Best PracticesOpinions & Advice

Who else is doing Online Display advertising and Pay-Per-Click?

I would like to hear some thoughts and/or comments on Online Display advertising and Pay-Per-Click (SEM).  Who is doing this currently?

Who uses what company, and who is doing it themselves. At my dealer I have done some research on both PPC and Online Display Advertising. I currently have BZ Results managing my PPC Campaigns on Google and Yahoo.  I am very pleased with the results and the amount of leads I am getting directly from these campaigns. I recently have built up these campaigns to the point I am no longer relying on third-party lead providers, i.e. Dealix,, etc. Is this really a good idea, or should I still be buying those third-party leads?  Typically an internet lead from your dealer website will close at a higher rate than third-party leads.

Also, I’m looking to take this one step further and add some display advertising in conjunction with my PPC Campaigns. I’m told both work good separately but the impact of combining the two is greater than the sum of the effects of search and display individually. In other words the synergistic effect; add two and two and you get five.  What are your thoughts?

Richard Klepach
Business Development Director

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.

I'm using Total Control Dominator by I've been through quite a few different SEM companies and am extremely impressed with the capabilities TCD has! I haven't gotten to a point where I'm ready to kill all third-party lead providers, but I have definitely dwindled that list down to a very small number.

Here's an article I wrote for's latest newsletter:,b8QPHCdy

It doesn't talk about TCD directly, but more about why using SEM to get away from third-party lead providers can be a good thing.
  • J
    Jerome Jerenovich
  • September 15, 2008
Leads are Weak!!!!!!!! Buy as little as you can get away with...... And remember that there are 'free' ways (Content on YouTube, social networking, blogging, inventory distribution, etc) to accelerate your search rankings without having to run PPC campaigns. At the end of the day, regardless of how/who you use.... DO IT. You're way better off having a digital budget that earmarks PPC campaigns than relying on print ads. Good thread, looking forward to what folks have to say.
I'm using ReachLocal. I believe their customer support is excellent and will bend over backwards to try to satisfy you. I must say I am pleased with the traffic that has been generated. However, it has been hard to quantify. It seems I get a TON of service and parts related traffic. I keep asking myself would these people have found me anyway? This is after removing all parts and service related search phrases...which means people are just typing in some basic search term to find our dealership.
I think paid search effectiveness will always be debatable because you can argue both sides of the coin. The funny thing is the third party companies do it to steal our customers by creating portal/landing pages like "" or something like that. You guys know what I'm talking about.
I'm a firm believer of staying away from any and all third-party lead sources and I do just fine with units, but even better with CPL and CPS.
We have not purchased third party leads in two years, we generate between 800 and 1200 leads per month. We also cut out autotrader 4 months ago. We do no SEM. All of our advertising is aimed at name branding and it works very well for us. I have to say it is a giant leap but there really is a better way to spend the money.
Let's do a poll. What companies are you all using for SEM or are you all going the route of having only a strong SEO platform?
S.E.O. only here with handling the campaign.

Thanks for your reponse Brian. I guess everyone else is holding their strategy tight to the vest. LOL.
This is awesome, thanks for all your comments. I personally am using BZ Results. Maybe we can carry this forum a bit further. What are the current industry benchmarks? Specifically what should I be looking for in a conversion ratio from clicks to landing pages to actual leads? What is the benchmark for closing ratios? With a typical ad budget (hypothetically let's use $10K a month), how many leads should I receive from these campaigns?
I am surprised Ralph hasn't chimed in on this, he loves this kind of #$%* ...:)
  • G
  • September 19, 2008
I have been using Net Visual Results for several years with great success. They use Reach Local and provide outstanding reports, call tracking and a very low management fee. Bryan Craig is fantastic!
  • W
    Wayne Anderson
  • September 20, 2008
This may be a dumb question, but what exactly is Online Display Advertising?
Hi Wayne and everybody else! Your question has more relevance than you think!

Online Display Advertising is essentially a "geo-targeted Banner Ad" on any website offering shoppers. A good example s would be's Dealer Showcase Ad Solution. Because there is so much competition for digital ad dollars between Leads-PPC-SEO etc, many dealers are missing the pivotal "Online Branding" component.

In the very upper funnel auto buying conditions of the current climate, what could be better than placing your dealership front and center on the biggest automotive sites? And what if it was offered in an entirely exclusive fashion?

The problem created by the "Online Branding Component" is the inability of Dealers to measure the conversion of "100 Unique Visits".

