Dealer Marketing: Going Loco for Local Campaigns

by Dane Saville

There's a good reason that car dealers should be going mad over local campaigns: the results. Now, let's get something straight first. There are so many variables that influence digital marketing -- your local market conditions, budget, tactics, creativity -- that no dealership will see the same numbers. 

You can, however, expect to fall within a range set by our dealer partners whose strategy we have adequately executed and monitored:

  • $4 - $6 Cost per Lead
  • $0.50 - $1.50 Cost per Click
  • 10,000 - 30,000 Interactions

These dealerships also met a recommended monthly budget of no less than $300 and up to $1,000.

If cost-efficiencies that deliver high-quality leads is your jam, let's define local campaigns to give you a better perspective on the what and where.

What are local campaigns?

They are part of Google's continual innovation on advertising products and are tied to your dealership's Google My Business (GMB) listings. As more search results don't yield a click to a website property, it's more important than ever to have a robust strategy around local search engine optimization. Local ads leverage your GMB to deliver targeted ads in brand new placements.

Local campaigns use the Merchant Center for inventory feed integration and Google's machine learning to populate highly relevant, hyper-local advertisements that are more likely to resonate with consumers and generate foot traffic and local actions or phone calls. Google is, in fact, so confident in the results local campaigns can produce that these ads are highlighted in the Dealer Guidebook 2.5 edition.

Launching this type of campaign is relatively easy, tasking you to fulfill just a few requisites:

  • Verified GMB Linked to Google Ads
  • Minimum of 1 YouTube Video Link
  • Images (1200x1200 & 1200x628)

Where are local campaigns new placements?

Local campaigns are delivered across all of Google's properties, including the Display Network and YouTube. These are now the most interesting placements, though. 

You linked your GMB listing to your Google Ads account so your dealership's ads can also be placed on ... 

  1. Google Maps, where shoppers can identify the quickest route to the dealership thanks to the ad highlighting your location as the top destination.
  2. GMB Listing Profile, where shoppers can see the latest offers and promotions (for variable and fixed operations).
  3. Google Search Network, where shoppers will see the advertisement at the top of the local search pack.


New placements bring new methods of optimization. These local campaigns aren't optimized by using historical search network mechanics, such as analyzing query and keyword data. Instead, advertisers will be tasked with analyzing and iterating on the actual content of the ad.

Dealers Will Win on the Local Level

If you haven't embraced the power of Google My Business, which is the crux of your local search strategy, you're likely to miss out on other opportunities that arise -- like local campaigns. The notion of "going local" isn't exactly new; it's just now getting the proper attention that it deserves. In a digital ecosystem where your real competition is third-party and aftermarketing websites, building localized content and ads have become the backbone of maintaining and growing your market share. There's no better place to start than your own backyard, for which local campaigns have been specifically built. 

Start winning, my friends.


Dane Saville

Dane Saville has enjoyed an eclectic career from the classroom to the classified room for the Department of Navy to the studio. One thing has remained constant among all of the changes: educational distillation. He helped co-found Reunion Marketing as its thought leader on content marketing and has spent the last few years learning from experts in all disciplines of digital marketing to pull out the essential pieces for easy-to-learn content. Dane now hosts an educational automotive podcast series, the KPI Cafe, available on all major podcast platforms.