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Made you click from the title or the picture, didn't I? Well, this article is about Pay-Per-Click (PPC), but a short story first to explain my point: When I had my entertainment company ten years ago, we always laughed at the long-standing joke that naming a band “Free Beer!” would make all the honky-tonk signs read “Free Beer Tonight!”—ensuring strong attendance. I still grin at it, because it’s so damned true. And impossible to do, because no bar would book you.
PPC campaigns that focus only on Click-Thru-Rate (CTR) are a very similar “high click attendance” effort, but they’re no joke. Just a few years ago, people fought for audience, and anybody clicking your ad was a win: It was All About the Click. All about yelling "Free Beer!" for attendance.
NOT true any more. It’s all about “conversion”. Want to have some PPC companies turn as white as a sheet? Ask about conversion. And also know that saying “conversion” is like saying “religion”: Which one do you mean? Conversion is divergent the same way.
What is conversion? Ultimately, power in retail vehicle sales comes from selling cars, so THAT conversion to a sale is what we ultimately want. However, a PPC program itself converts to calls, emails, forms, and (more often than we think) visits to the dealership: Conversion to sales is still on your sales staff. Calls, emails, and forms from PPC have plenty of tracking tools, but it’s best if a customer prints out and/or knows a “code” that must be presented at time-of-purchase to get the offer. If we push 100 folks to the floor and sell none, there might be small program problems (the offer was wrong and so led to heat and not sales, for example), but most likely it’s the call/email/form/floor process that failed to sell.
So, back to the start here, what do we want for a CTR? I’ve had everything now from one percent to OVER FIVE percent, depending on the line of cars I presented. And the offer, of course, and the inventory. So, essentially, for CTR it depends. If a PPC company trashes another PPC company I’m using based only on CTR, then they get shown the door. CPM (cost per thousand impressions) is a very handy number, too, but don’t just talk to me about that, either.
The Click-to-Conversion-Rate (CCR) is now my clearest measurable of the PPC campaign. Of any PPC campaign I run. And my PPC vendors know it. What should a good CCR be? I'm tracking that data for my campaigns right now, and I'll let you know in a future article.
For conversions, ask yourself and your PPC vendor these questions: Do you have a compelling text ad relevant to the search you’re targeting? Once shoppers click to your conversion page, do you have a strong offer for them and show them the inventory—and with real pictures, not stock? Do you have aggressive pricing (or a clear “Call for Best Price!” might work in your area) on your conversion page inventory, with a sense of urgency to contact and/or print the car they want and bring that with them?
Ask all that and more. CTR isn’t the “thing” any more, it’s CCR. And it sounds very sad to write it, but for PPC, remember . . .
No More Free Beer!
by Keith Shetterly, Copyright 2011