Search Success: Leveraging Paid Search Advertising at Your Dealership

Successful car dealers not only use the internet to maximize their sales, they also understand the buying funnel and how to use different forms of online marketing based on where a potential car buyer is in the buying process. Leveraging paid search advertising helps make an impression on potential vehicle buyers early in their search, helping you maximize leads by becoming a valuable resource in their search for answers.

What Is Paid Search Advertising?

When consumers use a search engine to find information about specific vehicles, you want your dealership to appear at or near the top of the page that contains their search results. With search engine optimization (SEO) marketing, you can try to use techniques such as keywording (adding words such as the name of your business, city, brands, and models) to help your website pages appear higher in results. Using paid search advertising, you greatly increase how high you appear in search engine results. Depending on which type of ads you purchase, you may only pay when someone clicks on your ads or your ad is displayed on a page the shopper visits.

Success Key #1 – Early Targeting

The further along a car buyer is in the purchasing process, the more he may think he knows and the less information he may want. Paid search helps dealerships target customers earlier in the process, such as when they are searching by location. By matching vehicle shoppers through their search terms, dealerships can present ads to buyers at a specific stage in the buying process.

Success Key #2 – Better Targeting

While social media (such as recommendations from friends via Facebook posts and Twitter tweets) is increasingly influencing consumer buying decisions for other products, it isn't very influential when it comes to vehicle research. According to J.D. Power's 2016 Autoshopper survey, more than 20 percent of vehicle shoppers use social media sites for research, but most don't find them helpful.

Using search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, consumers can quickly and specifically target the type of vehicles they want to research (e.g., sedan or SUV), brands, a particular dealership, or a geographic area. Having your dealership listed at the top of search engine results, and under your dealership name, can significantly increase visits to your website, boosting leads and conversions.

Success Key #3 – Vehicle-Specific Advertising

The more a dealership can target its ads to a particular buyer (e.g., someone looking for a particular vehicle by make and model), the bigger the return on investment it will get from its paid search advertising. Paid search gives dealerships the ability to advertise specific vehicles (inventory-based ads). This provides potential customers with a personalized experience that also lets them know a dealership has exactly what they're looking for.

Success Key #4 – "Follow" Potential Customers

Have you ever conducted an internet search for pet food, a piece of exercise equipment, or a lawn mower, and then seen ads for that product when you visited other websites? Thanks to technology such as cookies placed on a consumer's computer when she visits a website, dealerships can "follow" vehicle shoppers on their internet journeys, serving different ads at different stages of the buying process. For example, after shoppers conduct research on your website, your ad can appear on other websites they visit to remind them about your dealership and your inventory. This increases your return on investment (ROI) by generating more brand awareness, clicks, site visits, leads, and conversions.

Driving Forces: Three Common Auto Marketing Myths, Debunked

auto-hero-2In the auto marketing community, "Ply-Myths" and "Mercury Fables" abound. But now it's time for three of the most common misconceptions to hit the highway.

Myth 1: One Marketing Channel Is Good Enough

Everyone shops differently and responds to different forms of marketing. Multi-channel auto marketing that includes emails, search engine marketing via advertisements, and social advertising are still the best way to advertise if a company wants to attract prospects.

It's advantageous to be where your customers are. Today, they are everywhere: online, mobile, and offline. Customers have more options to take action in response to your advertising thanks to an expansion in the number of channels available now.

Customers are in the driver's seat and have full control of the buying process. The information superhighway is the buyer's main route to get information. Deliver consistent customer experiences across multiple channels and you can create a winning strategy to make each touch point count.

Myth 2: It's Off-Putting to Include Inventory in Online Marketing

Some might believe it's too heavy-handed or "salesy," but including live dealership inventory in email marketing messages was found to result in a 47 percent increase in click-through rates. Don't shy away from including it!

Visuals are more effective at conveying messages than static text alone. Automotive marketing with product displays enhances the car-buying experience. This strategy provides value. It gives customers a clear view of vehicle features. Impressing with lots of photos and current incentives also helps move buyers along the path to buy.

Dynamic retargeting also presents the opportunity to display ads to attract buyers who previously viewed cars on your site or mobile app.  Ads are tailored to show buyers products and services based on what they viewed during their site visit. Retargeting display ads can help you build leads and sales. It's clear that visual content plays a big role in the purchase process. A digital showroom has its perks, but buyers will come to your dealership to inspect a vehicle's bells and whistles to determine whether it's the right fit for their lifestyle. Incorporate visuals into your auto marketing strategy. This will create a dramatic increase in customer interest, showroom visits, and sales.

Myth 3: Less Is More in Auto Marketing

That temptation to avoid sounding overly salesy can rear its ugly head again when it comes to choosing what to include in marketing materials. Whether that’s in an email or online inventory, buyers these days want more information than ever before.

