Do You Think Google Adwords Is Expensive?

Dealer principals and general managers are constantly looking to improve the return on investment (ROI) of their marketing budgets. Dealers can invest in branding campaigns or “traffic now” campaigns, but before a consumer drives over the curb with a new or used vehicle, most will visit your dealership website at least once.


With this in mind, unique visitor traffic to your website can be a proxy for sales. Determining which investments are influencing traffic to a dealer’s website in the past has been sketchy, but new analytic tools are making that much easier to calculate.


Since dealers now have the ability to dissect website traffic and influence, they can also start to attribute costs to drive a unique visitor to their website. The day is coming where all our digital investments will have near direct ROI tracking.


I’ve created an Excel spreadsheet that helps dealers break out their advertising costs into online shopper behavior, introduced by Google thought leader Jim Lecinski in his book, Winning The Zero Moment of Truth. The spreadsheet has helped hundreds of dealers analyze their current advertising strategy with a new set of eyes.


Dealers who would like a free copy of this planning spreadsheet, should send a request to Once it is completed, you will start to see which investments are truly the most expensive.


Dealers who enter their marketing and advertising investments from the previous month will start to see the costs of driving traffic to their website from traditional media (radio, TV, print, billboards), SEO, SEM, email, and social media. Google Analytics reports can also help fine-tune the exact costs so get a copy from last month as well.


One of the biggest revelations for most dealers will be that Adwords may be the least expensive way to drive qualified visitors to their website. On average, dealers spend about two dollars per click in Google Adwords, to drive a visitor to their website.


For a majority of dealers, the Excel spreadsheet shows that traffic driven from traditional media costs $14 – $20 per unique visitor. This is seven to ten times more expensive than Google Adwords!


Aside from cost-per-visitor, Google Adwords allows traffic to be directed to optimized website pages that match with the keywords the consumer is using to research a car, service, or the dealership. Traditional media normally directs traffic to the website homepage where conversion can rarely be optimized.


With this type of ROI, you would wonder why 30-50 percent of dealers I meet at 20 Group meetings or conferences do not use Google Adwords as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy.


I’ve come to understand that dealers just need to better understand pay-per-click technology and strategy. Once they are introduced to the potential of proactively engaging consumers during the Zero Moment of Truth, when they are searching using “broad” keywords, their faces light up.


If your dealership has been avoiding using Adwords, it’s time revisit that decision and explore the many advertising formats available. Google Adwords include text, banner, maps, and mobile ad formats. And don’t forget to get a quick refresher on retargeting in the Google Display Network (GDN). Retargeting can help you reconnect with your existing website visitors to increase brand recognition and “be-back” traffic.


Brian Pasch is the CEO of PCG Digital Marketing. For more information, please call 732-672-2356 or visit






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