COVID-19 Message: A Letter from Our Executive ChairmanRead Now

Committed to Our Customers During COVID-19

Thank you very much for entrusting your customer-facing communication to ActivEngage.  We take this responsibility very seriously, making sure that we deliver detailed and quality conversations to your customers each day. Many of you are closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and the state of its impact on our country and businesses. At ActivEngage, we’re monitoring it closely as well. Because you are a valued part of the ActivEngage Family, I wanted to let you know how we are working to assist you and the customers you serve.

Communication and guidance for your customers

Our Customer Engagement Experts (CEEs), are prepared to communicate with your customers at all levels of the car buying journey. Whether it’s full online retailing or simply online support via digital messaging, our team is ready to assist your shoppers 24/7. To that end, if you wish to have specific information provided to your customers, especially as the status of the situation evolves, simply reach out to our Customer Support Team. They will work diligently to ensure we convey your dealership’s message to your customers.

Training and preparedness for our employees

The wellbeing and safety of our staff is of the utmost importance. That’s why we’ve created a program that increases precautions in the office and allows for telecommuting should anyone feel ill or anxious. This ensures our CEEs continue to excel in building trust and moving conversations forward. Our enterprise-level platform allows our engineers, customer success, and chat agents to work from anywhere while staying safe and ensuring security. Additionally, our Technology Team is closely monitoring the ActivEngage suite of products to ensure they continue to operate at peak performance.

Dedication and ActivEngage-level quality for you

We want you to feel confident and have peace of mind when entrusting your online shoppers with ActivEngage. Our commitment to help your dealership make meaningful connections and build lasting relationships with your customers is at the forefront of everything we do. We will work tirelessly to continue providing the quality results and service that ActivEngage has been known to offer for over a decade.

From all of us here at ActivEngage, we wish you, your colleagues and families safety, wellness, and positivity during these challenging times.


Ted Rubin

Executive Chairman

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Auto inventory ads on social media

Are Facebook Inventory Ads Stealing Your Customers?

2019 is the year of social media, and more importantly, the year of Facebook. You and I both know your customers are always on social media, so why aren’t you taking advantage of promoting your inventory right into their News Feed? ActivEngages’ newest feature, Social Advantage, does just that. With this latest implementation, we help enable you to influence your customers’ online shopping experience.

The Diversity Advertising on Facebook Makes

Online consumers are shopping differently. In as little as 5 seconds, a customer decides whether they want to purchase from you or move on. Additionally, there are 30 million shoppers on Facebook Marketplace, imagine reaching that many shoppers and selling that many cars. That’s where ActivEngage comes in. We help you reach your customers wherever they are because, at the end of the day, we’re on the same team.

After our continued success with Facebook implementation in early 2017, ActivEngage is now helping car dealerships leverage Facebook in even more ways with Social Advantage. This powerful suite of tools includes Facebook Messenger, Marketplace uploads, and our new inventory ads. The best part, we manage everything for you. That’s one less thing to worry about so you can focus on the incoming sales. Dealerships that currently utilize this package have the opportunity to increase their unit sales through Facebook feeds with a simple scroll.

ActivEngage and Automotive Inventory Ads

Facebook inventory ads proactively show your current Marketplace inventory to local, in-market auto shoppers. With this new feature, dealers can use Facebook’s advanced targeting data to create dynamic ads based on consumers’ market radius, credit bracket, and car shopping behavior. This results in the opportunity to reach the highest potential customer base yet!

How it works: Shoppers who are actively searching for a vehicle will be targeted to see dealer ads in between friends posts about babies, marriages, and bird videos. Each ad is unique to the individual—if a shopper is searching for SUV’s, ActivEngage targets them with local SUV ads. With this new feature, car dealers will be able to:

    • Increase unit sales
    • Proactively reach car shoppers
    • Target local market
    • Customize ads
  • Measure vehicle sales

But, because some shoppers won’t always convert after seeing an ad once, our tool launches retargeting ads until they do. By retargeting them, you’re giving customers a more engaging and personalized car buying experience. This results in a happier customer and an even better selling experience—go you!

