February 8, 2013

Autobytel Leverages Polk Data to Provide Measurable Results

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTL), the company dedicated to helping car dealers and consumers connect online, will be demonstrating the effectiveness of its alliance with R. L. Polk & Co. at the 2013 NADA show in Orlando, Florida. Over the past year, Autobytel has been working closely with Polk to arm its clients with solid data on how consumers research vehicles and to understand their cross-shopping behaviors. The Polk data is another addition to the suite of products that Autobytel offers its dealers and OEM partners to better enable them to connect with in-market car buyers. Polk matches state vehicle registration data with leads and provides lead conversion reporting on a monthly basis for Autobytel to review with its dealer partners.

"The conversion data from Polk has proved to be beneficial to us internally as well as for our clients," shared Autobytel Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey H. Coats. "By analyzing consumer behavior, we are able to better manage and focus our internal lead generation activities. Autobytel dealers and OEM partners benefit not only from our actions, but also by analyzing the data themselves and making changes to their processes."

For Autobytel dealers and automotive manufacturer customers, the Polk insights provide credible data to show new car lead conversion performance and quantify their investment in Autobytel leads. Autobytel currently generates 60-70% of its lead volume internally. Findings from the Polk data suggest that Autobytel internally generated leads close at over twice the industry average derived from the data. In fact, based on the most current Polk data, over 27% of consumers who submitted a lead on Autobytel.com purchased a vehicle within 90 days.

By reporting the buying behavior of potential new car buyers, the findings also can help shape improvements to online lead management, online advertising and dealership sales process training.

Some key analysis from the Polk data include:

  • Consumers are not always brand-loyal
    • Over 50% of consumers are switching makes as part of the lead submission and purchase process
  • Consumers consider both new and used vehicles during their buying process
    • 40% of consumers who submit a lead for a new vehicle end up purchasing a used vehicle
    • 25% of those who shop for a used vehicle end up purchasing a new vehicle

Coats shared, "What the Polk data reinforces is the importance for manufacturers to cross-market to both new and used customers on third party automotive sites like Autobytel.com. The reporting clearly shows that consumers are looking at both." He continued, "the reports also demonstrate the need for our dealers to reinforce the make decision and key selling points as part of the initial communication with a consumer in order to solidify the choice of make/model."

"The data has proved invaluable for many of our dealers and OEM partners," said Scott Pechstein, Senior Director, National Sales, Autobytel. "By reviewing the information on a regular basis, we help our dealers make more informed decisions, identify their competitors, examine what vehicles their potential customers purchased, and determine how they can change their messaging and processes to complete the lost sales in the future." He continued, "Our partners have been at times surprised to find that a potential new car buyer bought a used car from a competitor's lot that the original intended dealer had in inventory all along."

The reports show OEMs and dealers a comprehensive picture of consumers' cross-shopping behaviors, including purchase timeframes and new-to-used vehicle shopping patterns. Access to this type of information is extremely useful for Autobytel dealer and OEM customers. The data allows Autobytel dealers to see the number of lost sales (consumers who bought a vehicle from another dealership or private party) from the leads delivered to their dealership and, in most cases, also where the lost sale occurred and what vehicle the consumer purchased. Additionally, OEM clients can see how leads for their brand performed compared to segment and industry averages. Moreover, the data shows if new car intenders actually purchased a used car or purchased a vehicle of another brand.

Regarding the Polk insights, Peter Deiser, Director of Internet Sales, Ed Morse Automotive Group said, "We applaud Autobytel's transparency through the data and we appreciate the real results generated by Autobytel leads."

Autobytel will be demonstrating how dealer partners and OEM clients can best utilize this data along with sample reporting at NADA 2013 in booth #1329. For in-depth editorial car reviews and automotive industry information, visit Autobytel at www.Autobytel.com. Watch exclusive videos on Autobytel's YouTube page or join the conversation on the Autobytel Facebook Fan Page.

About Autobytel Inc. (www.autobytel.com)
Autobytel Inc., an online leader offering consumer purchase requests and marketing resources to car dealers and manufacturers and providing consumers with the information they need to purchase new and used cars, pioneered the automotive Internet when it launched its flagship website in 1995. Autobytel continues to offer innovative products and services to help consumers buy, and auto dealers and manufacturers sell, more used and new cars. Autobytel has helped tens of millions of automotive consumers research vehicles; connected thousands of dealers nationwide with motivated car buyers; and helped every major automaker market its brand online. Through its flagship website, network of automotive sites and respected online affiliates, Autobytel continues its dedication to innovating the industry's highest quality Internet programs to provide consumers with a comprehensive and positive automotive research and purchasing experience, and auto dealers, dealer groups and auto manufacturers with some of the industry's most productive and cost-effective customer referral and marketing programs.

Investors and other interested parties can receive Autobytel news releases and invitations to special events by accessing the online registration form at http://investor.autobytel.com/alerts.cfm

Autobytel Inc. Media Relations
MSC-PR
Michelle Suzuki
310-444-7115
michelle@msc-pr.com
or
Autobytel Inc. Investor Relations
PondelWilkinson Inc.
Roger Pondel/Laurie Berman
310-279-5980
investor@pondel.com
or
Autobytel Inc.
Curtis E. DeWalt
SVP, Chief Financial Officer
949-437-4694
curtisd@autobytel.com

Source: Autobytel Inc.

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