Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: None

SEM to Dealer VDP Pages Is Like Throwing Money Out of The Window

By Dave Page on Feb 28, 2013

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) has really taken off  in the auto industry the past few years. With all the changes happening in Google from Pandas to Penguins and Google Place Pages to Google Local, dealers have now been pushed against the wall to get traffic to their website the old fashion way, PAY FOR IT.

This brings me to a major problem happening in the industry today. Car dealers are not aware of  MOBILE SEM to the VDP (Vehicle Details Pages) of their website.  Car dealers must realize that 30% to 35% of all traffic comes to their website from a mobile device. What car dealers do not know today is how much of their SEM budget is being spent on mobile marketing.

Our industry has been educated/or persuaded by industry experts such as Dale Pollak ( Founder of V-Auto) to measure the amount of VDP views per month to determine success. This type of thinking has paved the way for Vehicle Details Page Search Engine Marketing. A very successful company by the name of HAYSTACK has revolutionized this concept for auto dealers that want to get more aggressive online and advertise inventory specific vehicles on Google, Bing & Yahoo. That being said, what is being overlooked here is the “mobile spend” portion of this strategy and whether car dealer website vehicle detail pages are mobile compatible and ready to take on this strategy.

We tested this strategy on a car dealer using this type of  strategy below, and as you can see the results were not good!

Lets put this problem on display:

Customer goes onto Google to search for a 2012 Kia Sorento on a mobile device

After Clicking on www.zieglerchevroletschaumburg.com, you will notice the customer is sent to a NON-COMPATIBLE MOBILE WEBSITE

As you can see from the screenshot above, the image to the right prominently displays a website that is not optimized for this type of SEM, so basically this car dealer is throwing money out of the window!

A mobile optimized website should look like the picture below when looking for a Kia Sorrento.

This is what a mobile optimized website should look like when an ad is clicked from a mobile device. – Platform by Dealer e Process

Here’s The Tip:  If you want to test your website to determine whether or not your VDP pages are mobile compatible, all you need to do is copy the URL to one of your VDP pages, place it in the subject line of an email, send it to yourself as an email, and try to open that URL from your mobile device and you will have your answer!

Comments

Hey Dave,
How do you have dealers address Google's change to "Enhanced" where you can't split Mobile and desktop search ads? ... Most "dealer websites" can't convert their landing pages to mobile landing pages... This is another problem that is lurking around the corner.
Dave Ortiz
Rogers Auto Group

Feb 28, 2013

Dave, great article and very valid point. A 2013 problem, with a 2008 solution. As mobile traffic eventually eclipses desktop traffic, dealers need a better strategy.

Feb 28, 2013

Excellent concept, Dave. I'm going to wait for more replies from the community before voicing my opinion but I'll be watching this thread VERY closely.

Feb 28, 2013

I would respectfully disagree with this. If a dealerships website is built on a Responsive Platform, the VDP will dynamically adjust to the mobile device the customer is using. The URL for Mobile is the same for Desktop. According to Google, this is their preferred method for creating mobile websites. Having an m.dealership.com or iphone.dealership.com is Google's 3rd choice. You can read it directly from Google:

https://developers.google.com/webmasters/smartphone-sites/details

Not only a better customer experience, but also helps with Organic Search as you're sending all your traffic to one URL.

Feb 28, 2013

Dave - solid example of a face palm moment for dealers and the marketers providing these type of solutions.

Old School Strategy: SEM campaigns pointed to the dealership home page.
New School Strategy: SEM campaigns point to effective mobile VDP pages.

Great tip provided by Dave - follow it!

Feb 28, 2013

Doesn't responsive sites solve this?

Feb 28, 2013

Jeffrey - it should. But how many dealers even have a mobile compliant site - much less a responsive solution.

Another key element is simply grasping the concept of how much mobile activity a dealership's site is receiving - many dealers are not even aware of this shift in behavior and how to respond to it.

