Car Dealer Radio Advertising

Radio advertising has just been dealt another blow–even Google can’t find a way to track ad spend.  A few years back, Google decided to try to automate radio advertising much as they do Internet advertising (PPC).  However, even the King of Analytics couldn’t figure out how to effectively track the success of radio ad campaigns.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Google never came up with a good way to measure listener response.”  After trying for over three years, Google’s engineers were unable to develop the technology needed to track ads as well as they were able to do with the online advertising model.  Google’s Chief Executive, Eric Schmidt, explained that “in the audio case, there wasn’t a good signal back to us about which ads performed.”

If Google can’t figure out a way to effectively measure and track the necessary analytics to prove the ROI of an ad campaign (directly related visits, leads, sales), your auto dealership or an ad agency isn’t going to be able to prove these analytics.

Traditional media advertising (like radio) can’t be measured in the same way that online advertising can, plain and simple.  Your dealership has no way of knowing whether or not your radio spend is bringing sales into your dealer showroom, and Google just showed that.  Given the ever-present threat of dealerships closing these days, it’s more imperative now than ever that your dealership knows which marketing spend is bringing in which sales.  With the right tools, this is only possible with your online marketing campaigns.

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.

Google Profiles takes advantage of Identity Searches

When you meet someone new and you want to find out more information about them, what do you do?  If you’re like a lot of people, you’ll head straight to Google and search for their name.  I would bet that a large number of potential customers perform an Internet search on your dealership after they’ve decided to purchase from you.  How often do you think they do the same on the name of the salesperson they are considering purchasing their vehicle from?

Typical search results are your social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn), as well as website on which your name appears (dealership site, news articles, etc).  Google is now allowing users to create “profiles” in which you can upload images, link to websites and write a personal bio.  This tool is available to anyone who creates an account on Google after you go through a screening routine to verify your identity.

What’s great about this tool is that, from a business standpoint, you can have full control over an entry in the search results pages.  Those who have completed the verification process have found that this “profile” is being shown on the first page of search results very quickly (though this isn’t much of a surprise since Google will of course want to promote their own products).

To start the process, go to Google Profiles.   It looks as though this could be another great way to manage your online reputation as well as increase the search engine optimization results for your personal brand as well as your dealership.  Let us know how it works out!

Reputation Management using Social Media

Social media just seems to keep growing and growing in popularity.  Websites like Twitter and Facebook are continuing to see an increase in both users and businesses that use these websites to market their business.  Unfortunately, with this increase in marketing use comes an increase in imposters.  More and more user accounts are being set up claiming to be the “official” Facebook pages or Twitter accounts; it’s difficult sometimes to establish which one is actually the real one.

So how can your dealership combat this trend in social media?  Search Engine Land suggests three steps to take in order to keep a handle on your dealership’s online presence.

First, you must create, maintain, and monitor your brand online.  Your dealership needs to be present in social media.  This is the only way you can monitor your brand name.  Even if you aren’t ready to actually participate, your dealership should have accounts to see what other users are writing about your dealership and the brand(s) that you sell.  In the case of Twitter, your dealership should make sure you grab the usernames that you may want to use in the future.

Monitor these media outlets for any attempts to sabotage your brand and react swiftly.  To demonstrate to other users that your account is the real one (and the others are imposters), you can make special offers to those who are “fans” on Facebook or follow your dealership on Twitter.  If you do find an account that is “impersonating” your dealership, address it in a respectful tone.  If people are following that account, chances are they’d be willing to follow the “real” account, so ask them to.

Finally, push forward with new ideas for your brand.  Continue to innovate your social media efforts online.  Use the online community to gauge new specials (in the service or parts department) or promotional events.  Advertise community sponsorships you’re involved in, and above all, direct traffic back to your dealership website.

Online Automotive Marketing – Patience is a Virtue

As an auto sales person, you want to see the results of your selling efforts as soon as possible.  As a business person, you want to see the financial benefits of any money you spend as soon as you spend it.  Business and sales tend to be focused on the here and now, and rightly so.  Especially during this lull the sales volume of cars, waiting for benefits can be downright painful for your dealership.  But it’s also necessary at times.  In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), your auto dealership might have to wait to see the full results.  Here’s why:

Search Engine Bots Take Time to Crawl: Most search engine bots don’t look for new content every day.  If you’ve done an overhaul of your website and it’s content, it could take 3-4 months for each page to be indexed.

They Want to Make Sure You’re Legit:  Even if your web pages do get noticed and indexed, the search engine algorithms want to make sure your dealer website isn’t manipulating your links.  Over time, they’ve found that these black hat SEO tactics tend to be fleeting, while quality, meaningful links tend to stay on a website.

Gaining Attention Online Takes Time:  A big part of SEO ranking is the quality and quantity of websites that link back to your site.  It can often take a lot of time for a website to earn these inbound links.

This isn’t to say that you should wait indefinitely while your SEO company takes your auto dealership for a ride.  Make sure your dealership has access to the analytics that demonstrate your gradual climb up the page ranks, and when the time comes, that you actually see results.