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Innovation in Automotive Paid Search? It’s Alive and Well.

A recent blog post took a shot at automotive paid search, stating that “we’ve fallen behind as an industry”.  The assertion is that SEM providers have oriented their products to conform to what is easiest to sell to dealers (“glitz and glamour”) rather than ROI effectiveness.

That’s Ludicrous.

Showroom Innovator Award

First, I’ll provide some context about myself and my perspective. In my career with a leading dealer group, our team was one of the first to embrace paid search (PPC). We did it internally and externally. We developed one of the first inventory-centric paid search systems. We used non-auto agencies and auto-specific technology alike. We directed people to landing and dealer site pages. We measured everything, all the way down to gross profit on keywords. We also tied in correlations like market share and store OEM effectiveness to truly measure our effectiveness.

My point is that I’ve seen a lot of the innovations in paid search up close, and I can tell you that automotive SEM is still rapidly evolving. Showroom Logic, in particular, is setting the pace in the industry. In the last year, they won the coveted Google Innovator Award, beating every Google SMB partner in every vertical (not just automotive) with its forward-thinking technology and processes that help dealerships optimize conversion from paid search campaigns.

And during the last 12 months, Showroom Logic introduced three game-changing innovations:

Dynamic Landing pages – Contrary to the blogger’s belief, these pages aren’t primarily for tracking. They fundamentally improve a dealer’s marketing performance. Dealers can replace the traditional VDP with conversion-optimized Dynamic Conversion Pages (DCPs) and potentially increase leads by 27%. That’s what we’re currently seeing across all OEMs. Another recent study showed that five dealerships from a particular OEM increased leads by nearly 300% over the dealer website.

Real-Time Payment Display– Injecting loan and lease payments in your paid search ads – AND automatically syncing them to your landing pages so the shopper sees the same terms everywhere – is revolutionary to the automotive industry and driving on average a whopping 30% increase in leads over a traditional paid search or display ad. Why? Because these dynamic ads capture the payment driven shopper as they search for a vehicle.

Market Share Optimization – Now, we’re getting somewhere. Forget about wasting dollars on a scattershot paid search campaigns (yes, even a supposedly geo-targeted PPC campaign can create a lot of wasted dollars and hand-wringing). Using a tool like the recently launched ZipDriven helps dealers spend ad dollars on specific vehicles in the zip codes where those vehicles are most popular. This new approach to paid search campaign management is driving tremendous results so far, with dealerships seeing noticeable improvements in market share, cost-per-sale and click-through rate. You can try it for yourself: Find your dealership’s market share by zip code here.

Everything I’ve just mentioned is making waves in automotive paid search. In just the last few months, ZipDriven has drastically changed the discussion of paid search campaign effectiveness, as did Boost and DCPs before it. Innovation is happening right now in automotive paid search, and your dealership should be a part of it. Anyone saying otherwise simply isn’t paying attention to the companies that are driving innovation.


Gary Marcotte, Board Member
During his 13 year tenure at AutoNation, Inc., Marcotte held executive positions in marketing & operations and spearheaded a number of strategic initiatives that helped the company become America’s largest, automotive retailer. He served as their SVP of Marketing for six years, and was responsible for all marketing, advertising, owner retention, and digital marketing. Earlier in his career, Marcotte helped launch Toyota’s Lexus division, where he developed and implemented the division’s key selling processes. In 1991, he established the industry-changing Lexus Certified Pre-Owned Car program for Toyota.