I read this article on Searchengineland.com the other morning. The basic point is this: brick-and-mortar stores that have ecommerce websites (so that they can conduct actual click-to-sale transactions online from their paid search advertising) receive $6 worth of OFFLINE, IN-STORE sales from their paid search spending for every $1 they receive in click-to-sale revenue online.
I find that to be a truly startling statistic. If a brick-and-mortar business that sells online is only looking at click-to-sale ROI, are they under-counting the return on their paid search by a factor of 600%?
The ramifications for car dealers are tremendous. If you are only evaluating your PPC from the website leads and subsequent sales that your ad budget is generating, you may be dramatically mis-evaluating your program and mis-allocating your marketing budget.
According to NADA Data 2011, only 24% of the average franchise dealer’s 2010 marketing budget is Internet-related spending. The average dealer spent $6,600 per month in online advertising in 2010.
Here’s a quick breakdown of Dealer Spending by Marketing Channel in 2010.
As you can see, while online spending is higher than any other single channel, it is still not even a quarter of a typical dealer’s total spend. I wonder if dealers aren’t spending more online because they are under-valuing the return on their paid search budgets by only tracking form submissions. I always recommend to our dealers that if you are doing paid search advertising, you should ABSOLUTELY use call tracking so that you can account for the phone calls you’re driving with your ad spend.
It is incredible that it has taken until 2010 for Internet ad spending to FINALLY pass newspaper spending in the average car dealer’s marketing mix. Here are the changes that have taken place over this decade in Internet vs. Newspaper:
While the Internet has passed newspaper in car dealer’s ad budgets, dealers are still spending over 20% of their advertising dollars on print. I know many dealers who have turned their marketing mix “upside down” and are now 70%-90% online vs. traditional and EVERY one of them who has done this has dramatically increased their sales during the process.
Generally, dealers need to be doing paid search. If you’ve had a bad experience with paid search in the past, there may be a myriad of reasons:
- Wrong Vendor
- Poor Tracking/Reporting
- Too Expensive
- Too Much Time
None of these should be a barrier for a dealership at this point. There are a number of agencies and website companies that can effectively manage paid search on a dealer’s behalf. You should be able to get call tracking as well as website lead tracking for your paid search spend so that you can see exactly how many and which leads came from your PPC campaigns.
If you have Google Analytics on your website, you should be able to get any vendor to provide URL tracking so that you can see visits, bounce rate, time on site, and leads at the keyword level. Remember that for every website lead that you ARE able to track via your form submission reporting (whether it is from your website company or your CRM), you may not even be accounting for several more.
Would you agree that your paid search is driving floor traffic and sales for your dealership?