Branded Search – Optimize PPC Ads to Include Your Dealership Name [VIDEO]

Branded Search - PPC Hacks for Dealers

Talking about Paid Search Advertising for Auto Retailers can easily become a huge conversation. There are numerous aspects to consider. From market research to keyword research; from budget to technology. To help narrow the focus, this post explores – Branded Search for dealers.

Branded Search – PPC Ads with Dealership Name

One question often asked is, should dealers be placing ads that include their own dealership name as keywords? What about their competitors’ names? And how do we know?

Until recently, we didn’t have unbiased metrics to make objective data-based decisions for auto retail marketing. But since the advent of the HVU metric, this has changed.

High Value Users

HVU is an Experian-derived KPI for automotive sales attribution. It stands for High Value User, which is a website visitor that meets the following criteria:

  • Visits a website at least three times
  • Spends at least six minutes on the site in total
  • Views at least eight pages in total
  • Views at least one VDP

HVUs account for about 11% of all dealership website traffic, and they are purchasing at a 34% higher rate than overall traffic.

Experian was able to determine this through its 2018 Attribution Study. This “dealer-focused sales-driven” attribution study sought to answer the ever impending question – what drives sales?

The study looked at shopper behavior, not isolated KPIs. It also looked at how to optimize for paid search, and how to evaluate third-party investments. For more information about the study, see our post, Automotive Sales Attribution – Every Sale Has a Story.

Related findings…

  • Shoppers who clicked on search ads with your dealership name were 151% more likely to purchase from you.
  • There was no evidence to suggest that ads with your competitors’ names produced a beneficial ROI

Applying the Findings and Determining Budget

What portion of your ad budget should be dedicated to paid search?

To discuss this, we met up with Experian Automotive Director of Analytics and Search, Matthew Kolodziej, and Julie Lawton, Director of Partner Channels.

Kolodziej suggests that a range of, “5 to 15% of your paid search budget should be going to branded search.” He also suggests using the metrics readily available through Google or Bing, which show search impressions that he says are “becoming a more and more popular metric to look at.”

Branded search drives quality traffic to websites, and at a low cost. Seven percent of all traffic and 12% of HVU traffic comes from branded search. The purchase rate of this traffic was found to be 54% higher than average.

In terms of value, New Make and Model search has impressive results. Two percent of all traffic and 12% of HVU traffic comes from New Make and Model. The purchase rate is 137% higher than average.

In the video below, Kolodziej also suggests,

“Search is still king – 100%. It is the best bang for your buck. You should always optimize your budget for Paid Search until you have completely maximized that channel.”


About the Video and Podcast

The video above highlights only a portion of the more extensive conversation that was held in October 2018 during our Live Web Chat with Julie and Matt, as part of the Advanced Auto Retail Marketing Mastermind Series.

To access the complete conversation you can:

During the conversation, we explore how paid search compares with all other common advertising channels. This includes: Email, Social Media, Display, Pre-Roll, Direct Traffic, and Organic Search. We discuss ways to ensure you are best optimizing your paid search advertising. We also discuss the following key takeaways from the study, and how those results play out in the real world:

  • Buy your own name. The cost is minimal and the insurance it provides to maintain your intended customers is worth the spend.
  • No dealer had buyers come through via competitor keywords.
  • Where dealerships fall short when it comes to determining a budget for paying for domains and keywords.


About the Author

Ryan G
Ryan Gerardi is Chief Editor of AutoConverse Magazine and Executive Producer and Host of the AutoConverse Podcast and Live Weekly Broadcast. He is also Founder & CEO of AutoConversion with nearly 20 years experience in the automotive industry. Ryan concentrates his efforts today on exploring people, ideas, and technologies related to how we get around and how we are connected.

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