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Car dealers have been perfecting the best strategies to implement paid search campaigns. It is common for dealers to ask me how much of their budget should be allocated to Google Adwords, Automotive SEO, Cars.com, or Autotrader.com.
In recent years, companies have come to market with VIN# level advertising options, that will create paid search ads based on cars that are in stock. Even if there is only one vehicle in stock from a specific year, make, and model the ad will run until it is sold.
This is very handy and efficient tool for franchise dealers that have a diverse inventory of vehicles. For example, a Ford dealer may be the first logical choice for a local consumer to look for a used Ford car or truck. However, if the Toyota dealer has five used Ford F-150's in stock, how can the dealership attract local consumers searching for an F-150?
VIN# advertising allows for dealers to run specific ads for each car in stock. This is accomplished by dealers sending their inventory feed to the advertising platform provider. A number of Adwords management companies have grabbed dealer attention because they offer VIN level advertising. It is a very interesting and effective service if setup properly, however, automation without inspection can be a costly mistake.
Not all Google Adwords providers believe in VIN# advertising and that philosophy is often related to the fact that they don't offer that level of granularity in advertising. This is not a case for or against VIN# "level" advertising.
This is an article that documents that Google is planning to offer similar functionality for all Adwords accounts.
In a recent Google blog post, Dynamic Search Ads was explained, and here is an excerpt:
For many online businesses, each day you might have hundreds of new listings, items that temporarily change availability, or items that are permanently removed from stock. And at the same time, user search behavior can be a moving target -- each day, 16% of searches that occur, Google has never seen before.
So even well-managed AdWords campaigns containing thousands of keywords can miss relevant searches, experience delays getting ads written for new products, or get out of sync with what's actually available on your web site.
That's not great for advertisers. It's also not great for end users, who appreciate relevant ads linked to landing pages with in-stock items that perfectly match what they're searching for.
To help with these challenges, we're launching Dynamic Search Ads, a new way to target relevant searches with dynamic ads generated right from your website. Dynamic Search Ads complement your existing keyword-targeted ads to help you sell more with less effort.
What does this mean for car dealers? It means that Google will be able to create advertising campaigns and specific ads for cars that show on their website in "near" real-time. As Google crawls the dealership website, ads can be generated to reflect the cars that are available for sale.
There are many questions that come to mind when you consider this automated solution. Since PCG is testing this new Google feature, I will post readers of my blog with how this advertising strategy is working. I'm actually very excited to see how this works out on a cost per click basis as well as a cost per lead basis.
One particular questions I have is where will Google grab the vehicle information from? Will they scrape the website page or will they use the HTML meta tags. If I had to guess, they will scrape the page. What is VISIBLE to the consumer is more accurate than what is tagged behind the scenes.
We also know that many dealership website pages are not properly tagged so that using META data is dangerous. I will say that the major website providers do a great job of tagging VDP pages with proper Title tags and META descriptions.
Also, how will Google recognize VDP's versus other pages on the dealership website. I have developed a list of rules to identify VDP's on platforms such as VinSolutions, Dealer.com, Cobalt, etc. Will Google use the same website page rules?
Time will provide us answers...and I will share them will you!
Will Google change the landscape on which advertising partner dealers will use to manage their paid search campaigns? Indeed they will!
At the same time they will not want to bite the hand of their largest automotive Adwords advocates (vendors). This will be an interesting year ahead. Do you agree?
For the latest in paid search strategies, I would advise readers to register for the 2013 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC). Details, well they can be found at: http://www.digitalmarketingstrategies.org
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Brian Pasch, CEO