The first conversation you have with a shopper can happen online.

But your customers don’t want to deal with robots. That’s why, once the customer bites, they can chat with one of our knowledgeable messaging specialists. As a dealer, you can feel peace of mind knowing that your customers are in good hands, with a real human.

Show Those Other Guys Who’s Boss

Social Advantage is just the beginning, and we are eager to continue holding the title of the #1 approved chat and inventory partner on Marketplace. Like you, we work hard to remain a leader in this industry. ActivEngage is consistently growing our digital retailing features to turn more of your online shoppers into sales. We can’t wait to share what’s in store for 2019!

30 million Facebook shoppers are clicking on vehicles in Marketplace. Are any of those vehicles yours? To learn more about how we maximize your visibility on Facebook, please visit

Alyssa Goolsby

Alyssa is a Customer Support Specialist and growing Digital Content Creator who’s passionate about strategic marketing approaches with a focus on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content. When she’s not helping customers or writing content at ActivEngage, you can find her watching Friends or thrifting.

dealership live chat rescue feature

Does Your Dealership Live Chat Team Need Rescuing?

You know that dealership live chat feature vendors are raving about? The one where you can ride in on a horse and shining armor to ‘save the day’? Yes, that one — the live chat feature that allows you to take over your provider’s conversation. It’s absolutely terrible.

Rescuing your live chat provider is ridiculous. Here are three reasons why you need to avoid doing it at all costs:

1. Your Customer Experience Suffers

“Why am I talking to multiple people? Why do I have to repeat myself? What is happening?!”

– A Confused Online Shopper

So many things can go wrong during a chat when your team has the power to jump into conversations. To name one example, the conversation length doubles during these chat transfers.

More often than not, your salesperson is going to play catch up in a chat transfer, or they will have to explain to the customer why they were talking to Jennifer one minute and starting over with Stuart the next. This is neither fun nor efficient for your shoppers. In fact, it can really hurt their experience and your chances of getting a sale.

The goal of every dealership interaction with consumers is to get them excited to visit your store and buy from you. Your dealership live chat solution needs to provide seamless, consistent interactions to get people in the showroom. Don’t let these seemingly ‘hot’ opportunities ruin your chances of getting the sale.

2. You’re Wasting Time and Money

Tying into the previous point, if your chat provider needs rescuing, what exactly are you paying for in your solution?

You’re paying to create more work for your team.

Because you’re paying a provider to get you POTENTIAL leads instead of actual leads, you’ll need more staff focused on helping your chat provider, which will lead to more multitasking. Fun fact: multitasking is shown to cause 50% more mistakes and 40% less productivity in the workforce — and it costs our economy around $450 million per year. The odds of closing these potential leads are slim, which means you’re paying more money for less return.

So how do you protect your commission without doing your chat provider’s job? Hire a provider who can set appointments and drive shoppers to your lot. At ActivEngage, we get online shoppers to your store. In fact, our largest auto group customer boasts a 26% closing rate from ActivEngage leads — proof that a dealership live chat solution can and should help you sell more cars with less effort.

3. It Says So Much About Your Vendor

Most other chat providers in automotive won’t talk about their managed chat service because they don’t have the necessary processes or expertise to represent you. Those that do tout having ‘messaging experts’ don’t include their team’s conversion results. Why? Because they want to entice you with shiny, new features that won’t take the place of effective conversation and won’t drive customers to your store.

Unfortunately, some vendors perpetuate the misconception that a chat provider cannot represent your dealership and hold its team to standards of excellence—which is simply untrue.

At ActivEngage, we have been representing car dealers for over a decade. Our best-in-class chat team is trained in customer service, chat, the automotive industry, and most importantly, your dealership. That’s why our average results are unmatched in the industry, even by dealers themselves:

  • 80% chat-to-lead conversion
  • 75% leads with phone numbers
  • 20% leads with sales or service appointments

In Conclusion…

If your vendor offers a service that encourages you to watch over them, it’s a clear red flag.

