Increase Profits with Better Vehicle Listing Data


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Auto dealers and providers of dealer support systems face big challenges obtaining vehicle listing data at an affordable price. Licensed data feeds are very expensive, and using internal IT resources to “do it yourself” creates operational headaches. Connotate’s Vehicle Listings webinar presents an innovative solution.

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  • <Gina>Welcome to today’s presentation, “Increase Profits with Better Vehicle Listing Data”My name is Gina Cerami, and I’m the Vice President of Marketing here at Connotate. I’ll be your moderator today.This presentation will explore how companies are making profits from vehicle listing data – when they automate the process with precise Web data extraction technology.The formal presentation will last approximately 20 minutes, followed by a live question and answer session. You may submit questions anytime during the session using the Q&A feature.During the presentation, we’ll be asking you several survey questions which can be answered using the Polling feature that will appear when each survey begins.
  • <Gina>Our speaker today is Richard Adams, Senior Account Executive at Connotate. Before I hand the presentation over to Richard, I’d like to take a few minutes to provide some background on Connotate and context for the discussion. Since 2000, Connotate has been helping global companies across a multitude of industries automate the processes that allow them to leverage Web data for strategic advantage.
  • <Gina>With technologies founded out of Rutgers University and USC, Connotate has 2 primary locations – one in New Brunswick, NJ and one in Irvine, CA.The company is well-funded by a number of private equity firms.
  • <Gina>Connotate’s client base spans many industries and represents a who’s who of companies who are leveraging automation and technology to help them keep their competitive and strategic advantage in today’s competitive landscape.
  • <Gina>I’d like to take a minute to explain how Connotate serves our clients. We are an enabling technology – and a trusted provider of enabling technology for the auto industry. There are actually many use cases for our solution… including competitive intelligence, market research, social media monitoring and more. Connotate enables companies to automate processes where clients need to interact with Web based data. We speed access and collection times and we transform the data into structured data so it can be used by business processes, business intelligence systems and big data applicationsToday we’ll be focus on how our technology can efficiently extract vehicle listing data from public Web sources to help companies deliver innovative products and services to auto dealers and consumers around the world.In particular, we will focus on the benefits that digital marketing platform providers and information providers and have achieved by using an automated process for collecting vehicle listing data.We examine the workflow of this process and share real-world use cases.And then, we’ll conclude by sharing some of the best practices that we’ve developed over the course of time in working with companies in the auto industry.Now, I’d like to hand the presentation over to Richard Adams.
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  • <Richard>Solutions require timely, accurate updates on local vehicle product comparisons, optional features and vehicle reliabilityNeed to know in real time when a vehicle has been added to or removed from inventory
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  • <Richard>Connotate does one thing really, really well -- Automate highly repetitive tasks to collect data from the WebData collection costs increase rapidly the more vehicle listings collect – and the more important it is the be accurate.The cost curve is steepest for manual processes – they just don’t scale. Scripts scale better but there are tremendous maintenance headaches.Connotate completely revised the cost curve of scale, volume and precision – lowering it and flattening it out as well.With Connotate, you get accuracy no matter how much data you need to collect---and without the headaches of maintaining scripts.
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  • <Richard>Now I’d like to walk through the Connotate workflow for automated collection of vehicle listing data
  • <Richard>Connotate’s accurate, proven solution automates the collection of vehicle listing data, reducing costs and improving timeliness and accuracy. Connotate delivers:An outsourced data retrieval systemAccurate, reliable and timely data in the format you requireService-level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee accuracyThis figure illustrates the steps in the process.
  • <Richard>Step 1. Data Inputs and Configuration:Connotate has automated the process of Web data extraction, including:Input parametersNavigation of drop-down boxes, check boxes etc. to get the dataInstructions to ignore all extraneous elements on the sides of the Web pages to find the data you wantWe can also configure feeds to accept date ranges as inputs – we can extract data over any specified time period such as the past 7 days, the past month, etc.Our “Agent Builder” is the system used to configure the input parameters as well as output and data delivery mechanisms.
