In the world of digital advertising, there are three primary components: targeting, messaging, and landing pages. So much emphasis is put on targeting such as PPC keywords or display ad placement. After that, the focus is often placed on the landing page, particularly with the debate over whether to point visitors towards a specific landing page or directly into inventory. Somewhere along the lines, the messaging of the ads became secondary in the minds of automotive vendors and therefore it's rarely looked at by dealers.
This is a mistake.
The messaging, which comes in many forms but with the most familiar being in PPC ads, is of prime importance on multiple levels:
- Standing Out - Have you ever looked at PPC ads? Some are a little compelling. Others are not. They all seem to blend in, don't they? With the right messaging, an ad can be made to stand out. You can't get the click if you can't even get their attention.
- Delivering the Hook - If there's one thing that bugs me more than anything in PPC, it's the standard ad format. "2015 Toyota Camry - dealerwebsiteurl.com - View current specials and see our huge line of 2015 Toyota Camry". Where's the hook? What reason do they have to click on it? Do you have a good price discount, lease payment, or even a defining difference about your dealership that goes beyond price? This is the place to put it. So few do.
- Setting Up the Destination - The second biggest thing that bugs me is when the destination after clicking through does not match the messaging in the ad. If you are pushing a lease offer on Altimas, don't just send people to the Altima inventory. Many won't assume that the lease offer applies to all of them, which means you'll get the click in and then you'll get a quick click of the back button. Give them what they expect to get based upon the messaging.
- Earning Trust - Google isn't just a search engine. It's a recommendation engine. Many people see the ads and when they are able to stand out, deliver a good hook, and set up the right destination, consumers will gain a level of trust. It's subtle, often registering on a subconscious level, but it's real nonetheless.
- Getting the Right Clicks - Annoyance #3: ads that try to get the wrong types of clicks. Not every click is created equal and there's only value in a portion of them. Too often we see vendors push for the cheapest clicks when they should be pushing for the best value clicks. That doesn't always mean the most expensive clicks, but it rarely means the least expensive ones.
There are actually more reasons and we go into greater detail on our blog post, but the bottom line is this: don't dismiss messaging in your ads. Companies will often hide behind "best practices" and dynamic automation because these types of words mean that creativity and logic aren't required. Vendors can make more money when they don't actually have to think about a dealership's unique situation, strengths, weaknesses, and value proposition. Throw out a price, invite people to look at inventory, and you've got an ad... just not a very good one.
It starts with the target and ends with the destination, but the messaging that lies in the middle is the most important key to success.