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Payment Transparency “Boosts” Paid Search Performance

Long before the Internet, apps, and smartphones, the conventional wisdom always said to never give the customer payments until you had them sold on the car. I attended countless phone training classes where I learned that giving the customer payment details over the phone was the kiss of death. ‘If you give them the information they want’, I was told, ‘they might not visit your dealership.’

We at Showroom Logic wondered if this wisdom still held true in the information age. Since “How much can I afford?,” is one of the key questions that leads to a vehicle purchase, would providing payments in paid search ads improve your landing page conversion rate? Or, would it simply give prospects too much information, and send them off shopping without raising their hands?

In June, Showroom Logic launched a product called Boost. Boost integrates accurate, real-time monthly loan and lease payments into paid search ads and landing pages for new and used vehicles. The payments are both OEM and FTC compliant. So, not only does a prospective customer see the vehicle information, they see inventory, monthly payments, and OEM incentives.

Shoppers will see a complete list of payment options, and can interact with the Boost payment tools by selecting their desired term and down payment before submitting their contact information to the dealer. What a great way to get a start a relationship – to know what customers want and can afford before they even visit your dealership!

Our team did a before/after analysis of over 30 dealers using Boost, comparing traffic, costs, clicks, calls, and leads generated. If you guessed that more information created more conversions, you were right. Here are the results:

Leads Cost-Per-Lead Conversion Rate
+28% -22% +60%

In this age where information is plentiful and transparency breeds trust, it turns out that giving customers payment details meant they took the next step more often.

Not every brand performs the same, as you might expect. Preliminary data suggests that brands with a lower than “expected” payment information perform better than those who typically feature low, low payments.

Additional experimentation and optimization will drive performance even higher, but the early results are encouraging. Be confident: In today’s transparent world, sharing what you know with prospects whose business you hope to earn helps demonstrate that you are the kind of retailer they can trust. That means they will engage with you more often. That is good news for all.

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.