  • <Richard>Step 2. Data RetrievalWith the Connotate solution, the data retrieval process is completely outsourced. Connotate logs into the portals, retrieves the data in a structured way and delivers it reliably. The Connotate intelligent Agent goes out to website just like a human would and precisely navigates the siteThe Agent precisely extracts the data and delivers in the structured format you require (XLS, XML, etc.) 
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  • <Richard> Step 3. Data Delivery: Publishing/Reporting and FrequencyConnotate draws data from each Ad Network as often as you require: Typically, we extract and publish dailyIf you need data more frequently, we can accommodate that with an on-demand transaction model (ad hoc HTTP requests whenever you want)Connotate can schedule data feeds independently to meet your specific needs We publish the data in the structured format that meets your reporting requirements, including XML, CSV and other flat-file text formats.Data Publishing MechanismConnotate publishes the data to you via our secure FTP server environment. Connotate will provide you with a unique, a secure private login to our FTP serverFTP client software can be scheduled to automatically pick up the files
  • <Richard>In short, Connotate is quite capable of supporting your current requirements as well as future, unforeseen requirements for access to additional Ad Networks. Connotate offers a comprehensive service level agreement (SLA) that defines our deliverables and maintenance support. In essence, we take care of all aspects of maintenance to ensure that your implementation is worry-free: If there is a change in a website we retrain the Agent to navigate the siteIf the site goes down, we can send you an email and let you know Our agents support error validation. If there is a login error, we will know about it. Some websites are more complicated to navigate than others – we have the resources and expertise to handle complex sites with many connections, parameters, etc. All of this detail is addressed when we configure the Agents.Our SLA also defines the level of accuracy that we are committed to delivering. The accuracy is defined as a monthly percentage; however, because this number is an average, it also reflective of performance over the short term (days, weeks, etc.) Typically, the only outage that may occur which would affect accuracy is when an Ad Network or site is out of operation. When that occurs, we will re-run the data feed when it becomes available.
  • <Richard>  Results:$100K/year annual savings25 person hours/day savedA weeks worth of data in 6 minutes
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  • <Richard>So if you are thinking about using Connotate’s automated solution for collecting vehicle listing data I’d like to share some best practices we’ve learned over the years to help you get started.
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  • <Gina>Several of you have asked about obtaining a copy of today’s presentation. We will send you a link to the archived presentation within 2 business days.Now, for your questions.
  • Increase Profits with Better Vehicle Listing Data

    1. 1. Increase Profits with Better Vehicle Listing Data Presenters: Richard Adams, Senior Account Executive, Connotate Moderator: Gina Cerami, Vice President of Marketing, Connotate Date: September 18, 2013
    2. 2. Presenters 2 Richard Adams Senior Account Executive Gina Cerami Vice President of Marketing
    3. 3. About Connotate • Headquartered in New Brunswick, NJ, with offices in Irvine, CA and London, UK • Developed by world-class scientists at Rutgers University and the University of Southern California • Portfolio of patents for applying machine intelligence to Web data extraction and monitoring • Strong financial backing: .406 Ventures, Castile, Prism
    4. 4. Marquee Clients 4
    5. 5. 5 Other Industries: Transform Web Data into High-Value Assets • Online ad stats reporting • Competitive intelligence • News aggregation • Background check • Price optimization • Investment research • Market research • Regulatory updates • Sales intelligence • Business risk assessment • Data directories • Aggregate construction bids • Supply chain monitoring • Brand monitoring • Voice of the Customer • Social media monitoring Some of Our Many Use Cases:
    6. 6. Where Connotate “Fits” • Connotate is an expert in automating Web data monitoring and extraction • Our solution is the “automation engine” for some of the world’s leading innovators in related industries • News and publishing – the Associated Press, Thomson Reuters, Edmunds • Finance – Nasdaq, Lipper, Dow Jones, Alacra • Retail – O’Reilly, Shopzilla • Connotate is enabling technology for auto dealers and support system providers (digital marketing/inventory) • We are not a competitor or a dealer – 6