(There are other issues to be considered with regards to how well your responsive solution plays with the search engines)

Feb 28, 2013

Responsive platforms absolutely will handle this problem, although you might be quite surprised to learn what vendors (large ones) do not have this figured out yet! Not only do some of these vendors not have it figured out, some of them dont even own their own mobile technology which makes it even worse.
In addition to inventory, think of all the custom pages dealers create for the desk top version of a website, and how many of them dont appear on a mobile device.

Feb 28, 2013

Eric - The bigger issue is segregating mobile ads from Desktop although now Desktop and tablet are soon to be 1 target on Google Search, Search Partners & GDN. VDP on tablet will soon reflect the desktop version NOT a mobile site. We've seen that Tablet usage for searching inventory is substantially higher then that of smartphones. Paid search text ads for VDP is in itself questionable when leveraging re-targeting with dynamic pixels and a DSP has a much higher CTR and lower CPA. Making dynamic pixel re-targeting substantially more effective versus running VIN specific ads on the Search Network. Running Search based text ads makes sense if you have dynamic pages generated reflecting a multitude of similar models, that way the CPC is inexpensive and the ad continually runs while providing a fair amount of "granularity" to the consumer. For Example: A VW Dealer running a text based used Jetta Ad continually with text in the ad stating "From $9,995 A month" or "a payment" running to a Used Jetta inventory page that would be continually fueled by new Jetta inventory. Bread and butter cars, not one off's. One offs are better served being advertised on 3rd party sites as they are served up in the same fashion; in a vertical of similar cars.

Feb 28, 2013

David Ortiz,
If your website platform is "truly mobile adaptive" every single page of your website "including the custom pages you built" should be available in the mobile format. If you would like to test what it is I am talking about, do this - while sitting in front of your desk top go out to: http://www.lexusofedmonton.ca

While your on this website (in the bottom left of the toolbar, you will see a red QR Code scanner button, go to ANY page on this website, click on the QR code scanner and scan a page, and you will see this exact page in its mobile format.

This works for custom pages, inventory, VDP pages etc.

Feb 28, 2013

Comments 1 - 10 of 37

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Dave Page's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Mobile Marketing Mysteries Solved

    Defining and Attracting Your Mobile Consumer More people in the world own smartphones than toothbrushes, so if your dealership isn’t already taking notice of the impact mobile marketing has on today’s shoppers, it’s time to sharpen the focus and zero in on how technology and convenience are changing the way consumers are shopping.  Businesses across the globe know that adapting and changing along with consumers is key when it comes to being successful, and everyone knows that today’s market is fast-moving and continually changing.  In order to compete and grab the attention of potential customers, you’ll need to reach them where they are shopping and researching—and the statistics tell us shoppers are increasingly using their mobile devices to help them with both purchases and pre-purchase research. Why Go Mobile? Before we get into the details of how to define your mobile audience, let’s take a quick look at the reasons mobile marketing makes sense for a busy deale...Read post

  • Chevrolet Internet close rates

     Eight years ago we started a business development center at our Hyundai store. That store currently does a great job on internet leads. They are closing the internet leads at 18 percent and the leads from our web site at 21percent. Most of our leads are given to sales people and they are backed up by bdc representatives. Some of the lead sources go directly to the business development center reps. We attribute those good numbers to a change in the dealership that we made several years ago. We decided at that time to sign up with the internet training that driving sales offers. We also implemented a certification process for the sales reps. This process involved ongoing monitoring of the sales reps handling of the internet leads that they received. We used a version of the scorecard that driving sales refers to in order to do this. While this was very time consuming for me to do on twenty sales reps it paid off.  About a year ago we purchased a chevrolet store an hour away from ...Read post

  • Focus point: Customer retention

    There are several critical performance indicators in service however; the most critical one to measure and excel in is customer retention. Customer retention is the source for future growth. If we are able to reduce the amount of customer defections over a defined period of time while we keep our arms open welcoming new, we will continue to have a customer base that grows month after month.  The main focus is to reduce the customer defection after the warranty time period expires. It is no secret within our industry that once a customer reaches the end of the warranty time period they almost simply disappear into thin air. The reality, they were looking to defect long before they vanished. Every service visit, every customer touch point is recorded in a service experience bank deep within our customers minds. Every time a positive customer experience happens there is a deposit in the emotional bank and trust, conversely when there is a negative experience there is a withdrawal. Here ...Read post

