Tracking Digital Results For Car Dealers

As we are starting to get into the rhythm of 2017, it’s critically important that each and every dealership know exactly what they are getting from their marketing strategies. The only way to know how well your strategies are performing is to have a transparent and comprehensive reporting available to you.

There are some providers that try to force you to use their own analytics and tracking tools, we urge you to push back and require any vendor you work with to integrate fully with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Doing this will allow you to standardize all of your KPIs through one reporting platform. Google is the most widely used and trusted source of data on the internet today. There is no good reason that any web provider, SEM company, or other digital vendors that can’t pass data into Google Analytics for your independent review in 2017!

trust data

Like most advanced automotive digital marketing agencies, we have chosen to fully embrace Google Tag Manager. This allows us to only have to add code to your website one time. Any future scripts, third party add on trackers, and even tracking events can be setup at any time in the future without ever having to touch your website code again once it’s already on the site. This is a huge benefit when many of the vendor approved website providers are incredibly slow and unresponsive when trying to manipulate anything on your automotive website. They are built to scale, not for customer service. Having Google Tag Manager greatly reduced the reliance and headaches with having to continually make service request from your unresponsive website vendor.

Through Tag Manager we are able to track anything and everything. This means setting up A/B testing, setting up triggers and tags for conversion tracking, setting up call tracking scripts, etc. Google Tag Manager events allow us to setup goals in Google Analytics for many complicated things that allow you to easily see and utilize data from your website.

An example could be chats. As a website vendor ourselves, it has always been frustrating that we handle the automotive website, automotive SEO, and automotive PPC for a client, but when it comes to reporting we couldn’t paint the full picture of what our results were delivering in the past because of third party integrations with our websites such as chat, finance applications, service schedulers, etc. Now with Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics we are able to get a full picture for our customers on what we are truly providing them. We can show not only intent to fill out those third party applications but also how many chat interactions and even chat leads we delivered to them through our Drive Digital Group websites!

analytics goals

Our Account Managers are able to get a comprehensive look at our various digital marketing channel performances and report the full picture to our customers in their monthly strategy calls. This also uncovers very interesting points that, without full tracking, you would never know about. For example we have a client that wanted a very large “schedule test drive” button as the only conversion point on the SRP (Search results Page) and displayed prominently on the VDP (Vehicle Details Page).

As you can see from the graphic above you should be tracking the following

Core Engagements Measured:

  • Lead Form Submissions
  • Phone Call Conversions (Sales & Service)
  • Chat Conversations
  • SMS/Messenger Conversions

Secondary Engagements Measured:

  • Intent for Conversions Not Able to be Tracked
  • Car Fax Downloads, Specials Printouts, and Window Sticker Downloads

One thing to be aware of is that even if you are being provided this level of information from your vendors, are they making any sense of it for you? What I mean by that is these goals are simply measuring all conversions on the site. They are not segmented by source or channel. For that we provide custom dashboards to our customers so that they can easily see all of the above information but only as it relates to the sources of the traffic.

Below is an example to highlight what a dashboard might look like to segment all of that goal tracking only by paid search as the source. The dashboard shows all the relevant information using the Google Analytics Goal data, but only if the conversion originated from a paid search visit to the website.

ppc dashbaord

As a full service automotive digital advertising agency we use many more tools to gather data and make good decisions based on the data we collect. We are also using the Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics tools for much more than just what we have talked about in this article, this is simply a plea to car dealers to make sure that you are being provided with the necessary information you need to make informed decisions about the money you are spending to drive traffic and ultimately sell cars for your dealership.

Too often we see how loyal people have become due to relationships or habits and no one is actually looking at any real data to determine if changes need to take place. Don’t be one of those dealers! You are the customer, even if you are mandated to use certain vendors, it’s your right to get this information to be able to run your business effectively. It’s 2017 and it’s high time you start working with partners that have YOUR best interest in mind and whose livelihood depends on delivering real results that are measurable.


SEO is so Fetch!