Let's examine more closely:

100 Unique Visits to a Dealer Website converts to ____% of Leads

("Leads" defined as –Phone Calls---Emails---Walk Ins---Landing page visits)

Due to the various limitations of web site tracking and click stream understanding, less than 10% of dealers could answer this question if posed:

For every 100 People who visit your site, what is the % who transact* and the average dollar amount per transaction minus/versus the cost of the 100 visits?

*Transaction defined as any spend between Front end Sales-and Fixed Ops

Once this ROI criteria is understood and measurable, Dealers will start gaining traction from the thousands and thousands website visits they receive from all their media every month.

Happy Selling!
"For every 100 People who visit your site, what is the % who transact* and the average dollar amount per transaction"


Thanks for your stab at defining Online Advertising, but your answer seems tailored for a site like

There is a Heirarchy of Effects (google it) when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. The first visit to a website is just that, a first visit. Hopefully we convert that visit to a lead, but that's where this industry falls short. We get leads, but we sometimes loose site of the fact that buying a vehicle is still an emotional, complex purchase where the online visitor experiences the online buying process for several weeks.

I think to be successful, dealers need to go back to the basics and develop a plan for passing the ball back and forth with the visitor to keep their dealership top-of-mind.

Getting back to the lead within 1 minute is great. But in this era of 'Attention Economy' (where attention is the scarce resource), dealers need a plan to get back with the lead within 3 days, 7 days, 10 days, etc. Each customer touchpoint should advance the sell. This time, fill out this paperwork...then have them do this, then do this...keep passing the ball back and forth with the customer with the intent on doing some "deep branding" into that customer.

If these activities are performed, guess which dealership will be 'top of mind' when the customer decides to buy?

We should avoid adding new buzz words to the same old thing. Back to the basics in this economy. I'm talking 1960's basics!!! (with a 21st century Internet flavor, of course)


I do SEO and SEM through Click Motive.
Can anyone give their insight on doing SEM with a provider that creates landing pages vs a provider that sends traffic directly to your website. I only have experience with a provider that sends traffic directly to my website. The argument is if you don't send them to your website than you are missing out on "branding" your dealership. However, If you use landing pages your conversion ratio will be higher and you can track more effectively tying it in with your CRM tool.
Also, has anyone heard of AutoONe Media. What do you all think?
Alex, we use Clickmotive for website hosting and ppc. They use a landing page strategy and we have seen a very strong conversion rate with this approach. More important, we get strong customer service from Clickmotive in managing our campaigns on a weekly and daily basis (not just once a month when they want money for the next month.... many ppc vendors take your money, set up the campaign, and don't look at it again until the following month...).
Hey Kevin thanks for the response. There doesn't seem to by a large number of SEM companies that get strong positive "unsolicited" testimonials from their customers.
Thanks for the input.
  • J
    Jeff Kershner
  • October 4, 2008
@ Richard

"I am no longer relying on third-party lead providers, i.e. Dealix,, etc. Is this really a good idea, or should I still be buying those third-party leads? "

Richard, I think this is a great idea if it's working for you. I would also say with the way 3rd party leads have been looking lately, I doubt you"re missing much. Anyone else getting a flood of really bad leads over the last few months?

Getting back to the question; you have to decide what your marketing mix is going to be and what's going to give your dealer the best ROI. Just because all the other dealers are buying 3rd party leads does not mean that you need to be as well.

"I’m looking to take this one step further and add some display advertising"

My dealer/s do a lot of display advertising, including site re-targeting and we do most of this with JumpStart automotive. Overall we have been very satisfied with JumpStart.

You really have to dial in on your market to know if display advertising is going to make sense. Like PPC, you really want to be sure you're tracking everything and be sure that your message continues all the way through the click pattern.

@Alex "Can anyone give their insight on doing SEM with a provider that creates landing pages vs a provider that sends traffic directly to your website."

Great question - I think this should be a separate posting all together. Initially I have seen both work and both fail. Most landing pages ask for the marriage before the date while the homepage can let you date the customer but too often the date is not a good one and the customer turns you down.
I'd recommend Cuneo's SpotOn for display and SEM. We've got the capability to do more efficient media buys, retargeting, behavioral, and CPL purchases within automotive. From a SEM perspective we've got a ton of industry expertise to ensure you're targeting the right areas, words, and optimizing based off performance as well as setting up some key dashboards for you to review for the best understanding on the results you're getting and how we improve over time. and Performics both have an excellent service as well. ReachLocal is perfect for dealer's that want to get started, but should be reconsidered when dealer's are ready for the next step, and ready to be dominant.