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Is Your Digital Advertising Ready for the Holidays?

By November 15, 2016Best Practices, DealerOn


Winter is coming and so are large consumer appetites1. Consumer trends have always indicated a willingness for deal-hunting at the end of the year. Google’s own data in 2015 showed that mobile queries grew by 52% in the last three months of the year2.  This statistic is even more interesting when you compare it against actual car sales at the end of the year; and while co-relation is not causality, the last three years show a clear pattern of sales gains in the last quarter of the year3.

Given that consumer confidence is increasing and that search trends usually indicate a healthy consumer appetite; the question then becomes: “is your advertising ready to tackle the holiday season?”

Holiday advertising needs to be understood in the context of your store and your region. This article will aim to show you how to  craft a holiday strategy (with your agency) that works for your business. Your strategy needs to be focused on three key elements – Budget readiness, Account Structure Readiness and Seasonality Readiness.

Budget Readiness

Ensuring your regular campaigns aren’t swamped by high search volume

If you follow your search advertising closely and have been doing so for a few years, you will notice
that the holiday season usually creates a dip in impression share (assuming all things stayed constant). This isn’t a good thing for your dealership. The sharpest dealers usually get ahead of this by understanding that a decrease in impression share, assuming nothing changed in your account the previous month, only indicates a spike in search volume and therefore a spike in car-shopping interest. For the dealer who’s wondering how to predict or be ready for an increase, here are ways you can go about estimating how much more you’ll need in the months to come.

  • Check how many impressions you got in September along with your impression share. You or your agency partner should be able to calculate what the available volume of impressions was in your market. Let’s say you got 100 impressions and your impression share was 50%, the available sampled searches was 200.
  • Now, assume that search volume will grow by 20% – 30%. Your market now has 250 searches. Without adjusting your budget and assuming you were only able to get the same 100 impressions, your impression share is now 40%.
  • Now set a target impression share, say 70% or 80%, and calculate how much more you would need to achieve it.
  • If you spent $500 last month to get a 50% impression share – and that amount only gets you 40% assuming an increase in volume – you would need to add another $500 to get you to an 80% impression share.

PHEW! That’s certainly a good deal of math. Ideally, this should be done by your agency, on your behalf. If you’d like some help, we are glad to do so. Just holler at us using the form alongside this page.


Account Structure Readiness

People are looking for deals everywhere, are you ready?

We’ve always harped on account structure as a fundamental building block for successful, high-conversion volume campaigns. It is no different when it comes to holiday campaign planning.

Here are a few steps you need to take to be prepared.

  • Anticipate demand and find the right search terms. Car shoppers in the holiday season are in the general vortex of holiday shopping in general. So terms like thanksgiving car deals, year-end lease deals, Christmas car deals are common and should be something you buy. Ideally, create separate ad groups and shut off the relevant ad groups as the holiday passes.
  • Remember that people are looking for deals. If your ad copy has been generic through the year, this is the time to spice it up. Keeping with your OEM advertising rules, offer deals, leases, and APR offers as best as possible.
  • While trivial, this can be an easy miss – make sure your callout extensions reflect holiday deals and offers. Remember, that folks are looking to trade-in cars, if you have special offers like beating a certain used car-mega store’s offers, call those out too!
  • Depending on your budget, expand to display remarketing and YouTube. Especially YouTube. Take that TV commercial you’re just investing in as the election season dies out and prices come down to normal and get thousands of more completed views alongside TV on YouTube.


Seasonality and Regional Context

Winters are very different depending on the state in which you do business. Florida is not the same as Michigan or Connecticut. Consumer needs can differ. What we tend to find is that dealers often ignore the fact that winters, especially harsher ones, can be a boon for your parts and service business. This doesn’t often translate to advertising. Our advice is that it should. Here are a few things to  implement about seasonality and its impact on the parts & service business in colder parts of the country.

  • Tire sales nation-wide can bring in an estimated $9 Billion in the winter according to Google.
  • Winter storms usually create a need for tire and service demand.
  • If you work with DealerOn, we can automatically adjust bids to go up on bad weather days for service and parts related keywords to keep you front and center.
  • Assuming an increase in mobile search volume, ensure that you’re using mobile bids to capture the mobile winter-shopper.
  • If you’ve never focused on running service campaigns before, here is an article we wrote a while ago that can be a good starting point.

Wrap It Up…

In summary, here are the things you should focus on to ensure you have a wonderful holiday sales season:

  • Watch your budgets and ensure you have enough to prevent a drop in impression share as search volume increases.
  • Buy the right keywords, generate offer specific ads, and if possible, expand to channels like YouTube.
  • Keep seasonality in context and don’t ignore your fixed ops department!

If you have questions, feel free to reach out to us at or simply fill out the form alongside this article.


Happy Holidays,

The DealerOn Team


1. Retail and Consumer 2016 Holiday Outlook: Key Findings
2. Google Internal Data, 2015
3. Overall U.S. Auto Industry Sales Figures – Monthly And Yearly

Author DealerOn

DealerOn, Inc. is a premier website and digital marketing company serving the retail automotive industry. In the last 12 months DealerOn’s websites have won virtually every meaningful industry award including: Driving Sales Top-Rated Website, Digital Dealer’s Overall Website Excellence Award, AWA’s Pinnacle Award, and Dealer Marketing Magazine’s Technology Award for Website Providers. DealerOn has become noted in the industry for their Lead Guarantee, based on their Digital Marketing Dashboard. Since creating this process in 2009, DealerOn has documented an average increase of over 200% in website lead volume for their auto dealer clients. To learn more about DealerOn’s Lead Guarantee, visit our website here.

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