Many people think that SEO is not as important as it used to be. However, organic search engine optimization is far from dead. Organic Search really works! Over the years SEO has changed so drastically that people really need to discover to think of it as less of a marketing tactic, and more of a branding play.

automotive digital marketing

I like to look at SEO as an investment with a tremendous return. By binding both SEO and Web analytics data, you’ll observe certain keywords having great conversion rates for which you rank only on page #2 on Google and know that you’re leaving money on the table. By Lifting your rank to the top 3 spots on the first page, where most clicks go, can provide a massive return on your moderate investment into SEO.

Every time you update your website, with its search algorithm, Google and other search engines change the way they look at your website. Things that didn’t exist a few years ago, such as social media indicators, are now given fairly high importance in terms of their impact on your rankings. Not building a healthy content profile spread out months and years is likely damaging to your business, as it is one of the factors Google evaluates when looking at your site.

If you happen to be engaged in social media like Facebook, than you’ll love knowing that SEO plays an important role with social platforms; content shared by users on social networks are directly related to SEO specific parameters like Title Tags and Meta Descriptions. This is what you see when people share posts and stories on their Wall, Google+ profile, Instagram, or in a tweet or share.

It’s important to remember that your competitors are doing it! SEO is truly a never ending process! If you’re not moving forward and improving, you’re losing ground to a competitor who are. That’s a simple fact of how the whole process works. So don’t let your competitors become more successful than you by ignoring this valuable tool for your business.


4 Reasons You Should Be Using Bing Ads

Automotive PPC | Car Dealer Digital Advertising

As it stands, Google is king. When bringing in new clients who wish to use SEM to some extent, Google Adwords is always the starting line. With that being said, so many businesses neglect a large portion of the consumer base by only advertising with Google. Lets look at 4 reasons you should be using Bing Ads as part of your digital marketing strategy.

1. Bing Has 30% of the Search Market Share
Google has approximately 68% of the search market share. That means there’s still approximately 30% of the market not seeing your ads if you’re only advertising on Google. If over a quarter of your consumer base is using Bing or Yahoo as their default search engine, you want to make sure they’re going to see your ads. automotive digital advertising

2. Less Competition
For the simple fact that everyone needs to be on Google, you’ll find less competition on Bing/Yahoo. This equates to potential customers seeing your ads and not those of your primary competitors.

3. Lower CPC’s
With less competition on the network, we see much lower Cost-Per-Click’s on Bing when compared to those of the same industry on Google. Lower CPC’s on each ad = more clicks for your money!
automotive seo company
4. Easy To Import Existing Google Campaigns
It takes all of 5 minutes to import campaigns from Google Adwords to Bing Ads. You may have to fix some small issues, such as location extensions or geo-targeting, but it’s still MUCH less time-consuming than creating the campaigns from scratch. A recent update to Bing Ads also added URL auto-tagging, so there’s no need to generate those pesky UTM parameters.

Final Thoughts
Assuming a business has a well-managed website, with an effective SEO plan in place, Search Engine Marketing is the next step to increasing your Digital presence and Brand-awareness. While Google Adwords should be at the forefront of your SEM strategy, be sure to include Bing Ads in any plan-of-attack on the digital war that is PPC.

automotive search engine optimization

Marketing to Millennial Car Buyers

The good old days of car buying, when the customers would wander from dealer to dealer looking at cars on the lot, is over for many buyers. A good example is the Millennial buyer, typically considered a person born from the late 1980s to the 2000s. These customers have grown up with the Internet, and use it daily as part of their lives.

automotive search engine optimization

Millennials rarely set foot in a retail store, they probably don’t read a newspaper in printed form, and they may not listen to commercial radio stations. They research online, they critique online, and most important they buy online. This is perhaps the most fundamental change in the auto industry in the last 20+ years. If you intend to sell to Millennials, you are expected to have an internet presence. As important is how you react to them on social media. If they ask you questions on your Facebook or Twitter page, they expect a prompt response. If you don’t have a social media presence, you probably won’t have Millennials as customers. Here is what you need to do if you want to engage Millennials in your business:


Relevancy Is Key To Paid Search Success

Automotive SEM | Car Dealer PPC

As an owner of an Automotive Digital Advertising agency, I try to stay on top of what is happening with technology and new strategies in our industry. In watching speakers and webinar presenters one thing is becoming abundantly clear to me. Day after day people try to throw buzzwords and big data charts at dealers, but rarely are they covering the basics or talking about how they plan to implement an ongoing targeted strategy to dealers. Why is that? It’s because of a continued push toward over complication, and automation to help vendors streamline profits.

