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Internet Display Ads Boost Search Engine Marketing Results

Dealers that run effectively targeted Display Advertising campaigns across networks of popular websites boost their Search Engine Marketing performance.

Display Advertising lowers the average cost per click with dealer paid search campaigns, while increasing the volume of their organically generated search traffic. The research described further below and from several other independently verified studies confirms the value of a combined display and search advertising marketing strategy.

A recent example that I witnessed first-hand is a dealer in the Denver area that elected to re-allocate 50% of their online advertising budget to Display Advertising for the months of June, July and August 2009. During the previous 12 months the dealer had allocated 100% of their online advertising budget to Search Engine Advertising (PPC). After switching 50% of their budget to Display Advertising, the overall volume of visitors referred by Search Engines (both paid and organic) to the dealer's site increased by 24% compared to the same three months in 2008 when the same monthly online advertising budget was 100% allocated to Search Engine advertising. When the additional traffic directly generated by the dealer's Display Advertising is added into the calculations, total Unique Visitors to the dealer's site generated by the combination of Search Engines and the Display Advertising increased by over 54% compared to the same 3 months in 2008, with the same total online advertising budget.

Integrating Online Marketing
Combining multiple online automotive marketing campaigns can boost effectiveness, according to “The Effects of Display Media on Search Traffic,” a white paper from iCrossing.

The digital marketing firm found that display ad campaigns increased dealership website visits from search engines by nearly 14%. The study's methodology used a scientific approach with 4 periods, one serving as a control period. During period 1 of the study, no display campaign was run; iCrossing ran a display campaign for its client during period 2. Period 3 included a less integrated display campaign from another agency, while period 4 had no display campaign.

Display ads also raised paid search click-throughs by almost 15%—and decreased the cost per click (CPC) by more than 11%.

“Running a display campaign causes a statistically significant increase in search traffic, specifically search visits, unique visits and SEM click-throughs,” according to the white paper. “CPC, which was lowered during the display campaign, also shows that targeted display campaigns help other media campaigns reach cost efficiency.”

This research supports data from several other studies, including a research report published by Google which also showed a positive correlation between online display advertising and improved Search Engine Marketing (both paid and organic) performance. All research to date verifies what has been reported by several individual dealers, that web based Display Advertising campaigns have an effect beyond simple click-throughs on the banner ads themselves.

For example, a January 2009 study commissioned by iProspect and conducted by Forrester Consulting showed that Internet users exposed to an automotive promotional ad might not click on the ad itself, but often took some other form of action:

27% Searched for the make, model or dealer using a search engine.
21% Typed the advertised URL directly into their browser and navigated to the dealer’s site.
9% Researched the make, model or dealer through social media, online communities or message boards
.

Measurement of Display Advertising campaign effectiveness must take into account such cross-pollination, not just simple click-through rates (CTR), in order to be accurate.

Charts, data and conclusions are from the following sources:
1. eMarketer Daily newsletter dated September 9, 2009.
2. Dashboard Reports and data generated by Omniture SiteCatalyst for dealers using ADP Digital Advertising to run Search Advertising campaigns exclusively, and dealers using ADP for both both Search and Display Ad campaigns.
3. Dart For Advertiser reports and data from DoubleClick for dealers using ADP Digital Advertising.

Check out eMarketer at www.eMarketer.com and enroll in the eMarketer Daily newsletter.

Access to Data for research related to this article was supplied by:


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About the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

The Automotive Digital Marketing (ADM) Professional Community website is built on a perpetually growing"Viral Expansion Loop" Networking Platform and serves Car Dealers, Dealership General Managers and their management teams, including Internet Sales Managers, BDC Managers, Marketing Managers, Sales Managers, Service Managers, Service Advisers, Parts Managers, Fixed Operations Directors and their teams. Launched at the beginning of January 2008, ADM has emerged as a valuable and proven resource for the entire spectrum of automotive marketing and Internet sales related professionals. Interactive Media and eCommerce Professionals at car companies (OEM) and tier 1 and 2 advertising agencies who want to see, hear and read what the best Digital and Interactive Marketing professionals in the automotive industry have to say about relevant and timely topics visit ADM on a regular basis or subscribe to the many RSS feeds and content syndication services available within the ADM community.