  • Life as a Service Manager: The waiting customer

    To anyone outside of the automotive industry the term “waiter” can mean many different things. To our customers using this automotive slang is very confusing and can be frustrating as well. As this business evolves it seems that our waiting lounges are becoming more and more crowded and not just at peak times, it stays full all day long. A majority of my career being with Nissan and my most recent store I came from had four separate waiting rooms and another area that our customers can get refreshments. This design was Nissans latest floor plan and had specific emphasis on helping the customers feel more comfortable while they are in for service and/or buying a car. We designed 2 separate waiting rooms that had couches and comfortable chairs, a kids playroom and then also an area where customers could sit down and work. The point of this is to highlight the fact that customers are willing to wait at your store for their car to get serviced instead of leaving it with you. This brin...Read post

  • 5 Ways Car Dealers Can Stand Out on Facebook

    One of the most difficult things businesses seem to struggle with in the their online marketing efforts is social media. While it's not new by the web's standards, businesses have only just begun to tap into its true potential over the last couple of years. In the automotive industry, car dealers who previously questioned the value of automotive social media marketing are beginning to understand its value. With Facebook becoming a great advertising platform, on top of a platform to connect with customers and brand your business, car dealers have an opportunity to  sell more cars for a fraction of what it would normally cost. Let's take a look at ways dealerships can stand out on Facebook.   Stop Self-Promoting and Give the People What They Want When thinking about content for your dealership's Facebook page, stop thinking about self-promotion. It may sound like the exact opposite of what you think a Facebook page is for, but you need to think about how people (including yours...Read post

  • Keep Your Summer Momentum Going by Energizing Your Conquest Strategy

    Every year, dealers across the country try to keep pace with the current marketing trends for the fear of falling behind and losing out to the competition. Not only do you need an excellent retention marketing strategy to ensure customers come back to you, but your dealership also has to find a way to attract potential buyers. Not to mention there are thousands of to-do items that you have to check off every day to keep your store running properly. With so much going on, how do you find time to put together a conquest strategy that works without breaking the bank? Today you’ll learn how to keep your summer momentum going by energizing your conquest strategy. Start with Data Every good marketing strategy starts with data. Often times for conquest programs, this data comes in the form of a purchased list simply because it is not readily available at our fingertips. When venturing out to acquire a purchased list, be sure the consumers have opted-in to receive information about vehicles...Read post

  • Transforming Angry Customers into Satisfied Ones

    An interesting study has been going on for the last 6 month over at Twitter. As it was increasingly seeing users use the platform for brand interactions, the company decided to see just how much of an impact those interactions had. Users were identified that had at some point interacted with a brand’s Twitter account for customer service and 14,000 were surveyed. The results were actually quite amazing.   According to Twitter, when brands interacted with users in a personalized manner, 20 percent of those users were more likely to reach a resolution, while 25 percent were more likely to be satisfied.   And, when customers received friendly customer service interactions with brands, 76 percent of those customers said that they were likely to recommend the brand. Whereas, if the service was unfriendly, 82 percent surveyed stated that they were unlikely to recommend the brand.   That’s huge. And don’t think it doesn’t apply to the automotive industry. In fact, according...Read post

  • Stages of Brand Loyalty

    Many businesses wonder where they are at in the grand scheme of things.  While success is definitely a relative term, for marketers the gold occurs when shoppers begin to develop brand loyalty.  There are three typical stages a business will go through before achieving brand loyalty at large. The first stage a business would want to achieve is awareness.  At it's most basic, this means that people are aware that the business exists.  Many never even reach this stage!  Marketing and a logo can go a long way towards establishing the existence of a business, but the path to brand loyalty doesn't truly begin until the enterprise becomes known for something. Once this occurs, the next stage should hopefully follow. When shoppers begin to develop affinity for a company, brand loyalty is on its way to being established.  In order to achieve this, a business needs to get the customer to care about it and feel that it represents them in some way.  Smart product placement and marketing,...Read post