Edmunds has a sterling reputation. You better believe that if you know how to get Edmunds reviews for your car dealership, you’re going to differentiate yourself from the competition.
According to a study from Maritz Research, Edmunds was listed as the fourth most trusted review site. Originally, they were an automotive publishing company. Now they’re viewed, by many, as the gold standard in the automotive industry.
The automotive giant receives an estimated 15.5 million visitors annually. According to Owler, Edmunds brings in an estimated $250 million each year. If you’re running or managing a dealership located in the United States, you should be on Edmunds.
Today we’ll cover:
Why Edmunds is important to your dealership
Edmunds works to protect consumers, providing them with price comparisons, vehicle and dealership reviews. They publish exposés exposing the unsavory parts of the car buying process. They rank, appraise and test vehicles, enabling consumers to browse dealer inventories, get shopping tips, read feature stories and more.
It’s really about trust.
A survey by Gallup found that 56 percent of Americans have a positive view of the automotive industry, specifically auto manufacturers. The 2019 Edelman trust barometer confirms Gallup’s findings. As I said, these findings are focused on manufacturers, not dealerships.
Okay, what about dealerships?
Customers don’t have the same positive feelings about dealerships.
You’re probably already familiar with these figures. What’s not clear is how Edmunds factors into the equation. How can their platform boost the traffic, footfalls and leads to your dealership?
Let’s take a look at the data.
It’s pretty clear now, right?
If you’re a manufacturer, customers are already searching for your dealership online.
Wait a minute.
What if customers are looking to buy a specific make or model? The argument for using platforms like Edmunds becomes even stronger. Dealerships specialize, they focus on a particular range of makes and models. When customers, who are in the market for a new or used vehicle, search for a brand on your lot, your dealership comes up in Google, kind of like this:
Edmunds has a symbiotic relationship with Google. This makes sense when you realize 57.45% of their traffic comes from Google search (97.08% of that organic vs. 2.92% paid traffic).
What are the user demographics of Edmunds.com?
Who visits Edmunds?
Edmunds users are more affluent, according to their data. Their research shows that:
The data indicates that Edmunds users are educated and discerning buyers. How do we know? Edmunds’ audience skews affluent, with 61% of Edmunds visitors from households earning over $75,000 per year, compared to just 36% of the U.S. population. Higher-income generally translates into a better ability to afford a new car and to qualify for financing. They’re careful shoppers who are more concerned with the overall value, quality and experience associated with their purchase.
Here’s another surprising detail.
“Edmunds’ audience also skews Millennial, the large up-and-coming generation aged roughly 18-34. According to Google Analytics, 38 percent of Edmunds sessions are by Millennials, compared to just 31 percent of the U.S. population. These visitors are particularly active on Edmunds’ mobile site, accounting for 55 percent of sessions there versus 26 percent of wired site sessions. For dealers interested in attracting these car buyers of the future, a third-party site is a good place to reach them.”
What does this mean for car dealerships like yours?
Edmunds users understand the power of online reviews. What about the other online review platforms (e.g., TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google reviews)? Aren’t these review platforms just as, if not more important than Edmunds? There’s a faulty assumption hidden in the question.
It’s not an either-or proposition.
When shoppers are in the market for a new vehicle, they don’t rely on a single third-party platform. They rely on multiple platforms. Customers today are focused on the third-party providers who have information on their preferred dealerships. Customers will visit Edmunds, Yelp, Google, Cars.com and a plethora of other third-party sites to dig up crucial information on your dealership.
For consumers, it’s all of the above.
How Edmunds compares to other review sites
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how Edmunds compares to the big three (e.g., Yelp, Facebook and Google).
Wow, that’s quite a difference!
It’s no surprise Edmunds is a small fish compared to the big three. As we’ve seen, educated or affluent customers who are in the market for a new vehicle focus their attention on Edmunds. They’re a niche provider with a very large core audience.
What does this mean for dealerships?
You’ll need to focus your attention on specialty providers like Edmunds and big three platforms like Google or Yelp reviews. It’s not one or the other; you need them all.
Business goals for brands on Facebook
Now that we’ve discussed appropriate goals for dealers on Edmunds, we’re ready for the next step.
