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7 Must-Know Strategies To Selling More Cars With Paid Search

So you need to move more inventory to meet your monthly sales goal and you needed to do it yesterday. You might even need to push specific models or specific vehicles. What can you do?

The beauty of paid search is that changes can be made on the fly based on your business objectives and current promotions. It is not as simple as turning on a paid search campaign and leaving it on auto-pilot; not all clicks are created equal and it is important to setup your PPC campaign for success.

If you are a car dealership, success always equals sales. If you don’t have an unlimited marketing budget (which most of us don't), you will need to get the most bang for your buck to stay as efficient as possible with your PPC spend.

With over 70% of our PPC clients in the automotive industry, we have learned a thing or two about how to build effective paid search campaigns for dealerships. Below are the top 7 ways to find success in a highly competitive market.

  1. Know Your Buyer

Utilizing targeting options is key when trying to drive quality traffic, more likely to convert to a sale. Provide your paid search team with a list of cities that you have sold a vehicle to. Prioritize the list by those cities with the largest sales volume.

While it is easy to target a radius around your dealership, it is usually not that cut and dry. There may be areas that do not convert for you. Those should be excluded from your campaign to target your marketing dollars to those most likely to buy. Bid adjustments can be made based on geographic location as well. It may make sense to bid higher in certain cities or to reduce bids in others. 

Also important is looking at your paid search data to see what time of day you are most likely to see conversions to leads. For those, you may want to consider increasing your bid and position. For those that are not converting, you can stop running at those times or reduce your bids.

  1. Dynamic Campaigns

If you are selling used cars on your lot and you have a good amount of inventory, dynamic campaigns can really help to increase your sales. Clickthrough rates (CTR’s) can be up to 3 times higher with dynamic campaigns. With a daily feed, keywords, ad copy, and landing pages can be customized to your specific inventory.

  1. Customize for Mobile

Mobile is becoming more and more important, especially when it comes to conversions. When a potential customer wants to find directions or a phone number for a nearby dealership, mobile devices are typically close at hand. Ad copy and sitelinks can be customized for mobile by using mobile preferred options in Google.

Be careful when sending mobile traffic to the same URL as a desktop site. When redirects to mobile websites are in place, your customized landing page for a specific make/model might land your customer on a less relevant page. Bid adjustments can also be made for mobile devices so that you can maintain top positions.

  1. What Works In Ad Copy

A successful paid search campaign will be running ad copy specific to the current promotions and/or incentives on your website. Try lease offers, financing offers, cash back promotions, holiday sales, and anything else that may be relevant. For service campaigns, coupons can do wonders. Make use of sitelinks, location extensions, and call extensions. If you don’t, you will be missing out on potential business. Most importantly, TEST, TEST, TEST!

  1. Communicate With Your Paid Search Team

You are an expert on your business and you know better than anyone what is working and what is not. If you notice that you are converting more leads to sales from phone calls, or from specific lead forms, let your paid search team know. That information may lead to a revised strategy that will help to push more “quality” leads to your sales team.

Also, if you have specific vehicles or models that you are trying to move, you have the option to customize your campaign.

  1. Brand Term Strategy

If you have competitors bidding on your brand terms, you should include brand terms in your paid search campaigns. This will make sure that you have top position on the page and the cost is generally very low.

Don’t miss out on conversions from your online and offline advertising dollars!

  1. Negative Terms

To get the best quality of traffic to your website, it is critical to review your search query reports to find keywords where your ads are appearing that are not relevant to your business. These keywords can be added as negative terms, which will help to filter out lower quality clicks.

Keep in mind, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to paid search. However, by utilizing industry specific best practices, like these seven listed above, you can help improve your paid search efforts, connect with more prospective buyers and sell more cars. 

All the best,


Michelle Kelly is a Sr. PPC Consultant at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia area advertising agency.

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