Paid searchWhen I review automotive paid search campaigns, there are four common mistakes that I keep seeing. These mistakes are spending thousands of dollars a month to advertise, but in many cases, the results are not as effective because of these basic mistakes.

Here are four common mistakes – and how you can fix them:

1. Generic Text

The next time you do a search for a specific model car, such as “2013 Dodge Durango,” take a look at a few of the paid ads that run across the top and along the right side of the search results page. What you will see is very similar generic text (Think “Check out our inventory!” “Find the Lowest Price!” “We’ve Got It. Call Today.”) for many of the ads. How is your business supposed to stand out when all of the ads look the same?

The dealer needs to be more involved with the creation of these ads in the same way they would approve a newspaper ad or a radio script. What makes you different? Come up with something other than what everyone else is saying or set clear expectations with your SEM company.

2. Incorrect Click Path

When I click on the ad, where does it take me? I have done this during assessments and I have had ads for a specific vehicle take me to the home page of the website or the inventory page but not for the vehicle. I have seen specific offers for a lease special and it does not take me to the specific page describing the offer.

All this does is confuse the consumer or makes them aggravated because you have added an extra step or two into their process. Make sure that you know and test where each ad goes and make sure that it is a one step path from the ad to delivering what you promised.

3. Landing Page Problems

If you have created the proper click path for an ad and a landing page for the consumer to land on, you need to make sure it is correctly designed. Make sure that it is focused only on the offer or model that the ad described. I would recommend it be very simple and clean in design, perhaps a video on the page describing the offer. I would have a photo or two depending on what the offer is and lastly a clear call to action. What do you want to customer to do? Call? Fill out a form? Click on another button?

landing page

Whatever the action is, having a clean, clear page that is uncluttered and focused will result in much more engagement for your campaign.

4. Bidding Against Yourself

From my experience, this is unique to the automotive industry. There are cases where a dealership will have a mandated manufacturer’s website in addition to a second website used for marketing purposes. If two different vendors are running paid search campaigns directed at each of these two sites, they end up bidding for the same keywords, thus increasing the cost. I have seen many times where both websites come up in search right next to each other because they are bidding against themselves and costing themselves money.

If you have two sites and have to use different vendors, I would recommend monitoring the keyword strategy for each vendor so they are focusing different campaigns for each site.

Paid search advertising can be very effective, but it can also cost a lot of money if not managed effectively. If these things are a bit overwhelming or if you need assistance, partner with a trusted company that will offer you ongoing strategy versus just a set of ad campaigns that may not be focused on your specific needs. PCG’s SEM professionals are here to help!

About the Author

Lisa Grande is the Client Account Team Manager. She is passionate about her clients and educating the team to best serve their clients.