Getting Ready for the Holidays
Jake Kendo
| 10/04/2018

Gearing Up for the Holidays

Building brand recognition in the months leading up to the holiday season is essential for a dealership to end the calendar year on a positive note. Over the past five years, Google Trends reports searches for "Car Deals" on YouTube peaks in November, as shoppers search the best techniques to get the most out of a deal for less money. As shoppers gear up for a big year-end vehicle purchase, it's all the more vital for dealers to take advantage of this increased market interest to reclaiming sluggish vehicle sales. This should come as no surprise, as many OEMs schedule annual sales events around this time — for example, the Lexus "December to Remember" Sales Event or "Happy Honda Days."

Warming up a sluggish sales season

In 2017, Forbes reported a 1.6 percent year-over-year decline in retail store visits across all retail activity during the holiday season. This trend is partially concerning considering that, unlike other retailers, automotive has an in-store experience built into the industry. Before a shopper visits a dealership to make one of the largest purchases of their life, consumers don’t just educate themselves on what makes and models will fit their need, they also think about how they approach finding their new vehicle.

A map that leads to you

Unlike paid search where you’re mapping keywords with search queries, in a brand play you want to map your ad with the content of the website. There are several methods of accomplishing this, one of which is to place closely associated topics within the content of the ad. Topic targeting is not just available for display ads, it’s also available for video ads through Google’s network. For example, when deciding where to place an ad with a strong why buy message, consider the following topics in the Google Display Network:

Topic Placements — Automotive Related

  • Autos & Vehicles>Vehicle Shopping
  • Autos & Vehicles>Vehicle Shopping>Vehicle Specs, Reviews & Comparisons
  • Autos & Vehicles>Vehicle Brands>Cadillac
    • If you’re not a Cadillac dealer, cover topics around your OEM
  • Autos & Vehicles>Trucks & SUVs>SUVs
    • Be sure to cover vehicle segments that aligns with your inventory levels

Additionally, connect your advertising efforts to interests and hobbies your shoppers are passionate about. Discover these interests through Google Analytics (within the Interest Overview Report under the Audience Tab) to create a profile of shoppers who are most engaged to your inventory. For example, if there’s a large interest from your customers around football or cooking, consider leverage placements around those topics.

Topic Placements — Customer Interest Related

  • Food & Dining>Cooking Enthusiasts>30 Minute Chefs
  • Sports & Fitness>Sports Fans
  • Home & Garden>Do-It-Yourselfers

How do you take advantage of the momentum you've built up?

Understanding the relationship between the terms that shoppers use to find your website and the outcomes will help make your business successful. Model terms often generate the kinds of micro-conversions (inventory search and vehicle views) that leads to a conversion later on. This is the good news. When they return to submit a lead, shoppers are actively thinking of visiting the brick-and-mortar dealership. And you are that much closer to closing a sale!

Jake Kendo
Jake Kendo

Jake Kendo is a Senior Digital Advertising Analyst for CDK who’s been in ecommerce and digital advertising since the end of 2010. Crafted by the inquiry, Jake enjoys continuously investigating the behavioral aspects of how customers make buying decisions. In his life away from screens, he enjoys travelling, Seattle sports and cycling around the Pacific Northwest.