Search Engine Marketing (PPC)

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.

Google PPC Quality Score

Google assigns (and continually tweaks) Quality Scores to the websites and landing pages used by customers who purchase ads on their search results pages.  Quality Scores are a frequent topic of conversation in the search engine marketing circle, but are they really that important?

The short answer is definitively YES!  Quality Scores affect how much you pay per click as well as where your ad shows on the page.  Your ad rank (ad position) is determined by a combination of your Quality Score, your Click-Through-Rate (CTR), and the Maximum Cost Per Click (CPC) you’ve bid. This means that a higher Quality Score combined with a lower Max CPC could place your ad above a higher-spending competitor.

Also, your Quality Score (along with your competitor’s Ad Rank) helps to determine how much each click will cost your dealership.  Essentially, the higher your Quality Score, the lower your CPC, and the higher the ROI on your ad spend.

It’s pretty clear that the Quality Score of your landing page is very important if your dealership is participating in a PPC campaign.  So what are the driving factors that Google uses to assign Quality Scores?

Click-Through-Rates (CTR) — Your ad copy needs to the best it can be.  This means that your ad text needs to be continually tested, measured, and tweaked to attract as many clicks as possible.  Use the keywords you are purchasing in the headline copy and ad copy to convey relevancy to searchers.  Any keywords in the search that match your ad copy will result in them being bolded in your ad, which has been proven to increase CTR.

Landing Pages — Deceptive and non-relevant landing pages will lower your Quality Score.  Sending your click-through traffic to pages that reflect the keywords that were actually searched for will not only help with your Quality Score, but also help build trust with your future customers.  Additionally, it will lower the bounce rate of your landing page and increase your conversion—which again increases the ROI on your spend.

Targeted, relevant copy in both the ad and the landing page has a huge multiplying effect on your ROI.

  1. You pay less for the ad to get the same position if you have a higher CTR.
  2. You will get more clicks because of the higher CTR
  3. You will have a higher conversion off of your landing page because of the relevant content.

You’re actually leveraging 3 different factors that ultimately impact your PPC ads’ ROI when you optimize your ad and landing page copy.  If you increase the effectiveness of each factor by 10%, you can actually increase your ad’s ROI by 33%, which may be the difference between your PPC having a positive or negative ROI.

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