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Marketing Adtech Data & Privacy

How a leading car finance broker is driving marketing performance on a privacy-first web

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By Jenni Baker | Senior Editor

January 29, 2024 | 7 min read

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We explore how Car Finance 247 is harnessing first-party data to maximize its performance marketing channels on a privacy-first web.

Car Finance 247 is fueling growth in search by putting privacy first

Car Finance 247 is fueling growth in search by putting privacy first

The journey to purchasing a car — from booking a test drive to choosing a model — has fundamentally changed. A report by Auto Trader found that the majority of UK consumers are now completing essential car-buying tasks digitally, with 60% going online to decide on finance.

As the facilitator of over £500m of motor finance each year, digital platform Car Finance 247 has built a thriving business by automating the car buying process through customer-centric technology, personalization, and transparency.

From the outset, the responsible use of data has been critical to the company’s success, enabling it to reach and engage relevant users, particularly through search. However, with evolving privacy regulations, the business needed a fresh approach to stay ahead of changes and connect with new customers efficiently online.

High-quality data fuels growth

“Search advertising is the biggest volume driver for us - it converts extremely well and it’s a fundamental part of our growth plans,” says Emily Henshall, head of paid digital at Car Finance 247. “But continued performance hinges on accurate measurement - harnessing our first-party data to observe and measure activity and conversions across the marketing funnel.”

But with new requirements for cookie consent, Car Finance 247 had seen up to 20% of users opting out for marketing and analytics purposes on the website. This led to a significant drop in the amount of data that could be observed and risked inefficiencies in its marketing spend.

This was the trigger for change, explains Patrick Singleton, technical solutions architect at EssenceMediacom, Car Finance 247’s long-standing media partner. He says: “We wanted to mitigate any lost conversion data, with an eye on the long-term picture and potential decline in the usability of third-party cookies. Our goal is to stay ahead of the game in terms of technology to ensure Car Finance 247’s data is of better quality than its competitors and its budgets are spent more efficiently.”

Privacy-focused measurement

To meet this goal, EssenceMediacom and Car Finance 247 implemented a new privacy-focused measurement strategy using four key Google features:

  • Integrating Google’s Consent Mode tool with the existing on-site consent manager via Google Tag Manager. This allows users to control how their data is used for advertising. When a user opts out of cookies for marketing and analytical purposes, Car Finance 247 was able to use conversion modeling in Consent Mode to help fill in any measurement gaps.
  • Google’s Enhanced Conversions feature enables brands to attribute conversions to specific ads in a privacy-safe way by using anonymized consented user data, such as email addresses and names. By leveraging this feature, Car Finance 247 improved the accuracy of its conversion measurement and reporting and could optimize its bidding strategies.
  • The latest iteration of Google’s analytics platform, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), is designed to help businesses measure customers’ interactions across multiple platforms. By adding GA4 to Enhanced Conversions and Consent Mode, Car Finance 247 improved campaign attribution and boosted its marketing performance — all while prioritizing user privacy.

Accelerating ahead of change

“This proactive approach and prioritizing its privacy strategies has led to substantial business benefits for Car Finance 247,” explains Google’s data & measurement account manager, Giulia Pizzulin. A pilot test delivered 15.2% more paid search conversions via Consent Mode and a 7.5% increase in conversions driven by Enhanced Conversions.

“This allowed the team to better track application conversions and reduce the cost per approved application by 3%,” says Henshall. “The set-up is now the standard across our search campaigns, helping optimize advertising expenditure and maximize ROI.”

Joe Eastham, partner, head of data, advanced analytics & Google Cloud Platform (GCP) solutions at EssenceMediacom, adds that there is a clear message that all advertisers can take from this: “Don't wait until it’s too late. Don’t hold off until you see a decline in your data and your CTO or CEO asks why numbers are down or why it’s costing more to get less. Get in front of change, adopt tech early, and get a good understanding of your data and customers.”

Setting a new standard with privacy

The key is not to just follow changing privacy regulations, but to set the standard with these steps:

  1. Partner with the right people: make sure marketing, finance, IT, and agency partners are aligned to create the right strategy.
  2. Lean into new tech: AI-powered tools can help deliver the right message to the right user in the right place while meeting or exceeding privacy expectations.
  3. Build trust: be transparent on intended data use. Getting this right will build consumer trust and improve data quality - leading to an enhanced user experience and more effective marketing.

For more helpful advice and insights to help businesses prepare for a privacy-first future, check out The Responsible Marketing Hub with Google.

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Marketing Adtech Data & Privacy

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Google is committed to helping businesses thrive in a privacy-first world. The technology giant works with thousands of businesses and agencies to help them prepare for a future without third party cookies. Using privacy-preserving technologies, built on machine learning and automation, it can fill reporting gaps and understand people’s needs in a privacy-centric way.

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