Look, I get it. Your dealership’s website is a digital extension of YOUR dealership. But there are managed chat services out there that can represent your business professionally and effectively. Why would you pay for anything less?

Are you looking for a chat provider with a reliable team that actually gets shoppers into your dealership? If so, chat with us.

Setting appointments increases the value of internet leads

The Competitive Advantage of Internet Leads with Appointments

Internet leads from consumers who schedule and keep an appointment have a closing rate of almost 50%. Meanwhile, traditional ups typically close at 20%, says a recent study by PLADOOGLE, LLC.

The study also found that if dealers go above and beyond by having the vehicle cleaned and make the shopper feel special during their showroom appointment, the closing ratio for an Internet lead can exceed 80%!


Internet Leads with Appointments Have Significant Value

These statistics are not something to ignore. The evidence is clear that Internet leads have distinct advantages over traditional ups because they:

  • Give the dealer the opportunity to set an appointment, creating a commitment from your shopper
  • Allow dealers to gather valuable information about shoppers’ needs, which they can use to help close the deal
  • Enable the dealer to prepare for a superior showroom room experience, while also developing a lasting relationship via the initial conversation


Internet leads with appointments are gold

Expect More From Your Live Chat Provider

With these advantages in mind, there are some essential questions you need to ask your chat team. These questions will ensure you are getting the highest closing ratio possible:

  • Do they set test-drive or service appointments?

  • If you have managed chat, do they make sure your dealership is aware of shoppers arriving in an hour or less?

  • Do they ask questions that help gather the “good to know” information from your shoppers?

If you want the best results from Internet leads, get a chat team that sets appointments and asks the right questions. These two things are ultimately going to help you sell the most cars from live chat.

ActivEngage Sets More Appointments for Your Dealership

At ActivEngage, we’ve always understood the value of getting more foot traffic to your dealership. Our bottom line is your bottom line, which is why the ActivEngage chat team sets both Sales and Service Appointments on your behalf (and sends them directly into your DMS). Out of every chat lead we send our dealer customers, around 20% have a set appointment. 

Leads don’t get sales, people in your showroom do. If you settle for less than that, your chat investment is a waste!


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.



Facebook Messenger Ads with ActivEngage

How to Use Facebook Messenger Ads with ActivEngage

Since the inevitable death of organic social reach, dealers’ opportunity to reach and engage Facebook’s 2 billion users rests on paid advertising. Now that it takes a little more effort to promote your dealership on Facebook, those dealers who DO advertise will rise to the top. You can be one of them.

If you’re familiar with Facebook Advertising, you know that most calls-to-action drive shoppers to your website pages (i.e., VDPs, home page, landing page, etc.). Unfortunately, more times than not, these Facebook users who click don’t convert into a lead.

But, what if you could engage intrigued Facebook users clicking on your ad, in real-time and right on Facebook?

Spoiler Alert: You can.

Driving Social Car Sales with Facebook Messenger Ads

Facebook recently rolled out ads that send people from the social network’s News Feed into a conversation. Now, when a person clicks or taps on your Facebook Ad, a conversation with your business can immediately open inside Facebook Messenger.

This innovative ad-to-conversation opportunity allows savvy car dealers to transform their dealership’s Facebook into an interactive tool that:

  • Drives brand awareness inside one of today’s most-used platforms
  • Converts in-market shoppers into lead opportunities
  • Builds deeper relationships with social customers.

Looking for some Facebook Ad inspiration? Check out these Facebook case studies from automotive brands and dealerships that have grown their business with Facebook Ads.

Power Your Facebook Ads with ActivEngage Live Chat

Thanks to our latest integration with Facebook Messenger Ads, you can combine ActivEngage’s live chat technology to run compelling digital advertising campaigns that directly connect customers to chat.

