Search Engine Marketing (PPC)

PPC Campaign Views

According to the Google AdWords blog, Google will now show its AdWords users the number of searchers that saw your pay-per-click (PPC) ad, didn’t click on it, but bought from your dealership within 30 days.  Google calls these “View-through Conversions.”

This new reporting can be helpful when determining your return on investment (ROI) for your PPC ad campaigns.  By combining this data with the data of those who actually clicked on your dealership’s PPC ads, you should see a more accurate picture of how much your PPC campaign is earning for your dealership.

It can also be helpful when deciding which keywords your dealership should continue to pursue in your PPC campaign.  While customers may not be clicking on your ad when searching for a certain keyword, if they are seeing it and buying a car later, then it may make sense to continue to bid on it.

The down side to all of this…the view-through conversions report is only available to those dealerships that have conversion tracking implemented.

If having this type of insights into your dealership’s PPC campaign results is something you’d be interested in, consider having your auto dealer pay-per-click campaign managed by a PPC expert.  While it might be difficult to get the view-through conversions tracked, most will be able to track the phone calls your auto dealership receives, as well as all of the necessary web metrics and tracking.

Quality Score Targeting Keywords

Google’s Quality Score play a big role in determining how much your dealership pays for your pay per click (PPC) ad campaign and the location of your ad on the search results page.  The higher the Quality Score, the less your dealership has to pay for the same location on the results page.  Since Quality Score is determined by the relevance of your landing page and the click through rate of your ads, following these simple tips can help improve your dealership’s Quality Score.

Make sure you are targeting only relevant keywords.  Look at the list of search terms people are using when they see your ad.  Drill down on any that aren’t directly related to your dealership, then re-work your keyword list to help make sure your dealership ad isn’t showing for those kind of searches.

Always research the language your future customers are using.  By bidding on and using the words people are searching for will make it more likely they will see and click on your PPC ad.  For example, is the web traffic in your market area searching for “dealer” or “dealership”?  “Chevy” or “Chevrolet”?  These little differences can make a huge difference on your PPC campaign reaching those trying to find your dealership.

Continue to measure and adjust your PPC ad campaign.  Since the search terms people use online continually change, your PPC efforts need to keep changing as well.  When your landing page and ad copy are continually relevant and effective, your Quality Score will benefit.

Google Bid Simulator

Given the complexity involved with running a dealership’s pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign, Google is trying to make the self-management of PPC campaigns as easy as possible with the introduction of their bid simulator.

Existing Google AdWords users will be able to use the new bid simulator to see the potential difference in clicks compared to a higher or lower maximum cost-per-click (CPC).  To use it, click on the “Keywords” tab in your AdWords account, and then click on the bid simulator icon (it looks like a mini-graph) in the “Max. CPC” column.

The bid simulator uses data from the past seven days, and shows your auto dealership how many times your dealer ads could have been shown had the max CPC been higher and lower.  This will allow your car dealership to decide which keywords are worth spending a little more, and which you are spending too much money on.

Of course, Google is quick to point out that past data does not predict future results, so take all of this information with a grain of salt.

While this tool can help make optimizing your auto dealer pay-per-click campaign a little easier, it by no means makes it easy.  Successfully managing and running your car dealer PPC ad campaigns requires someone at your dealership to be extremely dedicated and knowledgeable.  Using an expert PPC management vendor will free your dealer staff to sell more cars, as well as give your auto dealership the results you need from your PPC campaign.

Dealership PPC Campaigns

Almost every auto dealer that tries running a search engine marketing campaign (PPC) on their own ends up making a mistake or two.  Heck, even the PPC veterans make a mistake from time to time.  While occasionally trying something that ends up not being as effective as thought is understandable, some errors happen far too often.

Here is a list of common search engine marketing mistakes:

Sending your car dealer PPC traffic to Homepage:  People use search engines to find something specific; sending them to a generic homepage won’t help them find what they searched for.  Instead, use landing pages specific to keywords to solve this.  There are even car dealer websites that use dynamic landing pages as part of their PPC efforts so that the landing page is always contextually relevant to the users search intent.

Bidding on Only One Keyword: Not all searchers are going to use the same keyword to find your dealership.  Research to find the most common forms and words searched.  Your car dealership’s website analytics may help with this.

Using the Same Ad Copy for All Keywords: Just like sending all traffic to the same homepage, you don’t want everyone who searches to see the same ad text.  Fit the ad copy to the keyword it is tied to.  Even better than that, use dynamic keyword replacement to ensure that as many keywords as possible are bolded in your ad—this is a basic PPC tip that has proven to dramatically increase click-through rates.

Optimizing Page For Conversion: Landing pages are great for this since their only purpose is to provide relevant content and convert visitors into leads.  Make sure you have plenty of contact forms and calls to action.  Again, having a dynamic landing page solution ensures that your page is relevant to a visitor—this is necessary to maximize your conversion rates.

Bidding on the wrong Keywords:  Do some keyword research before you begin bidding on keywords.  There is no use spending money on keywords that don’t convert.  If you don’t have a list of keywords that convert well, take ample time in a very controlled and measurable process to determine which ones work and which don’t, so you don’t end up wasting lots of money.

It may be worthwhile for your car dealership to have your PPC ad campaign managed by a search engine marketing vendor.  They shouldn’t be committing any of the above mistakes, which will give your auto dealer website a better chance of having a PPC campaign with a high ROI.

Dealership Banner Advertising

Marketing, both online and traditional, is only effective if the intended audience actually pays attention to your message.  It’s also important that your marketing be effective at persuading consumers to purchase from your dealership.  If your marketing efforts aren’t seen by consumers and have an effect on them, you might as well be throwing that money away.

Internet banner advertising is ignored by 46% of the participants in a Harris Interactive study.  This means that almost half of web users that see your dealership’s Internet banner ads are blocking them out and not paying attention to your message.  That’s a pretty terrible penetration rate.

In case that wasn’t enough of a blow, the same study reported that only 1% of participants believed Internet banner ads to be the most helpful when making buying decisions.  Barely anyone turns to (or trusts) banner ads when looking for information related to purchasing.

According to this study, Internet banner ads are largely ignored and not effective in persuading consumers to buy from your auto dealership.

Instead of throwing this part of your marketing budget away, it makes much mores sense to reallocate it to marketing techniques that actually earn your dealership sales.  Search engine optimization (SEO) and even pay-per-click (PPC) advertising will be found helpful by your target audience and are much less likely to be ignored than banner ads.  Take a deeper look at the effectiveness and ROI of all of your marketing campaigns, and only fund those that are earning your dealership real sales.