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When Performance is Measured, Performance Improves.

Digital Dealer #6, Fixed Ops Digital Marketing #2

To start off my second day at the Digital Dealer Conference, I hoped for Tim McClain of Netsertive to give me insight into service digital marketing. And while I got far more value than my first attempt in this area, there were less real world examples than I was hoping to see. Of course, just like car dealers’ efforts, the conference didn’t seem to have too much insight into the Fixed Ops marketing (perhaps this is one of many reasons that dealerships are losing service traffic). I don’t mean to diminish the takeaways from this session; I just say that as a 20-Group moderator who is always looking for successful ideas to pass on to dealers.

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McLain started off this session by pointing out that corporate service operations are dominating dealerships in digital marketing. For a fun break, you may want to Google “oil change”, “tire rotation” or “brake service” and see how many dealerships show up. Not many, right? McLain suggested planning out a marketing strategy using Google tools like the traffic estimator and keyword tool. As you experiment, you should become more competent with building functional landing pages and isolating quality keywords.  Moreover, your costs will decrease due to improved targeting. A couple best practices presented were:

  • Make landing pages predominantly “Print Coupon” type message, giving an immediate call to action – your advertisement and landing page should be streamlined to limit bounce rate;
  • Make a webpage specific to Service and Parts;
  • Maintain an 80/20 split between text and display ads.

Had the discussion kept building off of topics like these, it could have been a very useful session on Fixed Ops digital marketing. Instead, halfway through the presentation McLain passed the floor over to Sher Khan of Google Adwords to talk about Google Enhanced Marketing, which he called the biggest change in Adwords history. Essentially, this new setup allows you to streamline advertising across devices (computer, tablet and mobile), organize your focus by time of day, location or device, and provides more advanced data tracking. In other words, they are trying to make it easier to get the right ad to the right people at the right time. I pretty much just summarized Google’s webpage on enhanced campaigns, you should probably go there if you want more information. However, there were some interesting takeaways that are worth mentioning here:

  • One third of searches in the auto industry are done on a mobile device (my notes say 12% are on a tablet, not sure if this means the remaining 21% are on a smartphone or if that is in addition to the 33% of searches on a smartphone);
  • Impressions, on the other hand, are attributed 10% to mobile and 16% to tablet, meaning mobile search needs attention to be more aligned with customer’s search habits;
  • Mobile ad copy should be very specific and shorter, you must have a “Call” button (as customers are usually looking for directions or a phone number), prices should be easy to access since many customers are searching your inventory while in another dealership, keywords should be adjusted as mobile searches use fewer words, and you should bid more on local searches (again, bidding on mobile and local search will be easier and more effective with enhanced campaigns);
  • Mobile cost per click is usually cheaper, at least for now;

So while the second half of the session was nothing like what I was expecting from a Fixed Ops Marketing perspective, it was great to get insight into what will be a pretty big game-changer for focused digital dealers.

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