Whether you manage social conversations at the dealership using ActivEngage’s software, or you leverage our highly-trained live chat team to convert social car buyers for you, you can now get closer to your business goals and increase ROI, one conversation at a time.

ActivEngage Facebook Messenger Ad example

If you’re an ActivEngage customer and have ActivEngage’s Facebook Messenger feature turned on, running ads that drive conversations is easy:

  1. Create an ad campaign. Set your target audience, time period, and location settings within the Facebook Business campaign editor.
  2. Use graphics that transition into a conversation. In the image above, a model is shown in front of a vehicle showroom with a chat bubble. The user expects to speak to a representative when they click the ad.
  3. Set “Call To Action” to “Send Message”. The Call To Action setting in an ad campaign determines what happens when an ad is clicked. A “Send Message” Call To Action will launch a Facebook Messenger conversation with your business page. If you use the ActivEngage Facebook Messenger integration, an ActivEngage Chat Specialist will respond to the customer’s chat request.
  4. Save and run your campaign. It’s that simple. Your ads will allow real customers to reach real people chatting for your dealership.

If you’re an ActivEngage customer and want to turn on the Facebook Messenger Integration feature, you only need a few minutes! Contact the AE Support Team or chat with us now to get started.

Interested in trying out our Facebook Messenger Ads feature to engage car buyers on social media? If so, chat with us now for a quick demo!


Google Click-to-Message: Your Secret Weapon for Mobile Ads

You may have heard that Google launched Google My Business Chat, a new feature that allows you to chat directly with customers on Google Search. But did you know you can also leverage today’s most popular form of communication for Google Ads, too?

That’s right, thanks to the Google Click-to-Message ad extension, you can start SMS text conversations that will drive more traffic into your showroom.

Benefits of adding Google CTM to your Ads strategy include:

  • More bang for your buck. You can add the Click-to-Message extensions to your ads at no extra cost.
  • More sales opportunities. By essentially opening a new channel, you have more chances of engaging and converting shoppers.
  • Apply extension across ad groups or campaigns. You can customize how you use Click-to-Message according to your needs.


But, Will Shoppers Use Google Click-to-Message?

Absolutely! Give them a chance to, and your automotive shoppers will use the SMS texting option on your Google Ads. Especially if a good portion of your traffic comes from mobile.

Consider the user experience: When a shopper clicks on a mobile Google Ad, there’s a higher level of intent than just browsing. They could be stranded with a broken down car somewhere and find you’re nearby thanks to your Google Ad. Or, they could be ready to test drive a new vehicle and you have the winning bid at the right moment. Why not engage them right then and there?

When you invite shoppers to connect with you via texting, you’re reducing the number of clicks it would take to get answers. And the easier you make it for a customer to reach you, the better chances you have of winning their business.

And sure, you also have the Click-to-Call option. But let’s be honest. As consumers, we are all getting more and more call-phobic by the day. Car shoppers would love to text you if you let them. In fact, according to Google:

“65% of consumers say they’d consider using messaging to connect with a business to get information about a product or service or to schedule an in-person appointment.”


Let Our Messaging Experts Connect with Your Shoppers

ActivEngage recently launched our Google Click-to-Message feature, which allows our expert chat team (or yours) to text with shoppers clicking on your ads using ActivEngage’s innovative chat software.

With impressive features like PreRead™, rich media sharing, and Lead Form Auto-Fill, our chat platform has the ability to transform SMS conversations into conversions. And our highly-trained chat team is there to provide your customers their undivided attention, freeing you up to do what you do best: close the deal.

If you’re an ActivEngage customer, and you want to turn on the Google Click-to-Message feature, let’s get you set up! It’s quick and simple. Contact the AE Support Team or chat with us to get started.

If you’re ready to rock and want to know how to set up message extensions from your Ads account, check out Google’s step-by-step instructions.

Have you checked out our new digital communications suite? Discover what it can do for your dealership today!

