Decision 2016 is fast approaching in the United States. Before we know it, television advertisements will be dominated by political campaigns, and print advertisements in newspaper and magazines will follow suit. Although they may not realize it now, dealers across the country will soon feel the impact of the upcoming election. Prior to the election, costs for ad space will skyrocket, and budget-friendly options will be limited.
Because media in general is pricey and requires time and effort, dealers need to make the most of their advertising spend. Not only will ads become more expensive, but peoples’ attention spans will shorten. Therefore, dealers have no time to waste—if they’re paying for ad space in any form, the ads they’re serving need to be relevant, not just flashy.
Every year, dealers shift more of their ad budgets from traditional to digital, and 2016 will be no exception. To prepare for the coming year, dealers must prioritize a digital strategy that incorporates display advertising, a mobile approach, and search engine marketing and optimization (SEM/SEO). By adopting a multifaceted approach to their digital marketing strategy, dealers can ensure their businesses will stand out in a crowded and expensive ad space.
Why spend a premium on a small, static advertisement in your city’s newspaper when you can serve your target audience engaging, relevant advertisements personalized on a per-user basis? Online display advertising is easy to implement, and a little bit goes a long way spending-wise.
An added bonus is that with the right technology, display ads can be personalized down to color, model, and trim based on the preferences of your lowest-funnel buyer. When browsing online, car shoppers don’t want to see irrelevant ads, and dealers can ensure this won’t happen by using a digital strategy.
Contrast this to political ads: Politicians run vague attack ads, but dealers can use a digital solution to serve ads buyers actually want to see. These digital ads aren’t limited to the side of a Web page. By serving advertisements that appear before and within online videos, dealers can achieve results similar to those of a television ad for a far lower price.
Although television ad costs stay the same no matter who sees the ad, display ads appearing before online videos are often paid for only when a viewer sees them. These ads can and should be personalized. Currently, 43% of online car shoppers learn more about a prospective car via online video.
Half of Google searches are done via mobile, and mobile accounts for more than 50% of automotive inquiries. Car shoppers are clearly on the go when researching vehicles or making price comparisons, and dealers must have a mobile presence on cell phones if they want consumers to remember them during the purchase cycle.
With the right digital solution, dealers can focus on mobile boosting, geotargeting, and location bid adjustment. Dealers can execute geotargeted mobile ads and focus on certain zip codes where shoppers have the highest probability of converting.
Overall, dealers must make it their goal to capture the lowest-funnel buyers in the area where they’re going to sell the most cars. By doing so digitally, dealers will serve the right ads to the right consumers at the right time via mobile.
Improve search ranking
Dealers who still want to spend the time and money on traditional advertising (print, radio, TV, etc.) must make sure their SEO/SEM strategies are in top shape. Consider the following scenario.
A consumer in the market for a car sees an ad on TV for a local dealership’s newest Ford model. This traditional media advertising drives the shopper to undertake online research about the vehicle. While searching online for that particular Ford, the consumer sees ads for another dealership that has made the investment to achieve a better Google ranking than the TV ad’s dealership. If a dealer spends on television ads but doesn’t show up in a simple Google search, that dealer is essentially giving business to another dealership.
To improve their search rankings, dealers must execute a digital solution. By serving online car shoppers relevant ads and equally relevant landing pages when consumers click those ads, dealers boost their search ranking and gain more leads overall.
Dealers can also bid on keywords that correspond with the car models they’re advertising on TV, and target the geographic markets where their ads are being shown. Timing is also important—dealers can bid at certain times of the day when more people search for cars while on the lot, or later in the day, when their nearby competitors are out of ad spend.
For those who aren’t already doing so, 2016 is the year for dealers to go digital. By implementing a proper display advertising strategy while also focusing on mobile and search, dealers can counter inflated ad rates during this upcoming election year while still achieving their business goals.
Jeremy Anspach is the CEO of PureCars, a digital advertising platform designed exclusively for the automotive industry. Armed with the industry’s most extensive data library, Jeremy founded PureCars in 2007. A Detroit native and renowned industry speaker, his drive and passion has led PureCars to become one of only seven automotive Google Premier SMB Partners, powering digital for over 3,000 dealers across the country.0
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