Third Party Providers & the Mountain of Money They Consume

Strong Automotive

The discussion has been going on now for years in the digital advertising space. Which third party sources are effective, worth the money and actually deliver traffic? While having lunch with our company’s most senior associates yesterday one of them asked me, “What is the biggest change you have seen with dealers in the last decade?”  My answer was very simple:

“Control and knowledge of what they were spending their advertising money on.”

Every day we get asked to analyze or look at the results from a third party source. There are too many to count, but the common denominator is usually that the cost doesn’t justify the traffic for the dealer. Let me be clear. This is not every case but more often than not it seems the reason we are being asked to look into these is because the dealers are not seeing traffic. They are paying mountains of money annually for another source that is popular in the digital age.

Having knowledge over every source of your budget when it comes to digital is what will separate you from the competition in the coming years. Being prudent while diligent in what and where you are spending will allow you to maximize the things that are working and stop the ones that are not working. Then comes the element of control. Having control over your resources allows you to maximize your traffic and keep as much gross as possible.

What I always like to tell someone who is questioning a third party source is to multiply the monthly cost x 12 and think about what you are paying that service for a year’s worth of traffic and business. Then tell me if you think it is worth it.

About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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