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Dealer Edition: How to Prep for the Holiday Season

You hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting tingling, too. The holiday season is upon us and it’s everybody’s dream to wake up on Christmas Day with a brand new car on their driveway. Dealers are in fierce competition during the final stretch of the year, with promotions happening everywhere. If you’re not preparing for the holiday season by getting your dealership SEM- and SEO-ready, then you’re already falling behind. Don’t be a Grinch – follow this handy little guide put together by the SEO & SEM experts at DealerOn.

SEM Wish List

How do you optimize your SEM efforts for maximum results during the holiday season? First, consider the vast amount of people considering purchasing a vehicle at the end of the year. According to a 2018 Google Consumer Survey, 1.5 million plan to or are considering purchasing around Black Friday or a Year End sales event. There are 9 million Google searches alone for sales, deals, and incentives around Black Friday and Year End sales. There’s an opportunity in there somewhere, and here’s what your dealership needs to do to increase its chances of getting it!

  • Start off by capturing buyers in their online search process. Spikes in Search Demand increase towards the end of the year, so we suggest you optimize your offers, incentives and sales automotive searches for these eager shoppers.
  • You’ll also want to increase budgets against Ready-to-Buy campaigns. Don’t forget to re-engage shoppers looking for other deals by increasing your bid to win previously-expressed intent. This can be low-hanging fruit, so don’t miss an opportunity to re-market to potential customers who have already spent time on your dealership’s page.
  • Maximize your messages to make it relevant to the season. For example, instead of just putting “Jeep Cherokee Deals” put “Jeep Cherokee Year End Deals & Offers” or maybe “Ford F-150 Black Friday Deals.” You want to appear when people search “Best Year End SUV sales,” continuing the Jeep example from earlier.

One other important advertising medium is video. As time goes on, it’s getting harder and harder to reach in-market auto shoppers with TV ads, since the average daily time spent watching TV for adults has been decreasing annually. According to Google’s Internal Research, the average daily time spent watching live tv has decreased from 4 hours and 32 minutes in 2012 to 3 hours and 32 minutes in 2017. That leaves online video as the next biggest channel, no pun intended. You need to take advantage of YouTube, since it reaches more people in the US on mobile alone than any TV network! In fact, Google’s own research shows that 92.4% of the U.S. population who plan to buy a vehicle in the next 6 months will get on YouTube and look at videos during the process. Check out these stats:

  • 56% could be convinced to buy a vehicle without a test drive with a 360-degree online video
  • 7 out of 10 get purchase-relevant information from online video
  • YouTube CPPs are 28% cheaper then TV CPPs

And don’t forget about YouTube’s TrueView, where you pay only for actual views of your content. And if you remember from our blog about Google’s recent updates, TrueView has two modes: Reach and Action.

  • TrueView for Reach allows your dealership to run ads that viewers can skip after 5 seconds. If they skip the ad, and aren’t interested, then you don’t pay. If they continue to view the ad, then you do.
  • TrueView for Action is still being fully rolled out to dealers, but Google has integrated clickable banner ads into the video ads, and you can choose to display them in the middle or the end of the video. (Google has promised to roll out embedded forms as an option, but it’s not here yet.) 

SEO Wish List

We’ve established that online traffic picks up during the holiday season, especially for car buyers. So how can your dealership start driving some of that organic search traffic back to your website? Here are some quick & easy ways to win SEO during the holidays:

  • Keep Your Hours Updated: Always make sure to keep your dealership’s hours of operation up to date on GMB, i.e. closing early on Christmas eve, etc. You don’t want to create inconsistency, because that can create a baduser experience.
  • Link building: Consider making your dealership a drop-off site for a canned food drive, headquarters for a toy drive, or a place for the kiddos to meet Santa. You can use that to get good PR and links from related local sites and organizations.
  • Video additions: You should think about adding video to your site to attract viewers, as mentioned above. If you do this, make sure you’ve got event tracking added to each video, so you can see how long people are watching, when they’re pausing, etc. This way you can track the metrics and success of the content.
  • Don’t be dismayed by dips: Despite Black Friday, end-of-year traffic can vary depending on when Christmas and New Year’s fall during the week; so don’t be too worried if you see a slight dip in traffic in Q4. To better optimize for specific queries, use Google trends to see when patterns emerge during the holidays and create some content to target those trends.
  • Don’t abuse the holiday: Don’t just slap Santa on a graphic thinking you’ll convert more leads due to holiday interest. Sharing something useful like a winter tires special can be more effective than putting jolly old Saint Nick on a banner.

Let the holiday cheer set your dealership sales in full gear. We hope our SEM and SEO tips will help guide you to more success this holiday season. If you’re looking for more tips and tricks to help attract more customers to your website, read our latest blog post on using Google Analytics segments.

Author Aurko Chatterjee

Aurko Chatterjee, Director of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Prior to joining DealerOn, Aurko worked with Haystak Digital Marketing, a Cox Automotive company, where he served as the Manager of Advertising Strategy. In this role he oversaw the design and implementation of SEM Strategy for Haystak's dealer base and also led Haystak's account management and training initiatives. Prior to Haystak, Aurko worked with Google India assisting small and medium businesses worldwide with their paid search implementation and strategy. Aurko is passionate about helping dealers build and execute a data-driven digital strategy tailored to their business needs and objectives and has built strong working relationships with multiple dealers, agencies and vendor partners across the United States. Aurko has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. Xavier's College in Gujarat, India.

More posts by Aurko Chatterjee

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