In the past, AutoTrader and Carfax popularized selling cars online, but today dealerships have the power to connect with their customers directly via digital media. While it’s important for your dealership to boast an active social media presence and frequently updated blog, these alone may not be enough to stimulate growth.
By paying for digital ads, car dealerships can expand their reach, improve customer engagement, and generate valuable leads.
Most advertising platforms, including Google AdWords, offer a number of customizable settings to better pinpoint your ad targeting. Facebook ads offer some of the most detailed targeting options around regarding gender, age, and region, plus they offer behavioral analysis data, which is critical to auto dealers.
Facebook allows you to specifically target “New vehicle shoppers” in your market, to see who is planning to purchase a vehicle within the next 90 to 180 days.
Facebook works with several data mining partners who collect this user data based on past purchases, surveys, and geographic location. Once you find a prospect in the marketing for a purchase, you can target that user based on Facebook’s low cost per clicks (CPCs), oftentimes under $1.
Image is everything. According to Hubspot, content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without them. And most car buyers want to see their dream car, meaning the picture or video you use in your ad could be the deciding factor in whether or not you qualify a lead.
Just make sure your visual content is presented in a way that flatters your vehicle: Use a professional camera, edit in a photo enhancement program like Adobe Photoshop, and be sure to upload with the highest possible resolution.
Using powerful videos in your digital ads is paramount, given that nearly half of the internet population responds better to visual information over plain text. On Facebook alone, brands that post videos and images see a 65% increase in engagement, which is a statistic destined to increase in the coming years.
Ad spending within the U.S. auto industry is up nearly 20% from 2015, but it doesn’t mean that PPC advertising is becoming prohibitively expensive for dealers. Most platforms will let you manually define a budget and specify your goals, while offering features to monitor your campaigns.
The increased demand for automotive digital ads has prompted industry specific PPC management companies to spring up, providing more detailed campaign options at more affordable prices.
Online advertising is equal parts seeing what works and learning what doesn’t work. Diligent analysis is required to ensure campaign and budgetary success.
Google Analytics is a valuable tool for tracking customer engagement on ads, identifying missteps along your sales funnel, and identifying how your users are seeing your ads (mobile/desktop). There are a number of other digital marketing tools to track your campaigns success, but Google Analytics is free—and integrates with Google Adwords—should you decide to move some of your budget from social media marketing to search engine marketing.
Car buying is no longer a localized activity thanks to the internet. Shoppers may sift through hundreds of vehicle listings. But once they notice the best overall value on a vehicle, they tend to be sold, regardless of location.
This is perhaps the most vital reason for a dealership to create a digital advertising campaign: to be seen by as many prospects as possible in order to achieve maximum ROI.
With heaps of vehicle listings across the internet, why limit your dealership to social media alone? Digital advertising is not only affordable, but it provides dealerships more precise targeting for better leads. After all, auto buyers are 71% more likely to be influenced by digital ads across multiple retail categories than the average consumer.
What are you waiting for?
Michael Peggs is the founder of Marccx Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships in the United States and Asia. He is also a contributor to The Huffington Post, FastCompany, and Business Insider as well as a podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy Podcast You University.
Latest posts by Michael Peggs
- Why Your Dealership Should Be Creating Digital Ads Today - November 2, 2016