Picking a Fight Against Paid Search
A great discussion broke out on DealerRefresh Forums and I was compelled to comment, but then it turned into a longer story! Ed Brooks used a “tried and true” technique to engage readers with the eBay study data, and it worked. Behind the eBay story was Ed’s point that dealers should investigate the ROI of branding keywords like buying their own name.
However, the discussion did not just stay on that one point, which is common when passionate professionals engage on DealerRefresh. There were so many points in the discussion that peaked my interest. So let me address a few of them to stir the pot (like Joe) and to add my perspective.
The Dataium Study with Cars.com
First, let’s discuss the Dataium study. I like the products that Dataium delivers to dealers and OEM’s and I respect their mission. However, I contend that the entire premise of the report is flawed. I think it actually is a step backwards in in helping dealers sell more cars at a lower cost. Also the data in this report does not match my experience working with hundreds of dealers and their analytics.
The Dataium study did have great data about audience overlap and the influence of Cars.com on dealership website traffic. I wish the study stayed on that topic; showing dealers the value of being part of the Cars.com platform. That would have been helpful in educating dealers why they should always have Cars.com as part of their sales strategy.
Picking The Wrong Fight
Dealers are spending their marketing dollars in significantly worse ways than on SEM, which deliver a poor ROI in regards to getting eyeballs on their inventory. Why the fight with SEM? Why not pick the fight with the $15,000 a month in newspaper, the $25,000 a month on radio, or the $40,000 on cable TV? How well are those investments generating VDP views on a dealer’s website and at what cost? Cars.com never needed this comparison; they deliver the lowest cost per VDP on the planet.
Of the dealers I work with, they are generally spending $3,000-$5,000 on Google Adwords per store, $3,000 on Cars.com, and $5,000 on Autotrader.com. This is an average and the premium packages offered by third party classified sites raise that number higher, depending on the local market.
With that said, these three investments are very good at producing VDP views at a reasonable cost. The premise of this article seems to want to pick a fight between dollars that could go to third party classified sites that are being funneled to SEM. That’s where the study lost me. All three should be “first in” dollars. [Read more…]