Consumers conduct 11.5 hours of online research and only visit 1.4 dealerships before purchasing a car. This means the more info you have on your site about the cars, the better. This builds trust and helps position your company as an expert.

A buyer isn't influenced by the product and service offerings anymore. It's a positive customer experience that seals the deal. When vehicle information is inaccurate or unavailable, buyers get annoyed and drive away. It's essential to show strong product knowledge. Make sure custom features, payment calculators, and available inventory are accessible. Offer specialized auto data that buyers can understand and use to meet their needs.

The automotive industry is an intensely competitive environment. Car buyers are spending more time researching online now. Your company can be a one-stop source to deliver the informative content buyers want. Customers can choose to have their needs met with any auto company. Let your dealership be the first and last choice throughout the buyer's journey.


Digital Dealer 21: 'Video - the new showroom'

image2 Our very own Brian Kroll and Google's Kevin Lao spoke to a packed, "standing room only" crowd of about 200 attendees Tuesday morning in Las Vegas for Digital Dealer 21. The topic of the individual breakout session was "Video: the new showroom" and delved into the state of digital video as utilized in automotive marketing as well as tangible strategies to help dealerships utilize the power of video in their marketing efforts. (Watch the replay here.) Feedback from the dealers in attendance was overwhelmingly positive, with several great conversations following the meeting talking about solutions to problems dealers are currently facing.


In addition to the video presentation, we kicked off our new brand by sponsoring a booth at the event, giving the Adtaxi team a great opportunity to meet one-to-one with dealers from across the country. Others walked the floor with a life-size Facebook Lead Ad connecting with dealers to talk about how we can drive leads from Facebook right to their CRM.


The crew had a blast at Digital Dealer 21, with endless games of bean bag toss, custom Adtaxi chocolate bars, virtual race car driving and more. Can't wait to return next year!



race car


Video Marketing in the Auto Industry

It’s no secret the world has changed in terms of how consumers are researching and buying cars today versus just a few years ago. Multiple studies have shown that the average consumer visits 2 or less dealerships on average before buying their next car as opposed to 5 dealerships just 5 years ago. Today’s consumer knows exactly what they want and, due to the research they are doing ahead of time, often know the majority of the specs of the vehicle they’re interested in purchasing before they set foot in a dealership.

So if consumers are visiting fewer and fewer showrooms before purchasing a car, how do you leverage the power of digital to get the right consumers to your showroom as opposed to your competition? The answer: you bring the showroom to the consumer using the power of digital video marketing combined with predictively-modeled data targeting.

The opportunities to reach in-market auto intenders with video is massive and growing. According to Digital Dealer, YouTube is one of the most influential tools for vehicle shoppers. In fact, 69 percent of people who used YouTube while buying a car were influenced by it making this trend key to automotive marketing in 2018.

People spend more than 100 million hours watching video on Facebook everyday, accounting for nearly 8 billion daily video views. The opportunity out-scales the advertising budgets, so how do you find those proverbial needles of actual intenders in the haystack of video options? Let your existing site traffic data dictate the audience target by utilizing predictive modeling technology.

Predictive modeling applies algorithmic learning to 3rd party data to find the users that matter most based on a site’s current user traffic. This can be done across the open exchanges or private marketplaces by several DSP’s, and it can also be done in Facebook based on its treasure trove of user data.

On Facebook, it’s called a “look-a-like” audience based on a custom website audience. Facebook identifies people who have been to certain pages on your site and then allows you to advertise to other Facebook users who have similar data profiles, either the top 1% or 5% based on your desire for similarity (1%) or reach (5%).

The real power in this is that you can take the audience of people who have been looking at each and every new model vehicle you carry and then promote your dealership to new consumers who have the same data profiles as those VDP pages. For instance, if you’re a VW dealer, you can take the model of a consumer who is interested in a new Passat and then conquest new potential Passat users with a video of a sales person describing some unique features of the Passat, or perhaps repurpose a TV spot you already have talking about the current specials running for new Passats.

It takes a little bit of time to gather the data and a little strategy to decide what to show these in-market prospects, but when done right you’re able to take your dealership to the consumer by utilizing the power of digital video marketing combined with predictive data modeling.

To learn more about digital video marketing, please check out this recorded webinar, Video: The New Showroom – How Your Dealership Can Sell More Cars by Harnessing the Power of Targeted Video Marketing Across YouTube and Other Social/Programmatic Sources.


1As forecasted by Adtaxi’s Platform for US inventory across all exchanges. Households likely to purchase a vehicle in next 6 months per Polk Automotive Data, as targeted by datalogix and forecasted by Adtaxi. 2Facebook, July 2016 3Digital Dealer, December 2017