Dealership Marketing

Using PPC against the dealership. Edmunds and Tier 2’s are still at it.

I encourage dealers to create a process, in your dealership, to conduct a search on your dealership name each week to see if anyone is purchasing your business name in a Google Adwords competitive attack. Adwords (also known as PPC, Paid Search, or SEM) is a fast and efficient way for competitors and third parties to prey on the brand equity and awareness that dealers have created through traditional media investments. We have discussed this before in regards to POD Score and Google Page One Management.

I’d like to show two examples that I found this week that just defy logic and good business sense. The first example is Tier 2 advertising groups that buy the dealership name as part of their Adwords campaign. I am against having your regional ad group use your name in an Adwords campaign because those leads can go to another store.

Now if the agency that is operating the Adwords campaign is sloppy, they are buying any search phrases that contain the word “Toyota”. It is a simple task to add a “negative keyword” to their list which would be your name. So if you see your regional OEM ad group (tier 2) ask them to omit your business name from their campaign.

Open Road BMW

In New Jersey, the competition is very strong for BMW sales and in the example above, the Tri-State BMW ad group is running ads on Open Road BMW’s business name. I can guarantee you that this brand attack is generating leads for other BMW dealers in the state that are just 25 miles away. This is sloppy digital marketing from the Tier 2 agency and of course this lowers their direct website leads.

I think we all can agree that since the dealers name is the #1 organic search phrase that drives traffic to their website, this dealer does NOT need their Tier 2 ad agency to get in the middle of the consumer and their website. This is in reference to using their multi-million dollar brand name. The Tier 2 agency can buy all generic keywords they want to generate additional leads. Lacks Good Judgment

Is Edmunds at it again?

The DealerRefesh community has called Edmunds out in the past about buying car dealers franchise names. Edmunds is once again running Google Adwords campaigns that drive consumers to lead capture pages using a dealer’s name. These leads are then sold to the dealer (if they are buying leads) and their nearest competitors.

Is Edmunds dealer centric or are they poaching on car dealer’s brand equity? You decide.

Would you like Edmunds to be using your trade name to generate leads for your competitors like in these examples below?

McDonald VW Attacked by

——– Pay Per Clcik Attack on Dealers

Brian, Don't get me wrong, I can't stick up for any vendor, manufacturer, ad association or partner buying a dealer's name, but I have to question if that is the case with the Tri-State BMW agency.

When I run the same search from my office (in Massachusetts) the ad in the same page location is for the Massachusetts BMW ad association. It's keying off my IP, not the dealer name. Could the Tier 2 agency simply be bidding on 'BMW' rather than the dealer name?

I sure won't make any excuses for Edmunds.
I'm glad you put this article together Brian. It has been a while since we last visited Tier 2 Pay Per Click advertising campaigns on dealership names. I originally came across this with Pivec buying "Checkered Flag Toyota" years ago. Checkered Flag was buying the term "Checkered Flag Toyota" so there was some competition there. We asked Pivec to stop, and they did.

Today, I think many of the OEM's ask Tier 2 agencies to conduct this practice (if they are still in fact buying the dealership name) because so many dealers are still not engaged in Paid Search advertising. In those cases I would prefer to see education and co-op programs, but it still seems the digital advertising legs of the OEM dealership programs haven't received the same authority the traditional media side has.

As for old article still stands as long as they're still taking business from their clients on those clients' own names. It is complete theft. The last time this came up Edmunds said they would only do this if the dealer's name contained a regional keyword in it. I haven't looked yet, but is McDonald a place? If so, why is Edmunds spelling it MC Donald? I'd like to give Edmunds the benefit of the doubt (since we are talking about robbery) and believe that they are sticking to their mended terms, from the last DealerRefresh article, and just have a technical glitch today.

And yes Brian, a process for watching these things is needed in every dealership. It isn&#039;t that hard and only needs to be done once a week for maybe 10 minutes. Here are some things to help in that effort: <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>

Whatever terms they are buying they should add negative keywords to the campaign so that IF a consumer is looking for the dealership and uses their name, the Tier 2 ad would not show.
I&#039;ll certainly give you that. I guess my point is that they were more lazy than evil. They certainly could have entered 350 (the approximate number of BMW dealers in America) negative phrases and didn&#039;t.

And while I&#039;m guessing the number of clicks on the Tier 2 PPC ad - when a search is done for a dealer name - is extraordinarily small, I agree there shouldn&#039;t be any.
Dealers reading this post here a are a couple of things you can do:

1. If you have a somewhat unique dealership name (not one associated with your town or area) if you haven&#039;t already trademarked your name do so then submit to google and google will not allow your name to be bought as a keyword. Trade marking your name is about a $1000 onetime thing.

2. Ask your attorney to draw up a from letter from him that you can fill in the name of the entity buying your name and send these letters to the companies doing so. In many cases just the letter will make them stop for a while. This is more work than one but both are inexpensive ways to keep people off your name.

Finally how big is that leak really? Before you spending any money on any type of reputation management or protecting your name like this look at the cost benefit and understand how this is going to help in relationship to the money you&#039;re being asked to spend. In most cases particularly the cases above the likelihood is that the leak isn&#039;t worth the spend.

When someone types in your name their intent is to find your store it isn&#039;t likely that Edmunds or anyone else is going to write a compelling enough ad to get them to click and even less likely they will convert when they get there.
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  • July 8, 2011
I think that edmunds is poaching on the dealers brand name.  I am sure they do it.