealership website provider to find out how your mobile site is built, and if it’s in Flash, make sure they provide you with another option.  You could be losing out on 2/3 of your mobile website traffic.

Test Your Mobile Website with Google’s GoMo

Google, in an effort to help small businesses ensure they have effective mobile websites, has launched “GoMo”.  This website ( lets users learn about why having a quality mobile site is important, test how your site looks in its mobile version, and find resources to help if your mobile site isn’t quite up to par.

I really like the option to see how your current site looks in mobile.  From the homepage, click “See How Your Current Site Looks in Mobile”, then “Test Your Site”.  Enter the URL of your dealership website to see how mobile users will see it.  After answering a couple of questions about what you see, you’ll get a report card of sorts that focuses on four potential mobile website hangups: Loading Speed, Images, Text, and Navigation.

The DealerOn auto dealer website I tested scored a 4 out of 4.  According to the site, the site I tested showed:

  • Loading Speed:  0.404 seconds.  The recommended loading time is 5 seconds.
  • Images: Images appeared properly
  • Text: Text is visible without pinching or zooming on the phone screen
  • Navigation: All links and buttons are thumb friendly

Check your dealership website to see how well it scores.  If you’re not getting a Pass in each category, you need to talk to your mobile website provider to find out what can be done.

A Different Take on Call Tracking

I recently wrote about how important it is to keep the NAP (name, address, phone number) the same across all local listing sites.  Typically this isn’t a problem, but if your dealership wants to use tracking numbers for auto dealer website, you usually won’t be able to keep your NAP the same across the board.

Luckily, a call measurement firm, Telmetrics, has a solution that can help with that, especially for mobile users.  Their product, m.Call, uses an icon or button to track the call, instead of a separate phone number.  Essentially, users will click or touch the icon or button which initiates the tracking process and calls your dealership.

Since m.Call doesn’t involve adding/buying/renting additional phone numbers, the cost for this type of call tracking is less expensive than most.  Also, the company uses a pay for performance pricing model, so instead of a fixed fee, your dealership only pays each time someone clicks the icon.

While this product is probably more effective for mobile devices (I haven’t seen the actual numbers), I see this growing.  With the increase in tablet computers, laptops with microphones, and even desktop computers having touch screen technology, I think people will embrace the “touch to call” more and more.

Is anyone using something like this?  What about traditional call tracking for your local listings?

Auto Dealer Websites Need a Mobile Version. Period.

Auto dealer websites need to have a separate, mobile version of their site, plain and simple.  Here’s why:

  • Over 73 million people were mobile web users in 2009, a number that is expected to almost double by 2013.
  • According to a study by Neilson, mobile Internet usage is increasing by 30% each year.
  • Google has a separate search engine index for mobile content.  Since there are far less mobile sites online, your mobile site will rank higher and easier than your traditional dealership website.  Google rewards older sites, so the sooner your dealership gets online with a mobile site, the better.
  • A recent study by Chitika, a search-based online advertising network, found that “users on mobile devices are 45% more likely [than PC users] to enter a local query than users on non-mobile devices.”
  • One out of five Americans is on the mobile web on a daily basis.

Car dealership websites aren’t designed to be viewed on a mobile screen.  They are too big, the links your customers are most likely looking for aren’t in plain view, and many dealership sites will take too long to load.

Mobile users are typically looking for something in particular (searching), not browsing like they often do when using a computer (surfing).  The focus needs to be on getting your dealership customers the information they are looking for, as quickly as possible, which means the information shown to your customer has to be different if they are visiting from a mobile site than when on a computer.

If your auto dealer website provider doesn’t provide your dealership with a mobile version of your site, find out why.  You could be missing out on valuable local leads and an opportunity to give your customers a positive online experience, regardless of how they visit your website.

Modern Email Marketing

Plain Text Emails Perfect for Smart Phone Users

According to, 16% of email-using Americans use mobile devices to check their email.  They also report that within the last year, 55% of these people upgraded their cell phone so they could check their email on the go.  Judging by these stats, the number of people using mobile email is growing, and fast.

Smart phones don’t quite read like a computer screen yet, but they’re always getting better.  It’s still a pain to try and read something graphic-heavy designed for a full size monitor on a 3-inch phone screen.  Giving your leads the option to receive emails in plain text, designed for viewing on a smart phone, is a great way to ensure that they’ll receive your message in the most useful format.

To find out which delivery method your leads prefer, add a field to your lead generation form asking what format they want emails sent in, plain text or HTML.  Or, to phrase it differently, ask them if they typically read their email on a smart phone or on a computer.  If your dealership collects email addresses in the store, train your salespeople and receptionists to ask this question as well.

Make note of their preference in your CRM tool, creating a custom field if necessary.  If this isn’t possible, you’ll just have to check the previous email sent to find the appropriate format, or look at the original lead email.

Create two versions of each email template that you send regularly, one in plain text and one in HTML (if your dealership send messages in this format).  Make sure that the plain text version has a link to the HTML version in case they happen to be reading it on a computer.

This small tweak in the format that you send emails in will increase the chance that your leads are actually reading the ads, newsletters, and email messages you send.  How many times do you open an email on your smart phone, realize it’s full of HTML and graphics, and delete it because it’s just too hard to digest?  Or maybe you just close it, meaning to read it later, but never actually do.  Don’t give your customers another reason to pass over or delete your messages without actually reading them.

By giving your marketing messages to leads in the format that is easiest for them to digest, you’re removing a road block that could prevent them from reading your emails.  This one little adjustment makes it easier for leads to read and understand your emails, and can make your email marketing campaign that much more effective.

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