Every customer who arrives at your site has a unique experience. If you don’t take the time to understand the multitude of possible experiences on your site, you might be missing enormous amounts of opportunity. Ask yourself a simple question: “What are the different problems I can solve for my customers?” You’ll find out quickly that the many solutions you offer your clients are not found on your site. This is the basic premise behind search personas. To read more on search personas, check out Marketing in the Age of Google.
Paid search allows us to segment data to better observe these funnels of customers and understand how they behave differently, therefore justifying the need to treat them differently. We separated Used, New and Service customers and dove into the data.
We looked for high-level indicators of behavior: Page views per visit and Calls per form submission. Page views:
Used and New customers behaved very much alike, visiting 2 and 3 pages per visit respectfully and landing solidly at 3 calls per form submission.
To be fair, the difference between new and used shoppers seems pretty small. But we’re talking an average of one less page view over a full month’s worth of clicks to all of the dealers who use our paid search. That’s pretty significant. I think the explanation for the difference is pretty simple. There are a lot of extra tools and resources for the new car customer. Build and research tools and reviews are definitely contributors here.
Service customers came in at 2 page views per visit and a whopping 20:1 call to form ratio.
The service customer showed their preference for the phone loud and clear. This is a confirmation of our gut instincts, but it’s certainly good to see it on paper. We are seeing that service customers only view 2 pages per visit.
Might the lower page views per service customer visit be attributed to dealers focusing very little attention on fixed ops?
12% is a good number, I was pleased to see that. There is more to this story though.
There is a set of keywords that cannot be attributed to a specific profit center. Things like the dealership name fit into this category and these keywords tend to do a lot of heavy lifting… they drive a lot of traffic. Because searchers who use dealership name cannot be deep linked to a profit center, the page views per visit goes up to 5. Calls per form rises to 5:1 as this is a grouping of sales and service customers.
The interesting story unfolds with a look at conversion on dealership terms however:
18%. This is a pretty big number in the conversion world. Given what we know about used and new sales performance though, I think there is a story here. Customers do their research, move up and down the purchase funnel considering different makes/models etc. During this process they are taking in advertisements from all of the local dealers. When it’s time to make the leap to leaving a lead what do they do? They Google the Dealership name, head to the site and contact the dealership. Proof.
There are certainly other stories to be told here and I would love to hear other perspectives on what folks take from this data.
What does this mean to the dealer: Advertise on your name, regardless of the medium. Too many people ask “Why should I bid on my name in paid search, we’re #1 in organic?”
Answer: Yes, the number of people who click on the dealership name in PPC is much less compared to the number of people who click on the organic listing. However, the conversion rate on the people who clicked the PPC ad is 4 times higher. To take this a step further, PPC is a quick and easy way to capture all those customers who may misspell your dealership’s name. Google does a good job of trying to correct searchers’ mistakes, but they’re not perfect.
I can only say all of this because PPC gives us the most accurate view of our visitors’ behavior. Is it a clearer window to your visitors? I would say yes.