FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Despite the sluggish summer, dealerships aren’t putting the brakes on their Internet marketing spending, according to a new survey by AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions.

In fact, 72 percent of the 151 Internet marketing managers surveyed said they don’t plan on cutting back on their Internet marketing budgets this year. However, respondents did indicate that they continue to seek out way to be more efficient and effective with their advertising.

Results from the survey, conducted from mid-August to mid-September, also revealed that staffing continues to be challenge Internet managers.

Fifty-three percent of respondents also indicated that they would be willing to cut back on traditional advertising, with 40 percent of dealers saying they plan to increase spending on social media and reputation management. Thirty-four percent said they plan to increase spending on SEO/Website marketing, while 23 percent said they plan to increase spending on third-party leads. Only 15 percent of respondents indicated that they plan to spend more on traditional advertising.

“What is the biggest sales objection you are currently hearing from customers?”

Didn’t have desired model available: 25 percent

Can’t afford a new vehicle: 14 percent

Can’t get financing: 20 percent

Consumer confidence with current political situation: 22 percent

Not getting the price they want from dealership: 10 percent


“What are the biggest challenges for your Internet marketing departments?”**

Keeping up with lead volume: 31 percent

Quality of staff: 28 percent

Staff’s failure to adhere to written processes: 23 percent

Lack of management buy-in: 21 percent

Lack of staff accountability: 15 percent

Lack of staff training: 15 percent

**Additional responses included “other” at 15 percent that included a mix of responses about quality of leads, lack of inventory and staff morale, and finally, high staff turnover at 11 percent, according to AutoUSA.


“How is the current state of the economy affecting your Internet marketing budget decisions?”

49 percent plan to spend the same amount as originally budgeted this year

31 percent say they are cutting back on planned expenses

23 percent say they plan to spend more than originally budgeted this year


“What do Internet Managers Want Most From a New Product or Service?”

Getting customers into the showroom: 47 percent

Additional sales volume: 28 percent