Let's talk SEM

Dara Moore
SEM is one of my passions. For me is the the best mix of creative and analytical processes. Oh and I get to conquest our competitors I'm good at be, which let's be honest, I enjoy it. But no matter how good my campaigns perform, they can always be better. The ad copy can be more compelling, the quality scores can be improved, the CPC lower, the landing page better and conversions higher. I would love to hear what some of you are doing. What is the CTR you have for your brand, product line, competitor campaigns? What are you averaging as your cost per click? Time on site, bounce rate, lead conversions, calls. What is working? What is not? Let's talk.....
Mike Blackmore
I am a Google Partner Ambassador and have been working closely with automotive SEM for 6 years directly. One of the biggest things we have seen working lately are the new "Call Only" campaigns, and I suggest setting them up separately in it's own campaign. We are seeing 8-10% CTR on new vehicle campaigns - 3% on used inventory ad campaigns - 20-25% on brand terms. I will not share the average CPC, Bounce Rates are in the mid teens to low twenties. Display has always been the tough one to convert, we are focusing more on Dynamic Re-marketing and will share with you later how that works out.
R Lamb
Mike, What do you mean by "Call Only" campaigns? Examples?
Carl Maeda
I could write a book about SEM.... but in general: Bing is almost always cheaper than Adwords so its' usually a good idea to maximize Bing spend. Competitor campaigns typically have lower performance unless you have an offer that makes you stand out. If you don't have a competitive offer, don't bother with competitor campaigns. Look at your cost per sale. Some keywords generate a lot of leads but are harder to close. Integrate offers and incentives into your ads. Make sure the message in your ad carries through to the landing page. The message should be the most prominent part of the landing page. We've seen conversion rates triple just by doing this. If you're spending a lot on SEM, you should also do intelligent remarketing, which means making your remarketing campaign look at the user's website behavior before serving the ad. For example, if they viewed 10 Honda Civics in your inventory, the display banner should feature Honda Civics and whatever the weekly special is. As for CPC, it's all over the place. For some of our low-spend accounts, the CPC is around $1.10 to $1.50 because we're being cost-effective. For a really aggressive campaign, it can be as high as $4/click because we'll buy the more general keywords. And of course, the cost per click is generally higher during the first month or two. Lastly, always A/B test your ads, landing pages and campaigns. I hope this helps. Feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions. Carl Maeda 858-270-9444 x242 carl@autofusion.com
Kyle Orlando
Great question Dara, CTR - and in turn Quality Score can be misleading metrics in automotive - so I would not put too much emphasis on these metrics. CTR is obviously a key contributor to Quality Score, and that is the only reason I mention it (Quality Score). Unless you are maxing out your spend in your market, how important is CTR really? Are you spending your allotted budget each month? I find that while customers may be further down the funnel (right where we'd like them) they may still type in short tail keyword phrases like "Jeep Grand Cherokee for Sale". This user may have already determined that they would like a a specific Jeep Grand Cherokee. For instance, a 2003-2004 between $8k - $12k w/100k miles to 120k miles. OR, the user may just be looking for a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee. The point is this - we don't know anything beyond the fact they are looking for a Jeep Grand Cherokee for sale. So whether we are selling a brand new Jeep, or a Used Jeep - we would want to display a specific inventory add that outlines the Year, Make, Model, Price, and Mileage - so the shopper can determine whether that vehicle is relevant to his or her search. If its not, you won't get their click. That's not a "Loss", you just simply do not have the inventory the consumer is shopping. I've had discussions with our Google Autos team here in Toronto about this oversight in the automotive industry and they agree - CTR should not be a heavy focus in Automotive. It's just not as relevant as other industries. Good luck with the rest of it! My novel needs to end here!
Dara Moore
Robert, Google just recently launched "Call Only" campaigns. There is a lot of potential with them. Here's a recent article about it. http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/82280-Google-AdWords-Launches-Call-only-Campaigns

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