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Autobytel Launches Third Dealer Insight Training Series

IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 12, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq:ABTL), pioneer of the automotive Internet and the company dedicated to connecting automotive consumers with dealers, today released the third installment of the Autobytel Dealer Insight Series, a quarterly training program designed to help dealers improve the car buying experience and increase sales.

The full Autobytel Dealer Insight Series is available at http://dealer.autobytel.com/dealer-training.

"Today, the way consumers interact with dealers has changed, which is why dealer processes must evolve to accommodate the latest online buying behaviors," said Scott Pechstein, VP of National Sales at Autobytel Inc. "Factors such as brand indecision, declines in dealership visits, and shifts from traditional phone and web-based communications to mobile and texting are impacting car sales. The advice offered in the Autobytel Dealer Insight Series enables dealers to engage with consumers the way they prefer to communicate to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction."

The third Autobytel Dealer Insight series features the following:

  • Information about the key factors that drive car purchases today among online consumers.
  • Mobile and texting best practices.
  • Tips to implement virtual showrooms.

Data from the latest Autobytel Dealer Insight Series demonstrates the growing importance of text leads, mobile marketing, and virtual showrooms. They include:

  • Millennials aren't the only ones who are texting. Today, 94% of cell phone owners between the ages of 30 – 49 years send and receive texts.1 75% of cell phone owners between the ages of 50 – 64 send and receive texts.1

  • 88% of cell phone owners with annual household incomes of $50,000 or more send and receive texts.2 The average number of mobile texts sent and received on a monthly basis outpace call volume across all age groups.2

  • Text messaging (SMS) produces engagement rates 6 – 8 times higher than email3, and 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery.4

  • 72% percent of car shoppers who were looking for assistance with their car purchase would be receptive to a video chat with a product expert.5

  • 88% percent of people between the ages of 35 – 44 are pro video chat, and 80% of people with income levels of over $100,000 annually are pro video chat.6

Best practices tips and advice for mobile marketing, text leads, and virtual showroom implementation offered in the Autobytel Dealer Insight Series include:

  1. Based on indecision among today's car buyers, it's important for dealers to add the "Why Buy Brand?" message to the existing sales process, as well as offering alternative vehicles and a range of pre-owned cars as options.
  2. Due to TCPA guidelines and the potential for substantial fines, texting processes must include a system that manages opt-ins and opt-outs, stores dialogue, monitors communications, and enables follow up.
  3. Since texting is a preferred method of communication among consumers, dealers should add a 'third line' to their marketing materials consisting of text keywords and short codes (in addition to a phone number and address) to increase engagement and drive leads.
  4. With the average number of dealership visits down, dealers need to increase consumer engagement with the implementation of virtual showroom technologies. Increasing online engagement enhances the opportunity for consumers to visit dealerships offline.

The information offered in the Autobytel Dealer Insight Series is supported by online lead data, as well as online buying trends matched to actual vehicle registrations in all 50 states from IHS Automotive, driven by Polk6. The resulting training materials are based on Polk's analysis of more than 13 million Autobytel leads delivered to dealers in markets throughout the U.S. from 2011 - 2013.

To access all of the data and best practices advice offered in the Autobytel Dealer Insight Series, visit http://dealer.autobytel.com/dealer-training.

1Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project Spring Tracking Survey, April 17 – May 19, 2013.

2Source: Experian Marketing Services and Simmons National Consumer Study.

3HelloWorld Benchmark Mobile Marketing Study, 2012.

4Mobile Squared Report: Conversational Advertising, 2010.

5SaleMove and Google Insights Video Survey, October 2013.

6Autobytel Internet Lead data and IHS Automotive. Vehicle Registration data. Analysis, Q1 2011 to Q1 2013.

About Autobytel Inc.

Autobytel Inc. provides high quality consumer leads and associated marketing services to automotive dealers and manufacturers throughout the United States and offers consumers robust and original online automotive content to help them make informed car-buying decisions. The company pioneered the automotive internet in 1995 with its flagship website http://www.autobytel.com and has since 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.

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

CONTACT: Autobytel Inc. Media Relations Splash Media Jennifer Lange 949-916-4820 jlange@getsplashmedia.com or Autobytel Inc. Investor Relations Curtis DeWalt Chief Financial Officer 949-437-4694 curtisd@autobytel.com or PondelWilkinson Inc. Roger Pondel/Laurie Berman 310-279-5980 investor@pondel.com

Source:Autobytel Inc.