Only Good (Dealer Digital Strategies) Die Young

The Crappy Ones Hang Around Forever...

In the wake of the many recent rockstar deaths I felt it would be relevant to start a conversation on what Automotive Digital Marketing tools and strategies really should die this year.


It’s time we take a hard look at these long time, waste of times, and begin a discussion on higher-level and higher-quality strategies and techniques to use in 2016.  Let’s stop allowing these trends to dodge bullets like Google Analytics and Common Sense. Let’s allow these 5 crappy strategies and tools to finally die.

Inspecting Dealership Website Traffic For Unusual Click Activities

Who Is Visiting Your Privacy Page?

Google Analytics is the “Up Log” for your virtual showroom. It is critical for dealers to develop the skills needed to inspect the website traffic that they are generating through their marketing efforts. Every dealer has their own unique online marketing strategy. However, there are a set of tasks that must be integrated into monthly inspection of campaign performance at the dealership.


Recently, I have been writing about my concerns regarding email conquest campaigns. You can read the entire series of articles by visiting my LinkedIn profile.  In this blog post I will outline how dealers can create a Google Analytics segment to identify suspicious website traffic. I will define suspicious as a high number of clicks to pages that consumers normally do not visit.

Negative SEO – It’s Real And You’re Likely A Target

One of the biggest headaches for digital marketing agencies is staying up to date with what is happening with Google’s search algorithms.

Google Dr. Evil

Lately I have seen a VERY disturbing trend, that it is easier to lower other people’s ranking than it is to increase your own. Due to recent updates by Google it has opened up a whole new world of black hat SEO that is called Negative SEO.

What is Negative SEO?

Negative SEO is the practice of intentionally trying to manipulate a site’s rankings in the search engines (in a negative way).

When you talk about negative SEO, most people will talk about very low quality link building, but there are many other techniques that unscrupulous people are using to harm your website’s rankings. I will go into a bit more detail on these other methods later in this article, although I don’t want to provide so much information as to make it easy for black hat (people that practice negative SEO techniques) to take advantage of them if they are not already aware of them.

Google has been very quiet on the topic. They opened the flood gates for this new negative SEO strategy with the Penguin and Panda updates. So, what have they said on the topic?

3 Easy Things to Do TODAY to Fill Your Service Bays Tomorrow

Pretend you’re the owner of a 2010 Ford Focus that recently went off warranty. Your check engine light just clicked on – most likely due to a battery issue – and you need to get it fixed ASAP. There’s seven inches of snow forecast for the weekend ahead and you can’t afford to risk an issue in the cold. Put your consumer hat on and think about where you’d turn for help and information given the circumstances.


Now take it one step further.

Pull out your smartphone or open a new tab in your mobile browser and search for “battery replacement,” “brake repair,” “oil change,” or any number of common services consumers look for online in your neighborhood every day.

See what comes up!?

Your Dealership’s Digital Marketing Strategy Sucks!

Well… Maybe “Sucks” isn’t exactly the right word but, I promise that you are going about your digital marketing in the wrong order of operations. And, yes, there is a correct, comprehensive and strategic Order of Operations when it comes to all dealership website marketing approaches.

Supercharge You Digital Marketing

Hey, do you know something else that “Sucks”? Car Superchargers!

Building high-performance muscle cars and building a high-performance dealership website is very similar especially when the goal is getting the absolute best output from every dollar spent from your budget. I assume that everyone who reads DealerRefresh is familiar with what SEM is and what it basically does. And, seeing how this is an automotive-audience I will make the same assumption that everyone here knows what a Supercharger is and what it does.

Search Engine Marketing is the Same to a Dealership’s Website as a Supercharger is to a Vehicle’s Engine.

1.) Both are tasked to force-induce more “volume” into their perspective power plant.
2.) As they REV up whether it’s RPMs or dollars spent they increase exponentially.
3.) They both work better when the power plant is built to handle them.

Where superchargers and SEM are completely different is the stage at which they are implemented to increase volume.

Nearly every dealer that wants more leads starts SEM as their first (and sometimes only) modification to their website marketing  and very, very few engine builders select a Supercharger as their first power plant modification and for really good reasons.

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:

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.

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.