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And, do you know that many of these images are actually charts and graphs of the latest marketing trends and research? Did you know that many of these photos are actual ads used by dealers that worked exceptionally well? There have been over 4,000 photos uploaded and made available for use by all ADM members.

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Have you seen how many of those videos are actual examples of marketing campaigns and business processes used successfully by some of the leading and most successful dealers in America?

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Have you posted a forum discussion to see what other professionals have to say about the topic?

There have been over 500 discussions started and still active with ongoing comments and information being published daily within the ADM Forum.

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Did you know that many of these MP3 files are automotive marketing and Internet sales best practice Podcasts, and examples of highly effective radio spots, along with powerful and engaging dealer website soundtracks?

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ADM was created to serve as a resource for Automotive Internet Sales and Marketing Professionals working in the digital and interactive media space for dealers with automotive franchises, car companies and the associated suppliers and technology providers serving the auto industry. Both OEM and Dealer associates are among ADM's most prolific members.


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Tags: Boost Search Engine Marketing, Improve SEM Results, Internet Display Ads, Website Display Advertising

Comment

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Comment by Ralph Paglia on September 12, 2009 at 8:42pm
@Larry - Both the display and search ad campaigns we run for Automotive Avenues use multiple destination URL's, deep links to relevant forms, microsites, and pre-sorted inventory search results pages. Only the most generic brand building campaigns point to the dealer's index page, and the social marketing campaigns point directly to the community enrollment form online. The only time we intentionally point traffic to a dealer's home page or a group's splash page is when the dealer insists and only after we protest extensively... Yet, unfortunately there are some dealers who insist on driving traffic to portal pages, especially dealer groups, which as you point out is a mistake that drives down conversion rates.

In the case of Automotive Avenues, the conversion rates increased in both July and August, but that is a metric i am not comfortable using as a case study performance ratio because of the impact that Cash For Clunkers had on digital advertising conversion rates across the board... We had some dealers who experienced 10 times normal conversion rates during Cash For Clunkers! In the case of Automotive Avenues, as with most of our clients, the display advertising driven traffic converts at a higher rate based on Visitors per KBA, compared to combined search traffic... However, as anyone who has been privy to Google internal data knows, or Google Reseller 20 groups, paid search traffic has about twice the conversion rate of organic search traffic, for obvious reasons. I'll never forget the first Google Symposium I attended a few years ago where there were 100 Search Engine Marketing service suppliers there, and i made the mistake of asking "How can those numbers be true, it seems to me that people who click on organic listings would be more likely to convert than people who click on paid listings..." Doh... Definitely a foot in mouth situation, as most people now realize, organic search traffic is the lowest converting traffic there is... period. Display advertising, paid search, direct URL type in traffic... Everything outperforms organic search traffic for all the obvious reasons.

Influencer
Comment by Larry Bruce on September 12, 2009 at 5:23pm
Ralph I agree whole heartedly that multiple forms of online advising is the way any dealership should go. Affiliate marketing and display ads online are very effective when combined with PPC. The real problem I have here is 2 fold:

1. The study is all about traffic and the increase but what was the overall conversion increase? I would bet real money the % when down and the dealerships cost per opportunity when up if not just stayed the same.

2. The dealership you mentioned like most of the dealerships I talk with sent the traffic back to its random access main website where the customer had to search to find what the ad or click promised and when they have to do that the conversion rate is what we get 3% and if we get 5% we’re dancing in the streets.

Me I am tired of running traffic and not converting it. I am currently running beta tests on some ideas I have, we are seeing 12% to 18% conversion rates. This is not ready for prime time yet but will be soon, I will keep you informed.

As for the post thanks I do believe that dealers need to start using multiple channels in all forms of marketing. Will be posting a blog on multi-channel marketing later this weekend

Cya in Vegas,

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