It’s not that automotive SEM isn’t complicated, because it absolutely IS complicated, but when vendors are talking to dealers we shouldn’t play up the complication factor in order to dazzle or confuse. What we need to be doing is reassuring dealer’s that even though the various types of paid search are very complicated, we are still covering some core basics that will ensure that our key performance metrics are being hit with maximum efficiency.

relevant automotive ppc

We are well aware of a push toward programmatic advertising for Automotive SEM, and we are of course utilizing all of these various channels in our own Pay Per Click strategies, however the core traditional PPC of Google & Bing text based advertising is still a huge part of our strategy, as it should be every dealer’s. The thing that has gotten lost in this huge part of the digital budget is laser targeting for relevancy.

What are some of the basics that your digital advertising agency MUST be doing in order to make sure that you are getting the highest quality and volume of clicks for your traditional search based advertising?

  • Use low monthly payments for your new car lease specials in the ad copy
  • Make sure you are sending traffic to custom landing pages that reinforce the messaging in the new car model ads within the copy of the landing page. This low monthly payment and supporting messaging must be visible above the fold along with at least one conversion point.
  • automotive digital marketing
  • Make sure the landing page you send traffic to allows shoppers the opportunity to:

    – research the vehicle model
    – find available new inventory in stock for this model
    – find similar pre-owned inventory in stock for the model
  • Utilize automated bidding strategies that make daily adjustments to make sure your ads are bidding the minimum amount for best ad positioning.
  • Using exploratory MBM (Modified Broad Match) campaigns that can be researched monthly for high traffic keywords to add to your Exact Match campaigns and then excluded through negative keywords in your MBM campaigns.
  • Based on what we have seen from doing many competitive analysis for our dealerships, we can tell you that sadly most digital advertising agencies are not following these very basic steps to make sure that dealers are getting the most out of their digital spend.

    These tactics should only apply to your new car, service, and parts advertising budgets. We highly recommend an automated automotive used car PPC program for all of your pre-owned digital marketing efforts. Used car marketing should be inventory specific, but retain all of the core best practice principles mentioned above, which is why we always recommend DriveMATIC for Used Car Automotive PPC.

    automotive digital marketing


Automotive Marketing Trends Infographic 2015

Automotive Digital Marketing | Responsive Website

Drive Digital Group and Google have worked together to create an interesting infographic for the automotive industry. With statistics taken directly from our account representatives at Google, we have compiled a nice breakdown of marketing trends that dealers should be interested in taking a look at. Below the infographic we break it down in text format.

automotive responsive website

Automotive Digital Marketing Trends

The web is crucial in the automotive path-to-purchase.

Here is a brief recap of the above infographic:

Device Trends

40% of all searches for car dealers are now coming from mobile devices.

Mobile devices include smartphones and tablets.

Auto Queries Over Time

Queries peaked in summer months and reached lows between December and January.

Mobile Use

1 in 3 auto shoppers perform a mobile action while physically on a dealership lot.


46% of auto shoppers visited a dealership after watching a video online.

Vehicle Research

52% of car buyers see search engines as the most important source for vehicle research.

Good Display Network Insights

The Google Display Network reaches 9 out of 10 buyers who consult and average of 24 resources while they are considering a purchase

Brand Insights

Consumers are open to considering new brands. 57% of auto shoppers say a video introduces them to new brands.

Best Practices

  1. Location Extensions – Drive customers from search to your location
  2. Call Extensions – Make your phone ring during business hours from search
  3. Conversion Tracking – Better understand important actions
  4. Call to Action – Give customers specific direction with ad creative
  5. Remarketing – Build loyalty to increase returning customers
  6. Display – Influence customers who are in the market to buy