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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Dave Page

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

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!

David Ortiz
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
George Nenni
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.
JD Rucker
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.
Charlie Bass
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.
Eric Miltsch
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!

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