Drive Better Digital Marketing Decisions With Geo-Coding

How far, on average, are your customers willing to travel to purchase their next vehicle from your dealership?


For those of you out there in digital dealership land looking for a way to get absolutely buried in insane data diving that provides easy, actionable, results, boy do I have your fix! Geo-coding.

Geo-coding is the practice of taking location data coordinates and mapping them, usually via CSV file, to a graphical map interface. Or in other words, pulling zip codes out of your CRM sales folder (again in CSV text tab-delimited) and uploading it to one of several Geo-coding web stations.

My personal favorite and easily the most convenient one out there for those running their own SEM campaigns in Adwords is, you guessed it, Google MapsEngine.

Sound Good? Let’s Get Started…

5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own AdWords Account

You’re likely spending a decent chuck of change each month on PPC at your dealership. Wouldn’t it be great to know you’re doing it correctly? Of course, it would be. I’m extremely excited to welcome Michael Pistell as our newest contributor to DealerRefresh as he has awesome information to share with our community. – Kershner

How many features are you NOT taking advantage of with your dealers Paid Search / Adwords Account – that’s COSTING YOU every day?

Stop Sabotage

Over the last few years, I have worked with hundreds of dealers that are sabotaging their own Paid Search. Here are 5 Best Practices you NEED to employ right away to maximize your campaigns…

#5 Your Display ads annoy your potential customers

Limiting the amount of impressions a users sees per day will keep your CTR under control and your targeted audience happy.

Have you ever been browsing the internet and noticed the same graphic ad being shown to you many times per day across multiple sites? That’s a Re-marketing campaign created by a PPC manager who forgot to set frequency capping. While being shown an ad multiple times per day does have an effect, there’s a diminishing return with each impression you serve to the same user. Those diminishing returns will inflate your impression count and cost you money at the end of the day.

Frequency capping should be done on all campaigns running in the Display network, here’s how we fix this:

Yearly study performed by xAd and Telmetrics – The mobile path to purchase continues to evolve with more and more consumers owning and relying on mobile devices. With this increase in mobile adoption, we see people turning to mobile as a necessary part of their everyday lives and purchase decisions. I was personally a bit surprised with some of the high percentages for auto.

A substantial amount of mobile activity is happening at the start of the purchase funnel (even for auto) when consumers are just beginning to evaluate options. Understanding how consumers’ engage with mobile to make a purchase decision is now more important than ever for marketers.

Here are a few main finding from the study…

  • Mobile now accounts for 51% of time spent online for key categories
  • As consumers get more comfortable with mobile, satisfaction has increased
  • Consumers are using mobile to shop and explore even when there is a computer nearby
  • 35% of consumers used mobile exclusively to make a vehicle purchase decision
Auto purchases rely on PC but Mobile plays a large role.

Auto purchases rely on PC but Mobile plays a large role.

AutoTrader’s Social Media Survey is a Total Sham

They say that if you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. In the case of AutoTrader’s recent “study” about car shopping habits, it’s not just a matter of torturing the data. It’s about coercing the study to produce a result that puts into a negative light the biggest threat to their core business model.

Team AutoTrader

In a recent post on Automotive News, the advertising giant determined that a mere “1 percent of car buyers use social sites to shop for a vehicle.” Seriously? You needed to pay for a study to determine that Americans are not complete morons? I’m actually pretty shocked that as many as 1% of people would go to social media sites with the intention of shopping for a car there. It’s more likely that a handful of the 1900 people surveyed either misread the question or filled out a false response in order to be obtuse. Nobody goes to social media sites to shop for a vehicle.

How Negativity in Adwords Can Yield Positive Results

The challenge of Paid Search/Adwords can be quickly dismissed once one realizes the incredible possibility of impressive results.


There are many educational resources for “would-be Adwords experts” along with plenty of tutorials, agencies, and expert-trainers who can be hired. However, in my experience, the only real way to master Adwords is to dive right in and start building campaigns yourself.

Mazda Adwords Changes


This tutorial isn’t going to teach you the basics of Adwords, SEM, or any other entry-level approach to Paid Search Marketing. Instead I’m going to focus on the area of Adwords that in my opinion is the most overlooked and can really be the deciding factor between relevancy and completely unrelated traffic.

It can be the difference between generating a lead or generating a bounce. It affects your quality score, ad relevancy, the frequency your ads are shown and perhaps most importantly YOUR WALLET.

Defining A Hierarchy Of Automotive Digital Marketing Responsibilities

As larger dealer groups allocate more internal resources to manage their digital marketing investments, our industry needs to discuss roles and responsibilities for digital marketing execution.

Dealership Digital Marketing Responsibilities Chart

In the graphic above, I started a conversation in my latest book, using this chart, on how a dealer group could organize their marketing team or employees who are performing marketing tasks.

Most active members and readers of DealerRefresh know that dealerships are normally under staffed in regards to their online presence. The roles (Entry Level, Associate, Senior, Manager, CMO) that I use in the chart do not have to be full-time positions; they are roles that are normally shared. However, since dealers are in the e-commerce business, they need to have an internal discussion on how to organize the dealership’s staff based on knowledge and skills.

2 Strategies to Reduce Your AdWords Cost per VDP View

Dealers are spending more and more money each year on Google AdWords campaigns.

Google Adwords Campaign Report

AdWords can be a very effective way to connect dealers with in-market shoppers.  With budgets increasing, I want to encourage dealers to demand more transparent reporting from their AdWords management agencies.

In particular, I would like dealers to request that each AdWords campaign to have additional metrics documented so that some specific campaigns can be better optimized.  In the example below, adding three columns to standard AdWords reports can be very helpful in campaign optimization for online advertising strategies that are designed to connect consumers with in-stock cars.

Not all campaigns are designed to drive consumers to look at in-stock vehicles. However, campaigns like a dynamic inventory campaign based on in-stock VINs, should be driving a high percentage of clicks your dealership website’s most important page(s) – the Vehicle Detail Page (VDP).

The data shown above is from actual dealer campaigns that I recently audited.

Why Mobile-only Shoppers are Changing Car Sales

If you had to guess, how big would you say your dealership’s showroom is?

25 percent consumers mobile only

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 or 18,000 square feet, maybe bigger? The front façade is probably in tip-top shape, the last of the 2014s are glistening, perfectly detailed and merchandised online. And I bet it’s full of amenities – lounge areas, a coffee bar, flat-screen TVs, WiFi –  all of which help your customers feel at home when they come visit. But that’s not entirely accurate.

The truth is that for one out of every four of your customers, your dealership is far smaller. In fact, it lives on a screen that’s only about five inches wide – a smartphone. I sure hope the espresso maker fits.

Understanding Mobile-Only Shoppers

Earlier this year, we commissioned a study with the research firm Placed Inc. to better understand how car shoppers use their mobile devices during the shopping process, and to learn how mobile affects consumer decisions on dealership lots. What we found is that an astounding 25% of consumers used only a smartphone to do automotive research before visiting a dealership.

Now that’s a radical concept…