Automotive Digital Marketing

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A Path to Save Dollars on Your Marketing Cost per Car Sold

A majority of a car shopper's touchpoints occur online, so it would be silly to neglect the value of a strong digital presence. Fortunately, more and more dealerships embrace marketing online -- as shown in the NADA's 2017 report: 55.4% of a dealer's advertising is spent on the Internet. 

Now here's the but ... BUT ...

The marketing cost per car sold has remained nearly the same:

  • $762 for luxury vehicles
  • $630 for mass-market vehicles

Your Marketing Costs Should Drop as You Switch to Digital

Here's a look at the digital channels where dealers have put more than half of their advertising costs.

Section Summary - When you develop and maintain a website that's optimized, you maximize the investment of your paid search spend. As more qualified traffic comes to your site, you get more high-quality leads and sell more cars without spending additional money.

Now to the details ... 

Your site is the one and only place where car shoppers won't see or be able to engage with your competition

That's why you must build a site around content that satisfies local consumer searches with a focus on keywords that imply a strong motivation to buy (e.g. "for sale"). When searchers use keywords like that, search engines deliver websites that can provide answers.

You have tools available to get know what those searches actually are.

  • Search Console shows organic searches and the clicks and impressions you get from them, as well as your rank in SERPs.
  • Google Ads shows the ad groups that compel the most conversions.

When you're effective at using these tools, you take up more space on the results pages and push competitors down in the rankings. So, you must marry your site's content with car shoppers' search intent. You need to prioritize your efforts by search volume, your rank in the search results, and relevance to your business objectives.

Building the right pages around the right keywords lets you focus on delivering a better user experience; easy navigation, limited pop-ups, clear calls-to-action -- things that lessen the visual and mental workload for a car shopper to get where he or she wants to go.

A car shopper's experience begins the moment he or she hits your homepage, which is why you should make their ability to go from the homepage to the SRPs as simple as possible. We even recommend that you perform an audit to measure how effectively you do that.

You still might be saying, "Reunion, the headline was about how to save money on marketing costs per car sold, not just make more money by making more sales from leads that digital marketing delivers!"

If your SEO and SEM efforts are cohesive, you'll have landing pages relevant to your paid search ads. That helps save you money on every single click.

Paid Search: Quality is Less Costly 

Section Summary - A good Quality Score can save you dollars across hundreds or thousands of ads. Combine that with writing original copy and using the right extensions to own the ad listings.

Now to the details ... 

SEM is a driving force of lead generation in digital marketing. To ensure your ad campaigns are a success, make sure that you follow best practices:

  • Use hundreds of keywords
  • Create hundreds of ads
  • Strategically place them into dozens of ad groups

These criteria ensure that you satisfy many variations of car shopper searches. Meeting search intent creates ad relevance, which is one factor that builds a better Quality Score (QS). So does QS matter?


Ad Rank is where you're placed in the ads that sit above organic results. The way you lower your bid price while you maintain a great Ad Rank is to increase your QS. 

Did you know that a QS of 3 pays nearly twice as much as a QS of 6?

So, relevance is one factor that affects QS. The other two factors are the following:

  1. Landing page experience
  2. Expected CTR

If you're unaware of your QS, it's important that you find out. Right now you may be sitting at a 3 or 4 QS and could be saving dollars if the right strategies were implemented to make it a 6, 7 or above, maximizing your spend by doubling the reach of every dollar.

Don't stop at QS. Also make sure that your uniquely crafted ads utilize all applicable extensions so you can increase your click-through rate. The industry average currently sits at 4%. That's unacceptable.

(Tip: The better your Ad Rank, the ore likely all your extensions show. That means you'll push competitors off the screen, so mobile shoppers would have to scroll to see them.)

Social Media: Hyper-Targeting Your Audience

We've talked about the low-hanging fruit of in-market shoppers that you connect with via paid search. And we even talked about the importance of an optimized website for saving money. Let's talk about a wider audience: social media users. 

Social media lets you cost a wide net but still be precise -- counter-intuitive, I know.

You can even leverage your CRM data with social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Facebook's Own Targeting Capabilities

  1. Car Shopper Qualities
    1. demographics, interests
  2. Custom Audiences
    1. look-alikes
  3. Location
    1. radius, zip codes

CRM Data

You've likely collected emails for years. This organic list can be used across channels, but you'll find it particularly effective on Facebook. 

  1. Segment buyers who came to the dealership but did not make a purchase. When you import it, Facebook filters all invalid emails to provide a new connection with them via ads. Combine that with good creative options, you can increase your CTR.
  2. Import contacts to create a look-alike from those emails. Facebook filters them, then analyzes interests, demographics, and other features of your valid contacts to create an audience that mirrors them.

Facebook ads also cost a fraction of ads on TV, radio, and other traditional methods.

In Summary

The right strategies on the right channels with the right internal department or external agency will optimize the power of every marketing dollar.

  • Create a website that boosts the ROI for your paid search
    • Drive more qualiified traffic to get more leads to sell more cars without spending more
  • Raise your Quality Score
  • Use your CRM and Facebook's internal targeting

And since you made it to the end, here's a bonus: 12 quick and easy conversion strategies that won't cost you a dime.

Views: 81

Tags: Facebook, SEM, SEO, car, cost, digital, marketing, media, per, social, More…sold


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