Digital Marketing is an ever-evolving industry that requires constant monitoring in order to ensure you are keeping up with the latest trends and shifts in consumer demand.

These trends can severely affect your marketing campaigns and, because of this, it’s important to understand what consumers want and how to handle your digital marketing.

Here are five digital marketing tips that will help you stay relevant and keep your message in front of the right car shoppers. Utilizing these will help you drive more traffic and sell more in 2019.

Video. Give it a shot.

I recently reached out to world-renowned digital marketing expert Neil Patel, and asked his advice for 2019.1 I asked Neil, “If you had to choose just 1, what do you think will be the biggest paradigm shift this year in digital marketing.” His response, “Video. Give it a shot.”

There is no doubt that video advertising (and video marketing in general) is on the rise. It was comforting to hear from one of the top digital marketers in the world, that video is definitely something to focus in on.

Another reason to focus on digital video, is the overall effectiveness. Nielsen performed a study where the measured the impact and effectiveness of television advertising compared to digital video and the results were almost hard to believe.2

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They showed that when viewers were shown ads across both mediums, only 45% of viewers paid attention to television commercials, versus 83% of viewers that paid attention to digital video ads.

Additionally, it was discovered that nearly 55% of television ads were not paid attention to, due to viewers multi-tasking during the ads being shown, whether it was from being distracted by another device or switching channels. Also, the study’s “impact of attention” research uncovered that 2.4x more attention was paid when ads were shown with full sight and sound compared to platforms with audio muted and using subtitles.

So, not only are digital video ads more effective than television ads, but video ad consumption has grown drastically over the last several years. Ultimately, more advertisers are simply taking advantage of the more impactful medium of video, compared with static images or text.

Dealers have a huge advantage in this space, as many are already producing television ads and promoting them. Why not re-purpose your television ads, upload them via YouTube and Facebook, and reach your advertisers across the web?

Furthermore, you can utilize retargeting and customer-match audiences to ensure you are reaching only the most relevant audiences.

“Hey Google…find a local car dealer near me”

At this point, most people have probably used some type of voice activated search command. Whether they’re using Siri, Alexa, Google assistant, etc. voice activated search is on the rise.

According to Google, nearly 20% of mobile searches are now voice activated.3 It is estimated that nearly 40% of adults are using voice search once per day. But I’m sure I know what you’re thinking… “ok, so what does that mean to me?”

For starters, it’s important to understand how users are searching and finding your website. Luckily, by datamining Google Ads search term reports, and digging through your Google Analytics and Webmaster Consoles, you can start to uncover these search queries. By researching and analyzing the search queries that are driving traffic to your website, you can start aligning with consumer intent.

Additionally, voice search results will greatly impact the keywords that you are bidding on via paid search, along with the negative keywords that should be added to your campaigns in order to segment out the irrelevant traffic.

Digging through the user search queries will provide more data to carve out a solid strategy for moving forward in 2019. Also, you can understand the makes, models, trims, or types of vehicles that users are most interested in when coming to your website.

Offline to Online Data – Making your CRM Work for You

There is little doubt that the single most valuable resource that you have at your dealership is your customer data! Above all else, your CRM is going to be your key to reaching and retaining your customer database. The question is, how are you reaching and retaining these customers online?

In March of 2018, the digital world was turned on it’s head. It was discovered via the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that millions of Facebook users’ data had been compromised without their consent.4 One of the biggest advantages that Facebook leveraged as an advertising platform was providing advertisers with third-party data, data that allowed advertisers to zoom in at a microscopic level of their target market. Once the scandal erupted, it was determined that third-party data would no longer be available to advertisers via Facebook and advertisers started a mass exodus.

Ultimately, what truly resulted from this scandal, was that the value of first-party data became extremely more valuable. Because third-party data was no longer available, first-party data became essentially the only way to reach your target audience most effectively. By uploading your CRM/DMS database to Facebook (along with Google), advertisers are able to create hyper targeted customer matched audiences.

So, let’s say you are trying to increase your service retention at your dealership. You can upload your customers who maybe haven’t serviced in the last 12 months, match those audiences (on average 40-50%), and then serve specialized service offers to just those customers. Or let’s say that you want to conquest more new car customers to your dealership. You can upload your customer lists, and then exclude those audiences, so that way you are only advertising to customers outside of your CRM.

