Client stories: How audience segmentation powers AutoGravity’s engine
You can increase your marketing spend as much as you like, but you’re going nowhere fast if you don’t reach the right users.
Today we’re talking to the Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist Officer of AutoGravity, Serge Vartanov, about how to find those people through audience segmentation. How does AutoGravity use Adjust to test, fine-tune and scale up their user segments? Buckle up; we're about to find out!
In your own words, how would you describe what AutoGravity does?
Serge: AutoGravity is America’s leading digital car buying and financing marketplace. We're revolutionizing the way that people buy their cars, giving them access to up to four personalized loan or lease offers in minutes on any new or used car so they know their monthly payment before they go to the dealership. Our users can walk into the dealership with the confidence and peace of mind of knowing what they're going to pay every month, and the security of knowing they're going to get a fair deal on their car and financing with AutoGravity.
What made you decide to run with Adjust?
When we launched our product, we knew anecdotally and through in-app behavioral data our customer experience was resonating with users. We had an understanding of the demographics and the segments we wanted to reach: AutoGravity serves a specific user demographic – digitally savvy users who are in the market for a new or used vehicle. It’s important to us that we reach the right demographic.
Partnering with Adjust has allowed us to focus our marketing to more precisely focus our budget on reaching our target demographics. We’re able to spend on channels that are the most effective and the most cost-effective in finding folks that are in the market for cars. Adjust allows us to validate that when we spend on marketing, we're able to bring our target users onto our platform – people who are actually shopping for vehicles and are ready to apply for financing and go to the dealership and purchase or lease their car.
AutoGravity is rapidly evolving - our product and our network is in a constant state of change. Over the past half year we've launched a million and a half units of inventory with real-time savings on each and every car.
Just recently, we launched a garage feature, allowing users to save multiple cars they might be interested in and go into their garage and compare the cars, choose the car that's the best fit and then apply for that car. As we issue new features on a regular cadence, we need an attribution partner that's flexible and easy to use, so we can go in and add new conversion events or change conversion events and be able to re-optimize at the drop of a hat. We don't have time to wait once a new build of our platform is out. Adjust has given us the confidence and knowledge that we’ll be able to optimize for audiences who are ready to embrace the evolving app experience, almost in real time.
Adjust attribution equips us with data to pinpoint our most impactful creative assets. We're able to take combinations of audience, placement and creatives and get the most bang for our marketing buck.
Last year at Mobile Spree, we asked you about the biggest challenge for mobile marketers in 2017. Your answer was about segmentation. You said: “What ultimately matters for AutoGravity isn’t just that our users are engaged, but also that our users are people who are ready to buy a car. That’s a difficult thing to tell - when exactly someone is ready to buy and finance a car.” How has the challenge of segmentation changed for AutoGravity in the past year?
We've become more sophisticated over the past year. AutoGravity has partnered with some of the biggest lender brands in the country. In addition to TD Auto Finance, US Bank and Santander, today we work in partnership with brand-specific finance companies like Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation, Hyundai Capital America, Kia Motors Finance, Volkswagen Credit, and also Genesis Finance, Audi Financial Services, and Mercedes Benz Financial Services. So we've become more sophisticated not just in terms of searching for in the market car buyers, but also people in the market for specific brands of cars. That requires us to be even more targeted with our approach.
As we're trying to find and convert luxury car shoppers, for example, our placements are different – where we advertise and our creative messaging has to be tailored. It’s table stakes that the people we reach with our ads are in-market car buyers - now we focus on our degree of sophistication in specific messaging for particular segments, which has gotten much stronger and is highly data-driven. Adjust has enabled us to get to that level of sophistication where we can look at individual marketing campaigns, along with the customer segment we're trying to target and the in-app behavior we want to see. This allows us to validate that the campaign is actually working (by looking at the cost per conversion).
What advice would you have for a beginning mobile marketer who is just starting out?
Start with a hypothesis around what kind of user you want, what you want your users to do on your platform and the kind of experience that you want to come away with. Ensure that your key behaviors are ones that you're actually tracking – each with their own conversion event. Next, build a set of hypotheses around where you can find the kind of users that you want to attract for that behavior and what messaging would be most appealing to educate and attract them. Then set up your campaign in such a way that you're able to see your cost, user volumes, and key conversion rates all in one place.
AutoGravity can go from experimentation mode to scaling in very fast cycles. We've had a number of campaigns where we've used, for example, specific vehicles in the campaign, or a specific language around either luxury or more mass-market car buyers. We’ve taken that creative to market through social media channels and through user acquisition networks. Within a number of days we’re able to say “Great, these creatives and these audience combinations are driving cost efficiencies and user volumes that are ten times higher than these other creatives or these other segments.” Then we’re able to pivot our marketing spend to focus in on the most effective campaigns.
Adjust allows you to do that. In the past, it would have taken a much longer time to get that data back, and it would have been much more driven by intuition – marketing intuition is much more powerful when it’s scaffolded by cold hard data in real time.
Speaking of event conversions, do you set up different user funnels? Do you divide between luxury and mass-market shoppers? Does everyone go through the same user funnel?
The fundamental value proposition of convenience, transparency and choice in the car buying journey is the same – the question is, what vehicle does the user end up shopping for? Different segments of users have fundamentally different behavior. Some users might come into the app and look immediately at super-luxury brands. This might be our ‘dreamer’ segment, imagining the art of the possible. Other users immediately go into the used car section and start looking at used mass-market brands and comparing those brands within a budget. Other users might come in having just seen a commercial for a new car and they focus solely on inventory in that brand. Some users shop for a range of different brands, some users shop for different models under the same brand. These are all different segments and they convert in different ways but love AutoGravity for similar reasons.
And you’re able to see all of this?
The key conversion events are the same. What we look for from different campaigns are different outcomes. We measure different campaigns using a range of KPIs, I think is the best way to put it.
Do these KPIs vary a lot?
Not widely, no. At the end of the day, what matters to us is that our users have a great experience purchasing or leasing a vehicle using AutoGravity financing. We care that we're able to help them save a few hours and get a better deal where they're empowered with the convenience and transparency of using a platform that's kind of like the Expedia of buying a car. It doesn't matter whether you're buying a luxury car or a mass-market car, a new car, used car, or if you’re leasing a car. At the end of the day the key conversion is the same: everything comes down to driving off the lot with the peace of mind that you got a fair deal.