We all know that pay-per-click advertising on Google is one of the key sales tools available to dealerships. It takes some effort to get it right, but it’s easy to get it wrong.
Natalie Banks, digital marketing specialist at Autoweb Design, talks us through how it works and what options are best for dealers.
If you are thinking of getting started with paid advertising, Google is the perfect place to start.
Before you jump straight into pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, you should have a good understanding of how it works and what options you have.
Google Search Ads
If you are new to pay-per-click advertising, or your business has very little visibility on Google, you can benefit from search ads (these are the ads that appear at the top of Google when you search a specific keyword or search term).
You can target keywords that you want your ads to show for, that might be relevant to your business, such as ‘used cars in [location]’.
At this stage, you probably wouldn’t want to target your own business name as you are still trying to improve visibility. You may, however, want to target relevant keywords that are much broader, for example ‘Ford dealer near me’.
Search ads are more relevant for capturing leads as the ads look like organic listings, and most users will automatically click the top listing. Once the user hits your webpage, it is down to the website to convert that user, so having a relevant, high quality landing page is important.
There is a hierarchical structure to how search ads are built:
Campaign – this is the top level ‘container’ which will hold your individual ads. A campaign should be exactly that – if you have a specific event for example, this is your campaign. If you are targeting New Mazda for example, this is your campaign.
Ad Group – Ad groups sit inside campaigns, so in this instance, you will have New Mazda as your campaign, and then New Mazda 3 will be your ad group.
Ads & Extensions – Ads will be created for each ad group, so the ad itself is relevant to the target keywords you specify for that ad group. If we use the New Mazda 3 example, your ads could mention Mazda offers or Mazda test drive call to action.
Keywords – Your keywords will be specific to each ad group, so you can target down as narrow as you need to, or as broad as you need to go.
Google Display Network
If you need to increase your brand awareness, Display Ads might be more suited to your needs. Display Ads are recognised as visual ad banners that appear when users browse relevant websites on Google.
For example, we visited a website and was immediately shown the Mitsubishi banner below, which could be because Google knows we have an interest in automotive.
Display Ads are generally much better for brand awareness than they are for conversions, purely because they look like advertisements and users are less likely to click them.
Unlike search ads, Display ads don’t target keywords or search terms, but rather audience types and demographics.
If you want to target those who have previously made intent driven searches, which show they are in the market to purchase a car or at least looking to research, then you can specify what in-market categories you want to target.
When you target in-market audiences, your ads should reflect this and the call to action should request them to book a test drive or download a brochure for example.
If you purely want to build brand awareness among new audiences, the affinity audiences allow you to target users based on their interests such as gardening or outdoor enthusiast. Whilst this might seem quite a broad targeting tactic, the manufacturers you represent, can often resonate with certain audiences.
Facebook Automotive Inventory Ads
If you would rather utilise a social media platform such as Facebook to advertise to new audiences, as a car dealer, you might benefit from Facebook Automotive Inventory Ads.
These ads run in a similar way to Google feed-based ads, so as long as you have an inventory feed setup, you can run ads using this method. If you don’t have a feed setup, you will need to ensure this is generated before you start building your campaigns.
The implementation is done via a pixel which is placed into the code on your website, so ads can also show to those who have visited your website.
Facebook Marketplace will be shortly discontinuing the distribution of inventory partner catalogue listings, which means you will be required to upload each car manually to Facebook Marketplace if you want to continue to use the feature. Facebook Automotive Inventory Ads still allow you to utilise your inventory feed and take away the manual work.
With approximately 42 million UK Facebook users, it makes business sense to advertise on the platform to reach potential customers.
Where a user has previously browsed a used car with similar specification, your ad will show, providing you have a similar (or the same) car in stock.
If you are thinking of getting started with paid advertising but would prefer to leave it to the experts, Autoweb Design specialise in digital marketing solutions for the automotive industry so would be happy to help.