Online to Offline – Geo-fencing zones and Store Visits

Not only is it important to maximize your offline data and use it in your digital strategy, but it’s also critical to track the online and offline actions.

In 2014, Google announced the ability for online advertisers to track store visits.5 Originally, only very large advertisers with an enormous amount of conversion data had this ability, but over the last couple of years, it has started to roll-out for all advertisers. There is still a minimum amount of conversion tracking and traffic required, but for larger dealerships this shouldn’t be an issue.

All that is required is simply linking your Google My Business page to your Google Ads account, utilizing location extensions, and enabling “Store Visits” conversion actions. Google has stated that more data is required in order to ensure that customers’ privacy remains protected and that the store visit reporting has a 95% overall accuracy (they utilize smartphone IDs in order to determine if the user has visited the location).

Another way to track store visits is by utilizing geo-fencing capabilities. What we can do is draw a geo-fence around your dealership lot and then, whenever our audience that has interacted with the ad enters the conversion zone, we can count is as a store visit.

In October at SMX in NYC, Google presented on how they were in the process of bringing this capability to Google Analytics. Currently, this is only available in beta for very large businesses (their example shown was Home Depot), but Google Analytics data was shown for store visits at the source level. Meaning, you could potentially measure actual store visits and determine whether they were driven by direct, organic, referral, paid or other types of online traffic.

Personalization at Scale

Have you ever visited Amazon and looked at a product, or maybe even added it to your cart, but left the website? And then as you are browsing on Facebook, see an ad for the exact product you were just looking at?

This is known as dynamic product remarketing and it is extremely powerful. Not only is the message more relevant to the audience, but it is also more cost-effective to advertisers as these ads typically convert at 2-3x the rate compared to traditional retargeting ads.

There is little doubt that throughout the next several years, competition will only grow both in size and in capabilities. The only way for you to stand out from your competitors, is to personalize your ad messaging with your target audience. By utilizing your dealership inventory feed, along with dynamic website targeting, you can ensure that you are always serving the relevant vehicle to the relevant audience.

Another powerful capability is VIN specific paid search. We have developed a proprietary API tool that allows us to dynamically create ads, ad groups, and bid on keywords, of only the vehicles that you currently have in your inventory (our inventory feed is updated multiple times per day). This is especially valuable for used inventory, as we are always only bidding on keywords for the vehicles that you actually have on your lot. This eliminates all of the wasted ad dollars that could have been spent driving traffic for a car that you sold last week.

Also, we can customize the ad messaging (paid search, display or Facebook) and include the details that will be most impactful. So, injecting the year, make, model, price, mileage, or other relevant fields to make sure your ad is aligning with consumer demand.

With VIN Specific Campaigns, you can reach vehicle shoppers with information about specific vehicles on your lot. These campaigns can be used for paid search or Facebook/display remarketing. By using your data management system to match specific car information to a search or vehicle shopper, you’ll be able to provide contextually relevant content to in-market shoppers – this is how you’ll win in 2019

The Takeaway

Today’s customers are very different than customers of the recent past. They are no longer headed to dealerships to find out the information they need. They’re spending all of their time (or at least most of it) searching for vehicles online and making their decisions before they even consider heading to a dealership.

You have to adjust your digital marketing strategy to meet the demands of shoppers and the marketing industry. If you fall behind on any of these trends, you will give your competition the opportunity to advance. Shoppers are visiting fewer and fewer dealers before purchasing a vehicle and, if you’re not one of the 1.4 dealerships the average shopper visits, you’re out of luck.6 You need to be the first dealership they visit, so that you can hopefully be the last.

Start with a plan and make sure you’re consistently monitoring it to determine what works, what doesn’t, and what strategies you could include that might boost your results.

  1. https://neilpatel.com/
  2. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/ad-attention-research-youtube-vs-tv/
  3. https://alphametic.com/8-voice-search-statistics-that-are-too-crazy-to-ignore
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook%E2%80%93Cambridge_Analytica_data_scandal
  5. https://searchengineland.com/hood-google-adwords-measures-store-visits-222905
  6. https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarwantsingh/2014/02/05/the-future-of-car-retailing/#7c03ccbf7d00