History does not prevent us from repeating the same mistakes we made in the past.  Case in point, the recent announcement by Google that it will start to remove organic search listings if the website does not present content sized mobile devices.

Translation: If your website penalizes mobile users, don’t expect Google to serve up your website pages organically for free.  

Automotive website providers have had years to get this right, but have failed to keep up with technology.  (Read Google Blog Post)

Responsive Website Design

The ability the present the content of a website page, on different devices, is called Responsive Website Design.  The majority of automotive website providers do not have production versions of responsive website available to dealers.  The only two automotive specific website providers that have seamless production websites are Dealer eProcess and Dominion Dealer Solutions.

Lack of Responsive Website Design is not just a problem with digital marketing but it also impacts social media campaigns.  As more content is shared on social media channels, more MOBILE consumers will be consuming the content.

Why This Is Critical?

Any time a consumer (or your marketing department) shares a page from your website on social media, there is a good chance that mobile consumers will be disappointed.  In a recent Facebook advertising campaign that PCG ran using the new Google Wildfire platform, over 60% of the clicks were from consumers accessing Facebook on mobile devices.

Take 5 minutes to test your own website. Are you disappointing mobile consumers? Here are the three simple steps to get the answer:

  1. Select three custom pages on your website that are designed to promote a current offer or “specials” that are for that month.  You can also pick engagement pages like trade-in values, service appointment pages, or staff pages.
  2. Email yourself the URL to those three pages.
  3. Open up the email on your mobile phone and click on the links and see what page is displayed to the mobile consumer.

For most dealership websites, what is displayed on the mobile phone is the home page of the mobile site because the content on the main website is not on the mobile website.

Real Life Testing

I conducted a single page test on Irvine BMW, to show you how a website should “adapt” to different device types.  I went to their website and selected a page that could be a candidate to promote using social media; a job career page.   I found that they had an employment page so I selected that URL.

I sent the link to this page to my mobile device via email, which you can see below.  When I clicked on the link from my mobile phone, it took me into the home page of their mobile website.  This is exactly what Google says is no longer acceptable.  You SHOULD NOT direct desktop content pages to the HOME PAGE of your mobile website.

For the case of Irvine BMW, the mobile user gets their latest “newspaper” ad and not their employment information page.  If the consumer figures out what to do, they must scroll down to see the dealership’s mobile website.

There is no way for a mobile user to find the Career page.  This is just one example, but this applies to most ALL of the critical pages in your desktop website.  The mobile version of desktop pages are NOT automatically presented to mobile consumers.  This is an epic fail.

Do not dismiss this Career Page example as irrelevant.  This is happening on sales and promotional pages that dealers are using to sell cars.  This is a SYSTEMIC problem.



Device Independent Social Media Engagement

So until dealers have websites with Responsive Website Design, how can we engage mobile consumers on social media?  That is where the Google Wildfire platform comes into play.

It allows marketing professionals to engage consumers regardless of the device that they use to engage with dealership content.  Wildfire presents a wide variety of engagement templates that are perfect for car dealers.   PCG has taken these templates are further customized them for better conversion.

The ability to engage consumers on social media and social media advertising with Responsive  Website landing pages is a powerful marketing opportunity.  The recent addition of vehicle ownership data (Polk Data) to better target  Facebook advertising is amazing.

Combine that power with device independent landing pages using Google Wildfire, and you have a huge opening to attract more in market consumers to buy cars from your dealership.

If you are interested in gaining incremental sales by advertising where your competitors are NOT present, reach out and give me a call.   PCG Digital Marketing is one of the first automotive marketing agencies offering integrated Facebook advertising and Google Wildfire engagement, in an affordable monthly package.

About the Author

Brian Pasch is the founder of PCG companies. PCG provides customized marketing and training solutions for businesses that are committed to dominate their local market.