Claiming or creating a dealer page on Edmunds
There’s a good chance your dealership is already listed on Edmunds. If it isn’t, you’ll need to go through Edmunds’ registration process. Edmunds has a platform called CarCode that enables dealers to manage their on-site dealer pages.
Here’s how you sign up.
1. Visit Edmunds.com/industry. Click on Products and Solutions, then click on one of the following: New Car Dealers, Used+ Car Dealers, OEMs
2. Scroll to the bottom of the page; then, in the contact form displayed, enter your contact information. Click submit to send your information. You’ll be provided with a one-sheet, and an Edmunds representative will contact you to get the process started.
3. You’ll be given access to CarCode once you’ve registered as a dealer on Edmunds.
4. Once you have access to CarCode, you should be able to edit your sales, widget and general settings. These settings enable you to edit your dealer page, set hours of operation, respond to customers and more. Here’s a brief demo/primer of each.
Here’s a walkthrough of CarCode’s sales settings:
In CarCode, you’re able to access sales, widget and general settings.
Sales settings include:
Here’s a walkthrough of CarCode’s widget settings:
Widget settings include:
Here’s a walkthrough of CarCode’s general settings:
General settings include:
Using Edmunds’ CarCode, you can also communicate with customers directly via email, chat or text.
Edmunds’ CarCode is simple and intuitive, making it easy to manage the content on your dealer page. This app is also how you optimize your dealer page on Edmunds. Completing your profile, making sure your name, address and phone number are correct.
Tracking and responding to reviews on Edmunds
The team at Edmunds made a surprising discovery.
They analyzed dealer reviews posted over a period of 30 days and found that 90 percent of the reviews were focused on either the sales or service departments. The most common title for any review on their platform was “Great Experience.“
They listed some telltale indicators from customer reviews.
See the common thread?
Customers are focused primarily on their experience. Many of them had unpleasant experiences with other dealerships. These poor experiences inform their expectations with you. At first glance, this sounds like a significant downside.
It’s actually the opposite.
The good things you do (Edmunds describes them as “the little extras”) make a significant impact on customers. These experiences work to reshape their perceptions of car dealerships in general and your dealership specifically. This increases the likelihood that these happy and satisfied customers will leave a positive review once their purchase is complete.
How do car dealer reviews work on Edmunds?
Dealers receive a star rating on Edmunds. According to their site, your overall star rating is an aggregate of all the reviews posted on your dealer page for the last two years. Here’s how Edmunds explains it:
“Your overall star rating is aggregated from all reviews posted in the last two years — specifically, beginning from the first day of the current month going backward to the same date two years ago. For example, if today’s date is 10/1/2018, the stars include all reviews from 10/1/2016 to today. Once a review is over two years old, its rating is no longer reflected in the overall star rating.”
This means it’s important to continue to ask customers to share their feedback. Reviews on your profile are valuable but they do have a limited shelf life.
Here’s another important point.
You may have noticed that review management wasn’t a part of Edmunds’ CarCode back end. That’s by design; the Edmunds team prefers to reduce the number of barriers preventing customers from sharing genuine feedback. If you’d like to respond to a customer review on behalf of your dealership, it’s simple and easy.
“No registration is required in order to respond to your reviews. Simply select a display name that represents you or your dealership, enter a valid email address, and the text of your comment.”
That’s great news, right?
Not so fast. What if someone is dishonestly claiming to represent your dealership and responding to customer reviews? What if they post an inflammatory or inappropriate response?
“We review all comments posted to ensure validity. However, if you find a comment in response to a review representing the dealership that you believe was not posted by the dealership, click the ‘Report it’ link beneath the comment, and our Reviews Team will investigate and remove the comment if necessary.”
There it is! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
If you’re using a third-party review management platform like Grade.us to manage your reviews, these are details you can monitor automatically.
Start Generating Edmunds.com Reviews Today!
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Promoting your Edmunds reviews
I’m a strong proponent of the 60/30/10 paradigm promoted by Perry Marshall and others. If you’re a regular reader, you’re already aware of this strategy.
Promoting your reviews is incredibly compelling.