    7. 7. Topics for Today’s Discussion • The challenge – extract quality vehicle listing data accurately, affordably and at scale • Our value proposition • How Connotate does 7
    8. 8. 8 The Challenge
    9. 9. The Vehicle Listing Data Challenge • Dealers need solutions to accurately predict how inventory will flow across the lot and how to price • There is market demand for innovative solutions but you need comprehensive, up-to-date vehicle listing data • The data volume is enormous and constantly changing • 2M new cars on the market; and 1.5M to 2M used cars in the U.S. • 40,000 listings enter or exit inventory every day • You need to know when a vehicle is added or removed 9
    10. 10. How Do You Obtain Vehicle Listing Data? • Licensed data feeds • Feeds deliver one big data set, typically once a day • It’s difficult to obtain “just the changes” to a listing – you are provided with the entire standard feed • Scripts and Web scrapers • Semi-automated – but the cost of engineering is high • Accuracy is still a problem when scripts break • It takes longer then necessary to add a new network • Maintenance is extremely costly over time 10
    11. 11. Polling Question: How Do You Obtain Vehicle Listing Data Today? How are you currently obtaining vehicle listing data? We license data feeds for vehicle listing data We are using in-house scripts and scrapers to automate this process We are using BOTH licensed feeds and automated approaches We are not collecting vehicle data yet but we plan to in the future
    12. 12. 12 The Connotate Value Proposition
    13. 13. The Connotate Value Proposition 13
    14. 14. What Connotate Does for Vehicle Listings Connotate automates vehicle listing data collection: • Highly scalable data retrieval system • Perform an entire sweep of VIN data every 3 days • Grab “just the changes” twice daily • Filter by zip code, region, etc. • Delivered in XML or any form Less expensive than licensed feeds More profit for you! 14 Reduce costs – grow profits
    15. 15. are buying licensed data feeds today, what is the value to you? $250,000 or more per year $50,000 to $250,000 per year $10,000 to $50,000 per year Less than $10,000 per year
    16. 16. 16 The Connotate Workflow
    17. 17. The Connotate Workflow 17
    18. 18. Step 1. Data Inputs and Configuration 18 Connotate automatically pre-fills input parameters to access Web sources and find new listings and changes to current listings (the “delta”)
    19. 19. Step 2. Data Retrieval – Precise Navigation 19 Connotate’s precise navigation retrieves the data and images requested.
    20. 20. Connotate Transforms the Vehicle Data into the Format You Need 20
    21. 21. Step 3. Data Delivery 21 Connotate delivers clean, precise data in the format you require. Clean, Consistent, Consumable Data
    22. 22. Scope and Expansion of Vehicle Listing Data • Connotate’s current library supports automated access to the most reliable and extensive vehicle listings available • We can customize our library to suit your needs very quickly and re-purpose it into your private library • If you require access to sources that are not in our library, we can add in a new source quickly • Initial deployment time depends on the complexity of the site but it is relatively short 22
    23. 23. Case Study Digital Marketing Firm (for Auto Dealerships) • Connotate helped this firm achieve aggressive growth goals by expanding its database of pre-owned vehicle data • Each day, Connotate extracts and aggregates millions of data points from public Web sources to deliver updates on local vehicle price comparisons, optional features and vehicle reliability • Connotate reduced data collection costs while ensuring comprehensive, up-to-date coverage of used vehicle inventories nationwide. 23
    24. 24. Polling Question: The Value of Automated Web Data Collection Are you convinced that an automated Web data extraction process can help accelerate your data collection processes? Yes – we are doing this now Yes – we are planning to automate in the near future No – not at this time I need more information before deciding
    25. 25. 25 Scope Your Project: 5 Steps
    26. 26. Scoping Your Project: Steps to Success 1.Decide which Web sources of vehicle listings will be most valuable for an automated data collection effort 2.Make a list of those sites with the access URL 3.Contact Connotate 4.We’ll provide a customized cost estimate 5.Sign a contract and enjoy hassle-free 26
    27. 27. Q & A Connotate will email a link to this presentation as well as a copy of the slides to you within 2 business days. If you have an immediate need and would like us to contact you about a forthcoming project, please email us at or call (+1) 732-296-8844. For more information, visit or 27