In our continuing “Back to Basics” series, I wanted to review some common paid search mistakes I am seeing when I evaluate automotive dealership campaigns and reports. Right now the four dealerships I reviewed are spending thousands of dollars a month to advertise but in many cases the results are not as effective because of these basic mistakes. Here is the short list of four common paid search mistakes.
- Generic Text
- Click Path is not correct
- Landing Page Problems
- Bidding Against Yourself
Let’s break down each one.
Generic Ad Text
The next time you do a search for a specific model car, “2013 Dodge Durango”, take a look at a few of the paid ads that run across the top and along the right side of the search results page. What you will see is very similar generic text for many of the ads. How is your business supposed to stand out when all of the ads look the same?
“Check out our inventory!” “Find the Lowest Price” “We’ve Got It. Call Today”
The dealer needs to be more involved with the creation of these ads in the same way they would approve a newspaper ad or a radio script. What makes you different? Come up with something other than what everyone else is saying.
Ad Click Path is Not Correct
When I click on the ad, where does it take me? I have done this during assessments and I find that ads for a specific vehicle take me to the home page of the website. They take me to the inventory page but not for the vehicle. I have seen specific offers for a lease special and it does not take me to the specific page describing the offer.
All this does is confuse the consumer or makes them aggravated because you have inserted and extra step or two into their process. Make sure that you know and test where each ad goes to on your website and make sure that it is a one step path from ad to delivering what you promised.
Landing Page Problems
If we have created the proper click path for an ad and we have created a landing page for the consumer to land on, you need to make sure it is correctly laid out. Make sure that it is focused only on the offer or model that the ad described. I would recommend it be very simple and clean in design, perhaps a video on the page describing the offer. I would have a photo or two depending on what the offer is and lastly a clear call to action. What do you want to customer to do? Call? Fill out a form? Click on another button?
Whatever the action is, having a clean clear page that is uncluttered and focused will result in much more engagement for your campaign.
Bidding Against Yourself
This is unique to the automotive industry from my experience. There are cases where a dealership will have a manufacturers website that is mandated that they use as well as having a second website that they use for other marketing purposes. What happens is the dealership may have two different vendors running paid search campaigns directed at each of these two sites and they end up bidding for the same keywords, thus increasing the cost. I have seen many times where both of the dealerships websites come up in search right next to each other because they are bidding against themselves and costing themselves money.
If you have two sites and have to use different vendors, I would recommend making sure you monitor the keyword strategy for each vendor so they are focusing different campaigns for each site.
If these things are a bit overwhelming or if you need assistance, then please do your due diligence and partner with a trusted company that will offer you ongoing strategy versus just a set of ad campaigns package that may not be focused on your specific needs.
Paid advertising can be very effective but it can also cost a lot of money if not managed effectively.
If you have any questions or would like me to review your reports, feel free to reach out to me directly.
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