Intro

Conversion tracking is absolutely critical in regards to digital marketing success. In order to properly optimize and improve campaigns, it is crucial to understand how exactly users are interacting with the site once they clickthrough from the ads. A comprehensive study of over 2,000 AdWords accounts uncovered some startling results – 42% of AdWords accounts analyzed did not have any conversion tracking in place.1 Of the 58% of accounts that did have conversion tracking enabled, only half were tracking meaningful data, which means that overall only about 29% of the accounts analyzed were properly tracking conversions.

Conversions are typically defined as any point of customer interaction that a user performed that shows interest in a product of service. Typically for dealerships, we can examine conversions as phone calls, scheduling test drives, contact form completions, service appointments, or relevant page views or button click actions. For Johnson City Honda, we specifically wanted to focus on growing phone call leads, contact us form completions, e-price inquiries, and other website hosted submission forms.

Solution

Increasing overall conversions boils down to focusing on several key elements:
– Increasing overall click traffic (more clicks = more conversions)
– Increasing traffic quality and engagement
– Increasing phone call leads
– Persuasive ad copy that ties into user intent
– Ad position (higher position = higher CTR/conversion rate)

First, we needed to analyze and optimize the keywords that we were actively bidding on. We analyzed which terms were driving the most conversions, and which terms were underperforming. By minimizing our keyword waste and maximizing our keyword buy, we could effectively generate more conversions without increasing our ad budget. Additionally, we needed to analyze our traffic quality and how engaging the users were once landing on the website. We reviewed bounce rates, average session durations, and pages viewed per session both at the campaign and keyword level. By focusing on the more engaged users, we could effectively drive more relevant traffic.

Second, we needed to take relevant steps to drive more qualified phone call leads. By utilizing call extensions and mobile bid adjustments, we could ensure that the “call” option would appear more frequently in text ads. We also analyzed our linked Google My Business account to focus on high propensity zip codes and time/days with the most website and showroom traffic.

Another enhancement that we expanded on was persuasive ad copy. By following industry best practices and taking advantage of expanded text ads, we were able to write compelling ads that resonated with our search audience. We aligned our campaigns and ad groups to mirror user intent, and made efforts to drive higher engagement. Also, we used VIN specific dynamic ad copy that updated both the ad and landing page specific to a user’s exact query, pulling straight from a dealership’s DMS three times a day.

Lastly, we focused on improving the average position for our ads. Research shows there is a very strong correlation with higher position and a higher clickthrough rate.2 By maximizing our bids and increasing our overall quality scores, we could increase our average position without increasing our overall ad costs. We focused on manipulating bids to maximize cost per conversion, but also focused on achieving the highest possible mobile positions.

Findings

Within the first month of implementing these changes, we saw an immediate lift. In February 2017 we recorded 202 conversions, and by March 2017 we had 355 – a 76% increase month over month! Within the first three months since implementing the changes our overall conversions were up over 60% (December – February: 642 compared to March – May: 1,028).
In one month alone (February vs. March 2017), we had increased phone calls from 66 to 173 (162%) and ePrice inquiries from 118 to 170 (44%). Additionally, traffic had increased from 1,955 clicks in February up to 2,530 clicks in March. Even today we continue to see strong growth in overall conversions, conversion rate, and reduced cost per conversion.

Conclusion

As we all know, leads are not easy to come by. As more dealerships shift their advertising budgets into online channels, competition will become even more fierce. By constantly refining your keyword buy, negative keywords, bid adjustments, location targeting, and ad copy, you can consistently keep your dealership ahead of the curve.

1 http://www.disruptiveadvertising.com/adwords/2000-adwords-audits/
2 https://ignitevisibility.com/ctr-google-2017/