Dane Odden
| 29 April 2016

Prepare for Summer Success with a Spring Cleaning

Last year, more cars were sold in the months of May – August than any other four-month period, accounting for over 35 percent of yearly vehicle sales.1 Now is the time to roll up your sleeves and clean up your digital advertising strategy in preparation for the summer selling season!

Toss out the clutter in your paid search strategy

A recent Google study shows that one auto shopper alone can perform over 130 searches when considering a vehicle purchase2 – so it’s no surprise that paid search is a great way to drive highly engaged traffic to your website.

But is your paid search strategy reaching the right customers?

Paid search strategies are built on keywords, or common consumer search phrases, that trigger ads from relevant advertisers. For example, a consumer may search “Honda dealership near me” and receive ads for local Honda dealerships. But what if a consumer searches “Honda diecast cars”? This consumer is searching for toys, not Honda’s 2016 sedan lineup. If this consumer clicks on your ad, it could cost you $3-$5 – only to have them leave your site when they don’t find collectable toy cars.

It’s important to regularly review your Google Search Terms Report to help you identify traffic driven by searches where the consumer’s intent is outside your dealership goals.

  • Work with your advertising partner to review these terms to discover what works … and what wastes.
  • Filter out irrelevant searches by adding negative keywords. In the example above, adding a negative keyword term for “diecast” would eliminate the possibility of your ads showing whenever the word “diecast” appears in a consumer’s search.
  • Repeat this process with your top 100 search terms, asking yourself, “Does this person want to buy a car?”


Don’t forget to scrub the data



One of the inherent advantages of digital advertising is the ability to track almost everything. Tracking everything is great, but you could waste a lot of time focused on metrics that have little impact on performance. Level the playing field between channels by focusing on engagement metrics such as inventory searches, vehicle detail page (VDP) views, phone calls, etc. This means tracking website interactions AFTER they click an ad – paid search, display, retargeting, other – to determine whether or not your advertising is reaching active, ready-to-buy shoppers. Then, allocate advertising budget based on what is driving the best engagement.


What you don’t want to do is waste money in channels that aren’t producing results.

Make sure you monitor performance and move budget, in real time. That way you don’t over-bid in Google when there are equally engaged shoppers on Bing, or miss out on opportunities to retarget customers toward the end of the month. Locking budget into a single advertising channel can lead to overpaying for traffic, and wasted advertising dollars, especially when changes like Google made to their search results page could drive up costs in the middle of a month

Now you can breathe easy

Taking a few steps (and a couple of minutes) to clean up your paid search campaigns and scrub your constant stream of digital advertising data allows you to be more relevant to your customers, efficient with your spend and confident that your digital presence is in order. You’ll be ready to leverage the summer holidays and drive customers into your dealership.

1 Automotive New Data Center, April 2016 2 The Car-Buying Process: One Consumer’s 900+ Digital Interactions, Google, March 2016

Dane Odden
Dane Odden

Dane Odden is a digital advertising expert at CDK. He’s worked with dealers and dealer groups for years to build and execute winning digital strategies. In his free time, Dane enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and son. Throughout the year you can find them on area hiking trails, ski slopes, golf courses, and baseball fields.