With over 179 billion U.S. dollars generated in 2016, it’s no surprise that the U.S. is a global leader in the advertising industry, followed by China, which generated 53 billion U.S. dollars. Within the list of high spending advertisers within the U.S., automotive companies rank high on that list, including brands like General Motors and Ford Motor Company.
Digital ads have come a long way since they started. Just within the automotive industry in 2016, the investment for ads grew by 22%. As they continue to rise, the investment is quite likely to increase by another 17% in 2017. It’s predicted that the automotive industry in the U.S. will spend roughly 3.96 billion U.S. dollars on digital advertisements. That figure will round to a 33% increase from 2015’s advertising spending in the automotive industry. From there on, it’s only expected to keep increasing.
Consumers spend roughly six hours on digital media channels per day. The move to digital means that, on average, dealerships spend around 63% of their marketing budgets on online and digital advertisements. Nowadays, if companies want to survive in the marketplace, they must have an online presence. Without that, it can be quite difficult for prospective consumers to gravitate towards your shop or dealership.
Solely having a social media presence and a website is not enough. It’s imperative for you to entice prospective online ‘shoppers’ that you can turn into your customers. Through display ads, dealerships can connect in-market shoppers to their own websites. It’s the most efficient way to bring these in-market shoppers to come into your sales funnel and switch them to buyers.
Just over a decade ago, the main form of advertising for automotive dealerships was newspapers. Sadly, newspapers won’t cut it out anymore as it loses popularity. So, how can you, as an automotive dealership, benefit from digital ads? And how can you use these ads to increase your revenue and customer base? We’ll be going through the four steps to get your dealership further than your competitors.
Stage One: Link Business Goals to Digital Advertisements
Regardless of what you invest in, they should correlate with what your end business goals are. So, investments in your marketing strategies should connect with your sales objectives. Each business and dealership has their own strategies and goals, which means that not all metrics will work for their goals.
It’s also important to have a website that is mobile friendly. The website should also work on a range of devices. A responsive site is easy to navigate, regardless of the screen size, and loads quickly.
The first step is to find out what metrics will work for you and make the most sense overall. These can include:
- Direction and map page views
- VDP views
- SRP views
- Lead form submissions
- Ad impressions
- Website visits
After you have the metrics in place, it’s time for you to see which pages have the highest levels of engagement. You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions while looking at the data from the display ads.
- What do visitors do before they complete a separate low-funnel or submit a lead form?
- Which pages do visitors occupy the most time on?
- Which pages are visitors clicking on?
Stage Two: Connect with Ideal Advertising Partners
The most success for your marketing plan will come by pairing with other sites that are known to drive shoppers. The first step is to identify these channels by comparing them with one another. The best way to find out their actual data is to ask them to provide performance metrics through third party companies that will be unbiased.
Some metrics to keep in mind for comparing companies include the number of return visits to the vendor’s website, number of unique visits, average time spent, and the average number of daily visits.
The second step is to optimize your mobile presence. Roughly 84% of searches regarding a dealership’s operating hours occur through smartphones. The high percentage shows the importance of having a responsive site. It’s important to ask your advertising partners about topics relating to mobiles. These topics can include engagement levels of the mobile users, traffic percentage that is brought from mobile devices, and the number of visits that are from mobile users per month.
The third step is to opt for high trackable channels. This will ensure that you will have a better attribution and improve your cost efficiency. The best way to do this is by focusing your marketing budgets on channels that will enable you to track your spending and your results.
Stage Three: Create Engaging and Attractive Designed Ads
If you just have advertising channels that perform well but lack the attention-grabbing advertisements – then you won’t garner favorable results. It’s imperative to design ads that are visually compelling for the in-market shoppers. Advertisements that are visually strong, garner a higher level of engagement. To ensure that you’re receiving the highest results possible, ensure that your ads are aesthetically pleasing, regardless of whether you hire a freelancer or use an in-house design team.
With high-quality cameras and resolutions that are seemingly everywhere, it’s important for you to upload high-quality vehicle photos. By displaying photos of your vehicles in your display ads, it gives a higher likelihood that these in-market shoppers will enter your site. Use the three-quarter angle to place your vehicle in the best lighting. It’s also vital that you keep your background consistent.
Implement strong calls to action so that you’re driving the shoppers to your dealership’s website. If you’re offering any savings, deals, or offers, it’s important you guide the users to click through to learn more about the offers.
Concise and clear advertisements allow the users to focus immediately on the important pieces. Dealerships should not use any more than 70 characters for their display ads. It’s recommended that you test different variations of display ads to see which ones garner the highest engagement levels.
Stage Four: Measure the Performance of Your Advertisements
It’s all good and done if you’ve done all the stages and steps above, but if you do not gauge how well your ads perform, then you won’t know where you should improve. Dealerships should maximize their impressions, as those give them an idea of how many people have seen their advertisements. The best way to gain customers is to show ads to qualified shoppers, but the best way to get your ad across to as many people as possible is to use advertising partners who have a hefty audience.
Though digital ads are taking up most of the dealerships marketing budgets, it’s still important to keep an eye on your spending. Digital advertisers usually spend through cost/1,000 impressions, CPM, per-conversion, or per-click basis. To keep your spending within your budget, dealerships should adjust their target options, which are typically body style, Geo-targeting, vehicle make, and vehicle model.
Finally, it’s recommended that dealerships continue to track how their ads engage their potential customers through the click-through rates of their display ads. To optimize the click-through rate, dealerships can ensure that their advertisements appear on the websites that their target audience is likely to visit.
By putting your audience reach and engagement levels as focal points, dealerships will be better equipped to build a successful digital advertising marketing strategy.