Get Better ROI on Your dealership’s Google Adwords spend
Google is a huge and complex network that offers a lot benefits, but comes with a lot of potential pitfalls. There are a lot of areas in a dealership’s Google AdWords account that, when unchecked, can cause their ads to be incorrectly set up. Unfortunately, this tends to lead to situations where mismanaged money results in wasted automotive marketing spend and ends up costing sales. And, sadly, there are a lot of mismanaged accounts out there.
The good news is that it’s generally just a matter of making a few tweaks here and there to clear things up and right the ship. Below, I’ve listed a few of the more common money-wasting mistakes that I see in many accounts today. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a great starting point to find out if your dealership has been wasting ad dollars.
Showing Ads to Customers Outside Your Market
In your Google AdWords account, there is a default, “recommended” setting that is automatically selected when starting a new campaign. This setting tells your account to present your ads not only to customers within your specified targeting area, but also tells Google to show ads to anyone else who is showing interest in your area and is shopping for a car. For example, let’s pretend that you are a Toyota dealer in Manhattan, NY. If a consumer who lives in Nebraska is in the middle of both looking for a new Toyota to buy AND prepping for a vacation to Manhattan, Google will put two and two together and could potentially show her an ad for your dealership in Manhattan, NY. We know that this customer won’t be purchasing a Toyota on her vacation (probably), but Google is just trying to connect whatever dots it can find. This is a great feature for advertisers of products that can be shipped all over the country, but not so great for automotive dealers. The good news is that the account settings can easily be adjusted to prevent you from showing ads outside your market.
Running on a 24/7 Ad Schedule
An important feature of any digital advertising account is that it allows you to decide what days of the week and hours of the day you want your ads to show. This is a great feature when it comes to effectively managing a daily budget so that your ads pop up during the most profitable hours of your day. However, I very often see dealers that run their ads all day, every day. While it might make sense to show an ad to a customer whenever they perform a qualified search, the truth of the matter is that your budget is, most likely, nowhere near large enough to be able to do that. If you spend too much money during the times when customers don’t engage with your site, then you’re going to miss out on bringing them to your site when they are most likely to fill out a lead or call your store. So, unless you have a budget that can handle it, make sure you’re NOT running ads all day, and instead focus on the times that result in the giving you the most sales opportunities.
Failing to Regularly Optimize Your AdWords Account
We know that Google has a lot of different factors it uses to decide how much to charge you for a click (and if you’re not sure, just Google “AdWords Ad Rank”). However, one ranking signal that constantly flies under the radar relates to the amount of actual optimization that takes place within your Google AdWords account. Google monitors how actively you are doing things such as changing ad text, adjusting bids, removing poor keywords, and taking other good account management actions. If Google sees that you are actively managing your accounts on a daily basis, then it will take that into account when ranking your ads and deciding how much to charge you. But, if your account shows a consistently low level of activity, then it could ultimately cause Google to rank your ads lower and charge you a higher cost per click. Google just wants to make sure that your always making changes so that your content remains relevant to consumers, and that your account is fully optimized.
As I mentioned earlier, this list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a great starting point for you to go ahead and find out if you’re guilty of wasting money within your dealership’s Google AdWords account. If you’re currently using an outside vendor to manage your campaigns, I would bring this list to them and ask them to walk you through your AdWords account and ensure that these issues are being taken care of. While you’re at it, you should also ask them what else they’re doing in your account to save you money. Remember, the great thing about digital marketing is that it allows for full transparency and accountability. Everything from the very first ad a customer clicked on, all the way to the purchase of a vehicle, can be tracked, measured, and optimized. It’s important to make sure that all the necessary steps are being taken to get you the most bang for your buck and to sell you as many cars as possible.
Join myself and Megan Glick, our Director of Digital Marketing Strategy, for Breaking Bad Digital Marketing Habits at the upcoming Digital Dealer automotive marketing conference. Register today for the 22nd Digital Dealer Conference & Expo and add my session to your agenda!
Author: Gino Cipperoni
Gino Cipperoni is the Director of Digital Marketing Sales for Dealer eProcess. He has been in the digital marketing business for over 10 years, and has worked exclusively in automotive for the past 5. He has helped a wide variety of customers, from large dealer groups to smaller independents, identify and take advantage of opportunities within their own markets; helping them drive sales and grow their businesses. Gino is a regular speaker at industry events, and a frequent contributor to many industry blogs and publications.