I often wonder why certain dealers in our industry spend thousands and thousands of dollars driving traffic to their websites through paid search or display advertising without really focusing on the quality of traffic they’re getting – or the pages of their website to which they’re driving that traffic.
The quality of referral traffic they’re paying for makes or breaks Dwell Time, or the time consumers spend on a website, interacting with a website, and drilling deeper into the content of that website (without bouncing). Studies show that Dwell Time is directly correlated to SEO success as well, which can also make or break organic search efforts1. Let’s face it. More is not always more.
And we all know Google recently removed ads from the right side of its desktop search results, which makes vying for that top front-and-center ad position ultra-competitive. It also risks driving up cost per clicks while decreasing ad views in the process.
For starters, when dealers consider their traffic sources from the automotive websites consumers visit today, they should liken this experience to the news sources consumers visit today. Of course, people want to know about what’s going on locally (in this case, a dealership website offering specific information about a particular brand or a limited number of brands), but they also turn to news sources like CNN, FOX, and MSNBC to get a much broader perspective that could certainly include both local and national news (in this case, third party automotive websites that offer a wealth of information about a wide range of brands). It makes sense, then, that 80% of today’s car shoppers visit third-party websites as part of their research and buying process.2
Simply put, consumers want a broader car shopping perspective when comparing makes, models, pricing, reviews, test-drives, and all of the information they need to find the perfect vehicle. Yes, a dealer’s website is his most powerful conversion tool. But he’s missing a significant amount of sales opportunities if he neglects the importance of reaching millions of high quality, in-market consumers at third party sources while they are actively researching their next vehicle purchase.
And while reaching millions of third party, high-quality consumers is important, it’s just one step in a two-step process. The next? Driving consumers to the right areas of your dealership website once you reach that traffic.
If you are currently linking to VDPs, you should reconsider.
Deep linking often limits a consumer’s ability to find out more about what makes you tick or what sets you apart from the competition. It limits a person’s ability to see all of the vehicles in your new and used car inventory while enabling them to leave your website much faster and easier. It makes it difficult for people to find out how deeply committed you are to your customers and the community and it makes it more challenging for them to find your payment calculator, your special deals, your trade-in information, or details about how your service and parts departments go above and beyond to exceed customer expectations.
On the other hand, your homepage and your search results page make it much easier for consumers to find this information…and more.
Sure, you could overhaul your Vehicle Detail Pages (VDPs) to include this information, but why spend the money or the time when there are other areas of your website that currently offer much higher conversions for a fraction of the effort, at a fraction of the price?
If this doesn’t change your mind, consider the fact that consumers are relatively undecided about which vehicle to buy up until the week of purchase. Just because they searched for a particular white vehicle down to the trim level in your inventory doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll end up buying that particular white vehicle down to the trim level in your inventory. As a matter of fact, nearly 50% of the time they won’t3.
Stop missing sales opportunities. Reach the right traffic and link to the right pages to sell more cars.
1. June 30, 2016, Oodles Technologies, Understanding the Effect of Dwell Time on SEO↩
2. 2014 New Autoshopper Study, J.D. Power Cars.↩
3. IHS Automotive/Autobytel Collaborative Study based on consumers who submitted a lead through the Autobytel network from 2011-2014.↩
Author: Mindy Howe
Mindy Howe is Sr. Director, Strategic Accounts for Autobytel, offering the industry a full suite of high quality lead products and advertising services, including Autobytel Direct pay-per-click advertising, TextShield, SaleMove, and Payment Pro. For more information, text or call (248) 842-3101 or email Mhowe@digitaldealer.com.