4 Digital Advertising Channels Your Dealership Needs

February 22, 2019

Warning – This list contains no platforms that charge you per lead…if you’re still into that

In 2018, 88% of Australian’s actively used the Internet, which is a huge amount in itself but when you consider that on average we’re online for over 5 hours every day, that’s a whole a lot of eyeballs to reach.

The reason I’ve brought up these statistics isn’t just to sound clever or to help you understand where all your time is going but instead show you how much potential there is to reach customers online, and there’s no better way to do this than with Digital Advertising.

Whether you’ve been utilising digital advertising for a while or are just starting to include it into your dealership’s marketing strategy, you’ll know it’s an often complex and confusing world to navigate. With all the different digital channels on offer, it’s difficult to figure out where to invest your advertising dollars. So, to help you on your journey, here’s our picks of the top 4 digital advertising channels that every dealership needs and when to use them.

Google Ads

Let’s set the scene; a woman is in the market for a new Mazda CX-5 and is ready to book a test drive at her local dealership, which just so happens to be your dealership. She goes to Google to search for “2018 Mazda CX-5” in her area and sees an ad for another Mazda dealership in the area and books a test drive. If you had been using Google Ads, this could have been easily avoided.

Google Ads (formally Google AdWords) is one of the most popular forms of digital advertising, so I’m sure you would have heard about it but here’s a quick overview just in case. Google Ads uses targeted keywords or specific searches that trigger your ads on Google, the world’s biggest search engine. These ads will look almost identical to regular Google listings, however they’re a quick way to get yourself to the top of the page on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis – no paying per lead here.

At Digipurple, we’re big fans of Google Ads for dealerships because of the unique benefits it offers. I could write a whole blog on just Google Ads alone, but the main benefits come down to two things – extremely targeted ads that only appear for keywords that are relevant to your dealership, and only paying when some clicks on your ad. So, you’re not just reaching a relevant audience but only paying when they come to your website. What’s not to love?

When should you use Google Ads?

The reason we started with Google Ads is because it really does have a place in every dealership’s marketing strategy. Whether you’re just branching out into digital or have been doing it for years, Google Ads should always be included. Due to the flexible budget options, you’re not locked-in to contracts and can start low and increase your spend as you grow.

In regards to what it’s primary purpose is, Google Ads is perfect if you want to increase your website traffic and overall enquiry volume – quickly. Since Google Ads is based on ‘intent marketing’, you can use the power of Google to reach people who are interested in your vehicles or services and drive them to your dealer website.


Google Display Ads

Think about your commute to work and all the billboards and outdoor ads you see. How many do you remember? One, maybe two? For those couple we remember, there’s hundreds that we just don’t take notice of. With all the content that we’re subjected to, to grab the attention, and hold it, you need to reach your target audience with a relevant message. While traditional advertising channels have limitations in their targeting but that’s where digital excels.

With Google Display Ads, reaching your target market flips the concept of traditional advertising on its head. Display Ads have been around for as long as ads have been online. If you’re unsure what these are, Google Display Ads are personalised banners that allow you to advertise your dealership’s vehicles and services to relevant customers using the Google Display Network, which makes up over 95% of the Internet’s websites, blogs and apps.

Google Display Ads allow you to advertise on websites that are relevant to your dealership, reach customers based on their personal interests, or target their age, gender and location. You can even reach people who are currently looking to buy a car or have visited your website previously.  Plus, similar to Google Ads you can pay-per-click or cost-per-impression (when people see your ads).

When should you use Google Display Ads?

Like traditional advertising (but better), Google Display Ads aren’t exactly designed for driving action as much but they’re great for building awareness. Consider this the most targeted billboards out there, which will reach people who actually want to see it and will remember it; for a fraction of the price of a newspaper ad.

Another reason to use Google Display Ads is to re-engage with your customers. If you haven’t heard of Display Ads, it’s likely you’ve heard of retargeting or remarketing (same thing, different jargon). If your goal is to serve ads to people that have been to your dealer website, then Google Display is perfect. For example, if you want to advertise an offer on Ford Rangers to people who have viewed your Ford Ranger showroom page then Google Display is for you!

Google Display

Facebook Ads

Shortly after Facebook launched it caught on like wild fire and grew exponentially due to its super engaged users. In fact, some people likened Facebook users to drug users because it grabbed their attention like nothing they’ve used before. Now I don’t know if that’s the best example for customer loyalty but either way, Facebook grabs people’s attention and holds it. So, why wouldn’t you want to advertise on it?

Now I know you know this one. Whether you’ve had experience with digital advertising or not, you’ve surely seen or heard about Facebook Ads. Very similar to Google Display Ads in the sense they reach users with ads based on a variety of advanced targeting methods but with a tonne of different ad formats. From standard banners ads and carousels showcasing a variety or vehicles to video ads, Facebook Ads offers arguably the most engaging advertising format online.

The reason we’re seeing companies big and small continue to pile more and more advertising dollars into Facebook is because how captivated the audience is. Since Facebook is filled with content from family and friends, your ads appear right between the stuff people truly care about.

When should you use Facebook Ads?

My favourite thing about Facebook is that due to the wide variety of ad formats, it can essentially achieve any advertising goal. While other digital advertising channels are designed for brand awareness and others for driving website traffic, Facebook is like Inspector Gadget and can do it all. So, if you want to build local awareness about a new vehicle release, you can do that. If you want to retarget to website visitors and generate service leads, you can do that too.

Another excellent opportunity comes with the video advertising functionality. If you want to get started with online video ads, Facebook is probably the best place to start. Due to the excellent targeting options and cost-effective model, it’s perfect for newcomers and seasoned advertisers alike.


Automated Inventory Advertising

Last but not least, is the newest but most exciting advertising channel on offer. Let’s backtrack a bit and think about the billboards on your way to work again, and the importance of making those relevant. Imagine if you’re sitting in traffic and see a billboard of a car but not just any car, a car that you were looking at online the night before. Now I don’t know if that’s the future of advertising but in the meantime, we have Automated Inventory Advertising.

Automated Inventory Ads are dynamically created ads that are generated directly from your dealership’s actual inventory. These ads can run across both Facebook carousels or Google Ads and reach relevant customers who are either looking for cars on Google or are retargeted to on Facebook. The best thing about Automated Inventory Ads is that rather than send them to third-party websites where you then pay for the lead, traffic is sent directly to the vehicle details page on your website.

To give you an example, let’s say you’re running this on both Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Someone could search for a “2015 Ford Focus” and sees and clicks on an ad for a Focus you have in stock. They may not enquire right away but a couple of days later they’re browsing Facebook and see an ad for that exact car they looked at, click on the ad and go back to the vehicle details page to enquire. That’s about as targeted as you can get!

When should you use Automated Inventory Advertising?

There’s a bunch of reasons when Automated Inventory Advertising would work but ultimately it comes down to selling more cars. This powerfully targeted form of advertising is all about getting engaged eyeballs on your inventory which leads to more enquiries and sales.

Another reason is that you’re tired of paying per lead. By sending traffic directly to your website where the only one your competing with is your other inventory, you can dramatically reduce your cost-per-lead.


What now?

Digital Advertising can seem like uncharted waters if you’re not familiar with it and that’s where Digipurple fits in. If you’re unsure on how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together or what’s the right strategy for your dealership’s marketing, Get In Touch today for a free consultation.

For more tips and tricks, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook!


Written by Brad Ayres | Senior Digital Strategist at Digipurple