Impel CEO & Co-founder Devin Daly wins Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2024 New York Award | Read More

Impel CEO & Co-founder Devin Daly wins Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2024 New York Award | Read More

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Impel CEO: WhatsApp is important digital marketing tool

Automotive News

Impel’s CEO believes messaging platforms such as WhatsApp are far more effective in reaching customers than email, which is weighed down with spam and junk mail.

June 10, 2024 | MARK HOLLMER 

Impel CEO Devin Daly told Automotive News that for dealership customers email is increasingly less common overall in the face of spam and other distractions email users deal with.

 


Impel, maker of an artificial intelligence-driven digital marketing platform for dealerships, has integrated with WhatsApp, one of the most widely used messaging services in the world.

Impel believes WhatsApp and other messaging platforms will prove to be far more effective retail technology tools than email marketing campaigns for delivering personalized customer outreach.

“More and more traffic for sure is moving to mobile, and more and more messages … are moving to texting,” Impel CEO Devin Daly told Automotive News.

Daly said dealership customers still want to use email for things like complex deal negotiations, sending vehicle photos or filling out credit applications. But email is increasingly less common overall in the face of spam and other distractions email users deal with.

“Email is not dead, but I think it’s declining in relevance,” he said.

Dealerships deploying the Impel AI platform will be able to rely on WhatsApp along with pre-existing webchat, email and texting capacity to get their messaging out. Impel said integrating WhatsApp with its Impel AI platform will help dealerships reach both more and a wider range of consumers.

“It continues to make us omnichannel, and that’s really our long-term view,” Daly said of using multiple marketing technologies to reach consumers.

WhatsApp was used by 2 billion monthly active users in 53 countries as of April 2024 with high market penetration rates in countries including the U.K., Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Austria, according to statistics cited by Impel. With those numbers in mind, integrating with the Meta-owned messaging app makes sense, Daly said.

“We’re [doing business] in 53 countries where WhatsApp is the primary mode of communication,” he said.

In the U.S., WhatsApp usage is much lower, at 85.8 million users in 2023, according to Statista, a statistics company in Germany. At the same time, WhatsApp usage is set to reach a 43 percent U.S. market penetration in 2024, Impel said, with nearly 60 percent of U.S. WhatsApp users opening the app daily. In contrast, that number reaches nearly 90 percent in the U.K., according to Impel’s data.

Daly said dealer demand for WhatsApp has increased in certain U.S. markets. He expects that to grow more broadly over time.

“We started having a lot of our U.S. dealers banging on the table asking for it, as well as folks in Florida, Texas and the Southwest — a really strong contingent,” Daly said.

Impel, of Syracuse, N.Y., launched as SpinCar in 2014 and changed its name to Impel in 2024. It has raised more than $126 million in venture investment so far, including a $104 million growth equity financing disclosed in January 2023.

Last June, the company launched Chat AI, a chatbot driven by generative AI that’s designed for dealers and automakers.

The company said its platform is integrated with ACV Auctions and Cox Automotive as well as dealership management system providers such as CDK Global and Tekion.

Impel generated roughly $100 million in revenue in 2023, and the goal is to boost that to $150 million in 2024, Daly said, adding acquisitions may also be on the horizon.