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Dealership Marketing

Don't Get Screwed By Data Thieves: All About Owning Your Own Data

Your dealership, your data. Learn how to make sure you own it and why it’s vital that you do.

person wearing black gloves on a keyboard

Your vendors aren’t partners if they are holding your data hostage. They are your enemies. 

There, I said it!

Imagine if your doctor wouldn’t give you a copy of your medical records or if your hockey coach wouldn’t provide your stats; would that make any sense? Nope. That's why in this article, we're setting the record straight about why dealers have the right to ownership over their own data, plus providing several helpful tips for taking back what's rightfully yours.

What Data Matters Most For Dealers?

The data that vendors in the automotive industry (specifically marketing and technology) create, obtain, and analyze is most often based on:

  • Your dealership

  • Your dealer website

  • Your inventory

  • Your services

  • Your customer actions

  • Your lists

Both vendors and dealers want this data because it is relevant to your business as a whole and is crucial for making good marketing decisions. This data can be useful for sales recovery on lost solds, can explain why a specific vehicle has been sitting on the lot longer than it should, and can even help you buy the right inventory to create future sales. Ultimately, data means dollars for everyone involved!

So where does all of this useful data come from? Most commonly:

  • Your website backend
  • Your Facebook ad accounts/business manager
  • Your Google Analytics/Google Analytics 4 property
  • Google Ads
  • Google Tag Manager
  • Google Business profile
  • Third-party tracking software
  • Other Google Properties and advertising platforms

As a dealer, you should, first and foremost, own all of these accounts before providing access to your trusted marketing and technology partners. There should be a single source of truth, and that source should be yours. But too often, vendors are the ones who own these accounts and, therefore, own all of the related data.

Let's be clear: there is no good reason for this to be the case!

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There’s No Excuse for Holding Data Hostage

One of the most common things we see when attempting to obtain ownership for our clients during onboarding is their previous vendors getting in the way.

Many companies say things like, “We can’t provide ownership of _____ because our set-up is proprietary!” To that, I say: “If the proprietary setup was that great, the dealer wouldn’t be leaving you!”

It also makes our job (and your job) a lot more challenging when we can't access data that your business has been accumulating for years. We've had to start from scratch many times, which is not ideal. Don't worry - we absolutely make it work. It's just not ideal!

As a solid starting point, the two accounts you should always have 100% ownership of are the following:

  • For Google, you should have a Gmail or GSuite email. This account should own ALL of your Google properties.
  • For Facebook, an owner or dealer principal should be the owner of the page(s), business manager, and ad accounts.

With these two accounts "close to the chest," you can then delegate agencies and staff with admin access to do necessary work and create "branch" accounts while still maintaining top-level ownership. A strong partner will help you set these up or get access that works. Don’t take no for an answer, and don't say yes to slimy offers to steal your data disguised as "making things easy."

5 Quick Ways FlexDealer Helps You Take Ownership of Your Data

  • You own your accounts; we simply access them to make marketing magic.
  • We’ll help you set up a master account if you don’t have one already.
  • We’ll go toe-to-toe with Facebook to ensure the ownership of your dealership has ownership of your Facebook page, business manager, and ad account(s).
  • We’ll consult with your team to understand how to access your accounts like Google Ads, Google Analytics, and beyond. Knowledge is power!
  • We’ll set up applicable tracking on your owned accounts to ensure that not only are they collecting data, but that the value is assigned and analyzed properly to be useful in decision-making.

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Why Is All This Data So Important?

In short: your data touches on just about every aspect of your business, all while being generated on your dime. Need I say more?

We use this data to guide so many of the marketing decisions we make for our dealer partners, including:

  • Data generated from your ad campaigns can fuel improved ad campaigns in the future, leading to more potential leads and more bang for your buck. Ads "learn" over time, so the more accumulated data we have access to, the better.
  • Website data can tell you why people are converting into leads, or why not. It can tell you where in the buyer’s journey people choose to leave your website or stay. It can tell you what vehicles people show up for, and what vehicles they ultimately submitted a lead for. It can tell you demographic information about your visitors, and which pages on your website they find most interesting. This list could go on for days!

As for your customers and THEIR data that you handle through your DMS, analytics, and other properties, they also want security. Fancy that!

Recent research from Google shares that customers will go out of their way to work with brands that provide control over their data. In the same way we're working hard to protect your data, you should be taking that same approach as a unique strategy for winning more customers.

Work With A Vendor That Respects You And Your Data

When you’re ready to start treating your data with respect, with a partner that does the same: know that we’re ready too. And if you're confused about your accounts, who owns them, or how to access your data, please don't hesitate to reach out. We'll be able to give you the skinny on your accounts and data, so you can start making decisions that put the interests of your business (and not vendors) first.

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Whit Norrad      

Whit Norrad      

Whether she's in the dealership rocking USPs with clients or behind the screen, Whit's on mission to scale your local business. With over 10 years of experience in marketing and biz dev at the height of tech expansion, Whit supports individual dealerships as they navigate changing landscapes and grow their businesses.

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