Especially if your VDP has premium content (e.g., downloadable brochures, owner’s manuals, crash-test ratings, green scores, awards and accolades) in addition to reviews. These are simple enough for dealers to acquire, but they produce exceptional results. This formula is how you 2x your footfalls, traffic and leads.
EDP + EAR + Premium VDP = 2x return.
EDP = Edmunds dealer profile
EAR = Edmunds advertising and remarketing
VDP = Premium Vehicle details page
This formula depends on precise targeting, and that’s the difference between mainstream providers like Yelp and specialty or niche providers like Edmunds. The customers on Edmunds are focused on a specific goal: buying a car. Not so on other platforms.
There’s a downside though.
Take prospects directly to your VDP and it’s not quite as compelling, even if you show them the same, exact reviews on your site. Think about it from your customer’s perspective. Of course, you’re going to focus on your positive reviews! Of course, you’re going to talk yourself up. There’s a clear conflict of interest here.
Here’s a better option.
Advertise your reviews, then send them to your dealer page on Edmunds. They’re going to make an immediate beeline for your negative reviews.
That’s what you want.
These customers want to dig up dirt on your dealership. They’re trying to avoid making a mistake after all. What they’ll get instead is a master class on responding to negative reviews. Your factual, kind, honest and transparent responses to negative reviews will strengthen their interest in working with you.
Kind of like this.
First, here’s the customer’s review. Paints a pretty unpleasant picture, doesn’t it?
The dealer’s response paints a very different picture.
This customer wanted a test drive but they refuse to reserve the specific vehicle they wanted three times. The specificity offered by Rick, the dealer’s representative, shows the dealership made a good-faith effort to honor their word. This kind of outstanding response blunts the impact this negative review would’ve otherwise had on their dealership.
See what I mean?
Sending customers to your dealer pages on these review platforms is powerful because it adds credibility to your dealership. Customers are willing to believe the reviews listed because they’re displayed on a platform you don’t own.
What about your inventory?
You’ll need to work with Edmunds directly (via their advertising programs) to add your inventory to their site. This is something you can discuss with them once you’ve gotten in touch with an Edmunds representative. That’s a good question. How do you get in touch with someone at Edmunds? Is it as difficult as getting in touch with someone from Google or TripAdvisor?
Your Edmunds point-of-contact
If you’re running an advertising campaign on Edmunds, you’ll have access to a dedicated support and social advertising team. They’ll help you manage and optimize your advertising campaigns, providing you with the support you need.
You can email their ad team directly at [email protected].
Here are several methods you can use to contact someone at Edmunds.
As far as dealers are concerned, the direct method is the best and most prudent approach.
Goal tracking via Edmunds
Edmunds, unlike their mainstream providers (e.g., Yelp, Facebook or TripAdvisor), doesn’t offer an in-house analytics solution.
Edmunds recommends Google Analytics instead.
“You can track performance with your own Google Analytics account for complete transparency. Don’t have an account? Our success team will help you set it up, and even establish your goals and KPI benchmarks.”
This isn’t really a surprise as a few of Edmunds’ tools (i.e., Edmunds Trade-in tool) are already compatible with Google Analytics. That’s a win for dealers because it gives them the chance to validate the performance of Edmunds platform using trustworthy, third-party tools.
It’s a win all around, especially if you’re interested in marketing your Edmunds reviews.
Advertising and review marketing on Edmunds
Edmunds has a variety of advertising formats and programs.
Here’s a list of their specifications and their 2019 – 2020 ad products (listed below).
To get started, dealers can fill out the form here or contact [email protected]
What about their policies?
Here’s a shortlist of Edmunds ad guidelines and policies.
These ad products provide you with the tools and resources you need to attract ideal shoppers to your dealership. That’s a significant advantage as the majority of dealerships on Edmunds are not using these tools and products.
Edmunds sterling reputation is your gain
Edmunds is viewed as the gold standard in the automotive industry. Their audience consists of affluent and discerning buyers. Edmunds works to protect consumers, providing them with price comparisons, vehicle and dealership reviews. They publish exposés exposing the unsavory parts of the car buying process.
It’s about trust.
Building trust on Edmunds requires a complete profile, a strong review portfolio and attentive dealer representatives. You can do it. Put Edmunds sterling reputation to work, and eventually, you’ll find their sterling reputation becomes yours.