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A Quick Guide to Basic Digital Marketing Terms and Definitions for Car Dealers

Updated: Mar 21

Welcome to the wide world of Digital Marketing!

As you probably know, Digital Marketing uses the Internet, e-mail, social media, mobile devices, search engines and more to get a marketing message out to the world.

While the concept of marketing has been around since the 18th century, the term “Digital Marketing” wasn’t introduced until around 1990. With only 30 years under its belt, and in an ever-changing digital landscape, we understand it can be hard to keep up. To further complicate things, digital marketers are often guilty of overusing jargon, abbreviations and acronyms that can be unfamiliar to even the most astute advertisers.

To give you a better idea of what the key digital marketing concepts mean, we’ve created a short list of some of the most important Digital Marketing terms & definitions for automotive marketing clients (in alphabetical order).

Click-Thru Rate (CTR): This is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view the ad’s intended destination. The CTR of a digital ad measures what percentage of people clicked on the ad to arrive at the destination site. CTR is typically presented as a percentage and is determined by (Total Clicks ÷ Total Impressions) x 100.

Cost Per Click (CPC): CPC is the dollar amount paid by digital marketers when a user clicks on their ad. In Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing, advertisers only pay for click activity. Digital marketers monitor these costs and activities to focus on an average CPC. The simple equation used to determine average CPC is Total Spend ÷ Number of Clicks.

Cost Per Thousand / Mil (CPM): The total amount an advertiser pays for 1,000 impressions of their ad on a web page, mobile or equivalent. A CPM of $2 indicates that you will pay $2 for every 1,000 displays of your advertisement.

Cost Per View (CPV): The average dollar amount digital marketers pay per view of online video ads.

E-mail Marketing: A digital form of direct mail that uses e-mail as a cost-effective method to send out a marketing message.

Frequency: The average of how many times an individual sees a digital ad over a given period.

Impression: Each time a specific ad is displayed on a website, mobile app, or other digital media.

Impression Share: The percentage of impressions that an ad receives compared to the total number of impressions that ad is eligible to get. Impression share is determined by Actual Impressions ÷ Total Eligible Impressions.

Paid Search: This is part of SEM, and sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably. Paid Search is a form of PPC or Pay Per Click digital marketing. In Paid Search advertising, you bid on placing your automotive ads in prominent positions on the search engines. Google is the most popular and important search engine, but Bing and others also offer Paid Search advertising.

Paid Social Media Marketing: Any content on social media that you pay to display (text, image, video, image carousel, etc.). As in most digital marketing, paid social media often targets specific audiences based on prior behavior and demographic information. Some examples of paid social media include pay-per-click advertising, branded or influencer-generated content, paid social video ads and display ads.

Pre-Roll Video: An online video advertisement that shows before a content video that the user has selected to play. These are shown on both mobile & desktop devices and typically range from 15-60 seconds. YouTube is the largest network of pre-roll video advertising.

Reach: How many individual people see your ad content over a specific time period.

Remarketing / Retargeting: A powerful way to strategically show ads to, or target, people who previously interacted online with your dealership. Automation and tracking allow digital marketers to remarket to all website visitors, or to specific subsets of visitors based on demographic and behavioral data.

Reputation Management: The process of influencing how and what people think of your dealership or group, by monitoring & managing online reviews and content.

SEM: SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. This is paid marketing done through search engines, such as Google or Bing. Bids for keyword terms help determine the placement of your automotive ad on relevant search engine results pages (SERPs).

SEO / Organic Search Marketing: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is the process of maximizing your website and site content to make them more attractive to search engines, such as Google or Bing, so your automotive website is shown as a top result for a keyword search.

Social Media Management: Marketing services that create, schedule and optimize social media posts for dealership presence on social channels such as Facebook and Instagram, among others. Social media management is typically organized through content calendars created for dealerships across various social media platforms.

All of this is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast and nuanced digital marketing landscape. Here at CBC Automotive Marketing, our Digital Department cuts through the jargon and demonstrates to our clients the value of comprehensive, sales-focused digital marketing strategies.

If your dealership or group is looking to looking to switch up its digital marketing strategy, then let’s start a conversation!

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