The car dealership calendar is unique. Dealers juggle their monthly goals with specialized events throughout the year – from summer promotions to model year-end events.
But what about the digital calendar? Looking at search query data and numerous other metrics it’s beginning to become clearer where, when, and how people are shopping for cars. This is particularly true in the fall season, when new models begin to arrive and dealers prepare for the holidays.
Pulled from data across the Dealer.com network as well as from Google and other digital partners, here are four display advertising tips for dealers’ fall campaign strategy.
1. Focus ad investment where it’s most relevant: on the websites car shoppers trust.
After paid search and retargeting investment, dealers should target in-market car shoppers by reaching them on a premium network of trusted automotive research sites like Car and Driver, Motor Trend, and NADA Guides. According to Jumpstart Automotive Group, 79 percent of visitors to these websites will buy a car within the next six months.
Campaigns that run on these sites target only local shoppers within a specific radius of a dealership’s zip code. Other than showing ads to shoppers after they have searched Google using specific keywords that indicate intent, this is the next most efficient way to target active shoppers in dealers’ local communities.
2. “Display” your new models.
Direct new model campaigns at premium research sites. Here’s why: A person shopping for a Honda Accord, for example, may feel like he or she knows that vehicle. The Accord’s reputation is fairly cemented in consumers’ minds. Additional research about this specific car may not be necessary. But it would be helpful for that shopper to know that there have been big design changes for other vehicles in a similar range, such as the Chrysler 200, Subaru Legacy, or Ford Fusion.
Same thing could apply for the Chevy Silverado shopper who would probably want to take a look at the redesigned Ford F-150 before making his or her final decision. Display ads that feature new vehicles on the research pages of competitors’ models can garner the attention, and change the minds, of in-market shoppers.
3. Think local.
October marks the beginning of holiday shopping. As the greatest spending season of the year approaches, shoppers will begin researching online and heading into stores to make their purchase. While early holiday shoppers begin checking out local stores and researching inventory, now is an optimal time to localize campaigns with specific geo-targeting rules to ensure shoppers are seeing dealership ads in their community. Dealers can dial in their digital targeting even further by providing a list of zip codes that they regularly use in direct mail efforts. As dealerships reach more of their local in-market shoppers, campaigns need to be optimized not just for clicks but also for vehicle display page views and lead conversions.
4. Complement print and TV ads.
Digital advertising is also a great way to bridge the gap between Tier 1 television/radio messaging and online campaigns. After local shoppers see and hear TV and radio advertising, they’re met with display ads on the sites they browse to research a new car purchase, read up on football game previews, scope real estate listings, or view the latest weather forecast – ads that drive them to dealer websites. Dealerships should align their campaigns with the OEMs who are investing heavily in the local market, getting the customers who have become interested in a particular brand to associate it with a specific dealership.
There’s plenty of year left to get local shoppers onto dealer websites. Take advantage of these display advertising tips now to help meet, and exceed, Q4 sales goals, and make room for 2016’s incoming inventory.