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The most common Paid Search mistake that could be costing you lost opportunities and wasted ad dollars.

Its’ Friday and I thought it’d be fun to show everyone the most common Paid Search mistake I see.  This mistake is, by far, the most common and sometimes, it drives me insane thinking about it.  Seriously, if your Paid Search vendor makes this mistake, you need to find someone who really works for the management fee they charge.

This mistake is almost guaranteed to make the shopper hit the back button and wastes your budget dollars.  So what am I talking about?  I’m talking about buying traffic for cars you don’t have in stock.

What’s worse is when the landing page on your site tells the user you don’t have the car in stock.  At least show similar cars or a quote form. Some sites do this but the majority do not.  You have a perfectly interested shopper on your site and you never get a chance to pitch them.  You lose that opportunity.

I’ll show you some examples from searches I did today.

Check out this Ad:

I’m ready to buy an Avalon and…. Bam! This is what I get:

Here’s another one:

And here we go:

Ok, last one:


What’s the right way to handle this?

Ideally, you wouldn’t buy traffic for that model.  Your paid search vendors needs to look at your inventory to determine what to models they want to drive the traffic to.

But if you’re getting that model in soon or you can trade with other dealers, you can show a quote form and similar vehicles or even some used cars.

Views: 141

Tags: PPC, Paid, Pay-Per-Click, Search


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Comment by Jeff Glackin on November 1, 2014 at 3:21pm
I could see charging per ad set then. It would be more justifiable. I realize I am generalizing and I know not all PPC vendors are bad.

Comment by Carl Maeda on November 1, 2014 at 2:01pm

Jeff, I agree.  Many PPC vendors don't earn their management fees.  I see mistakes all the time that should be easily caught. The mistake above can easily be caught by running an automated alert.

Michael is right on with the PPC budget.  An increased budget brings with it more strategies you can employ, a wider reach and more work, especially on the landing pages.  The landing pages are key to making a PPC campaign worth your while.

On the target of landing pages, a vendor that doesn't do any work on landing pages is just wasting your money or you have a small campaign.  If you think about how PPC vendors get paid, they get paid basically when the user clicks on the ad and lands on your website.  But if they are trying to better your sales, they should be A/B testing landing pages, creating new landing pages and trying to increase your actual sales.

And the homepage doesn't always convert the best, neither do the VDP or SRP pages.  It all depends on the user's intent.  With a higher budget, you can target more of the user's intent as well. 

Comment by Michael Cirillo on November 1, 2014 at 12:04pm

Jeff, I agree and disagree. If the vendor is using a more automated approach to PPC than I don't think the percentage management fee is justified. When my team gets an increased budget to work with, there is a substantial amount of work that goes into it. Aside from setting up all of the new ads, reporting on the existing ads, phone calls and consulting with the dealer, creating new custom landing pages for the ads, optimizing those pages, setting up the conversion funnel so that the consumer takes the desired action, the 20% fee in most cases barely covers the cost if at all. 

Comment by Jeff Glackin on November 1, 2014 at 7:33am
The fees are another thing that drive me crazy. A percentage of your budget is fine but it should have a cap. It seems typical to charge 20% of the budget but is there really more work involved in managing a 5k budget verses a 10k budget? No, there isn't but the dealership pays an extra $1000 for adding that additional 5k to the budget. I have even seen some ballsy enough to charge a fee plus a percentage. Unreal.
Comment by Jeff Glackin on November 1, 2014 at 7:21am
I think it's very difficult to find a PPC vendor that earns that management fee. It seems a lot of dealerships just blindly throw PPC money at whoever steps up and ask for it. It seems most who offer it have no idea what they are doing. Fair?

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