How to Turn On Google My Business Chat with ActivEngage

As you know, mobile messaging is quickly becoming a preferred communication method auto shoppers. In fact, a recent Google study shows that car buyers no longer prefer to call the dealership, send email, or fill out a form. Instead, today’s shoppers are increasingly turning to chat and text to connect with your dealership. That may well be why Google launched messaging for business listings. This feature allows you to chat directly with customers who find your business listing on Google Search.

Why Google My Business Messaging Matters

You might be asking yourself, “What does adding chat to Google My Business do for my car dealership?”

If you’re familiar with Google’s micro-moments, then you know the importance of addressing the needs of consumers, committing to being there, and being useful every time you can to help advance the buying journey. By turning on messaging for your local business listing, you can:

  • Reach and engage more mobile shoppers to effectively fill your showroom
  • Increase sales and service appointments for your dealership
  • Leverage your local SEO efforts to reach car buyers when it matters most

Google My Business Chat Feature

How to Turn on Google My Business Chat

Exciting news! You’re now able to instantly connect with anyone on Google Search Results looking for you or a dealership in the area with ActivEngage live chat. Thanks to our Google Integration, your team (or ours) can engage mobile users right from your free Google listings.

If you’re an ActivEngage customer, turning on the live chat feature for Google My Business is quick and easy to do:

STEP 1: Get your unique SMS phone number from AE Support.

STEP 2: Go to your Google My Business account, and click Edit number on the right side of the Chat card.

STEP 3: Enter your phone number and notify AE Support to receive a confirmation code.

STEP 4: Input confirmation code received from AE Support.

That’s it — you’re ready to rock. If you’re an ActivEngage software customer, you will be able to leverage all the awesome features in our web-based console with mobile shoppers clicking to chat from your Google business listing. If you’re using our managed chat service, our team will assist your customers 24/7, so get ready for some leads!

Not an ActivEngage customer?

You’re missing out! Start engaging mobile shoppers during crucial moments in the buying journey with ActivEngage. Call 407-960-3503 today for a quick demo of our services!

Automotive Digital Marketing: Live Chat Helps During Slowing Car Sales

How to Make the Most of Automotive Live Chat in a Slowing Economy [PODCAST]

You’ve invested a significant amount of time and money into optimizing your car dealership’s digital marketing strategy. Then, you’re told you have to make budget cuts because consumers aren’t buying cars like they were in 2016. What should you do?

Well, maybe it’s easier to start with what you shouldn’t do.

Todd Smith on Live Chat During Slowing Car Sales

ActivEngage CEO, Todd Smith sheds a light on a practice that could be detrimental to your business in this slowing economy: removing automotive live chat from your digital marketing strategy.

In a recent AutoSuccess podcast with Dave Davis, he answered the following questions:

  • What are the implications of removing live chat from your digital marketing strategy when dealership budgets shrink?
  • What are some live chat best practices representatives should apply to make the most of the experience for the customer?
  • What are some common mistakes chat teams often make when engaging customers?
  • How can new technology that allows live chat to happen outside the dealership websites change the shopping process? How can dealers adapt to these new mediums?
  • What are some questions dealers should ask themselves when developing a live chat follow-up process?
  • Aside from providing general information, how do chat transcripts help sales processes and impact the dealership’s bottom line?

So, before you make a rash decision to ‘turn off’ chat, check out this insightful, 20-minute podcast on why live chat can actually help your dealership thrive in a sales downturn and what you can do today to ensure live chat success:



Even More Automotive Digital Marketing Tips

If you’re looking for helpful live chat and digital marketing resources, check out our FREE eBook Library. You’ll find tips on proper lead follow-up, fixed ops digital marketing, and much more.

Looking for more automotive digital marketing tips to increase car sales and service revenue? If so, then don’t miss Todd Smith’s AutoNews webinar with the Used Car King, Todd Caputo. Learn how to move more units this summer by leveraging the latest digital tools and implementing effective lead follow-up strategies!

Sign up for the webinar here.

ActivEngage live chat and the Art of the Online Pitch

The Art of the Pitch: How Live Chat Gets More Runs for Your Dealership

“There are 3 types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens.”
-Tommy Lasorda
Former pitcher, coach, and MLB manager

After a historical World Series last year where the Chicago Cubs took home their first win in 108 years, we are set to kick off a new MLB season on Monday, April 3, 2017. America’s favorite pastime is finally in full swing.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of similarities between a successful live chat strategy and a successful baseball team. For starters, there’s the famous AIDA sales model.

What is the AIDA Model?

The AIDA model is one of the widest known models by marketers and sales professionals. The purpose of this acronym is to help professionals develop powerful communication strategies and interact with customers in a systematic way that appeals to their needs and desires to prompt an action.

AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.The principles can be applied as follows:

  • Attention – How do we inform shoppers about our products or services? What is our outreach strategy? Which tools or platforms do we use? What should the messages be?
  • Interest – How will we get their attention? Do we have information available to back up our reputation?
  • Desire – What makes our product or service desirable? How do we interact personally to make an emotional connection? Online chat?
  • Action – What are the calls to action, and where do we place them? Is it easy for consumers to connect and where would they expect to find it?

Traditionally, people view the AIDA model as a funnel that shoppers go down during the sales process, but in the spirit of Opening Day weekend and America’s favorite game, your friends at ActivEngage came up with this useful analogy:

AIDA and baseball

Unfortunately,  the online environment makes it easy for shoppers to get distracted with too many purchase options and “wow features” on a dealer’s website that prolong their buying journey. And as a result, dealers are finding it harder to get shoppers to run the bases fast and reach home plate (your physical showroom). That’s where ActivEngage’s live chat strategy comes into play.

The Art of the Online Pitch

The online sales pitch is not your average throw.

Much like baseball, live chat is primarily contextual. While there are best practices, such as practicing your swing, building arm strength, and keeping the batter guessing, when it comes down to it, context dictates the flow of the game. Similarly, the conversation flow in live chat will strongly depend on who is chatting on your behalf. You’ll need a team of chat experts trained to:

  • Know your buyers and their needs (AKA the wind-up)
  • Ask guiding questions to push shoppers down the sales funnel (AKA the step)
  • Educate and personalize the online experience (AKA the throw)

All of these factors will vastly impact the consumer experience on your dealership’s website. Therefore, the pitch has to be in league with that of MLB greats, Cy Young and Roger Clemens.

ActivEngage Live Chat Gets Your Bases Loaded:

Your dealership live chat strategy should move online shoppers from first base to home (your physical store) to truly impact your bottom line. ActivEngage gets your bases loaded by:

  • Spreading awareness about special offers and other relevant USPs using proactive, dynamic chat invitations with custom content based on the shopper’s path.
  • Creating interest in a vehicle or service, and more importantly your dealership, by staffing your website with knowledgeable conversation experts that can carry auto-specific conversations and provide valuable information to potential customers
  • Prompting prospects’ desire to buy by creating powerful connections using carefully crafted conversation techniques that drive engaged buyers to the next step in the purchasing journey.
  • Moving online shoppers to take action and walk into your dealership. And our team does it more effectively than any other competitor. On average, 20% of our sales leads include a preset appointment!

But at the end of the day, we understand it’s that final action, the follow-through, that drives your business. We’re talking about the moment the shopper becomes the customer. No other provider helps dealers close the deal like ActivEngage.

Bottom line? Every online conversation is a sales pitch. Every real-time interaction presents itself as an opportunity for our chat team to sell a customer on why they should come to your dealership. Our pitch average is the best in the automotive chat industry because we have mastered the art of online conversation.

So I leave you with the following questions:

Do you have the best players on your team? Are they performing to your expectations and getting shoppers across home plate (into your showroom)? If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then it’s time to make some changes to your lineup, and let ActivEngage start for your dealership. After all, even the best teams make adjustments at the start of the season!


“There are opening day pitchers, and pitchers who start on opening day.”
– Roger Craig
Former pitcher, coach, and MLB manager