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Automotive Digital Marketing: Don’t Forget What Matters Most

Updated: Mar 22

I hear it all the time: “why did our Google Adwords click thru rate drop from 4.7% to 4.2% last month? What are we doing wrong?”

When it comes to digital advertising, five years ago you might have been hard-pressed to find a dealership GM that knew a CTR from a CPC. Nowadays, not only does your average GM understand the difference between click thru rates and cost per click, but more often than not they are hyper-tuned to subtle fluctuations in their digital metrics.

I’m not sure that this change is necessarily all for the best. Let me explain.

Putting Metrics In Their Place

CTRs, CPCs, Impression Share, Quality Scores, Time on Site, Bounce Rate and other metrics do matter. But these measurements were never meant to be ends in and of themselves. They are general tools to help smart people understand the health and relative worth of their online marketing efforts.

Unfortunately, the excel sheet mavens have taken these helpful indicators and turned them into the end all and be all of digital marketing. I’m afraid they have convinced us to look at every leaf of every tree under a microscope rather than to focus on the overall health of the forest.

The results are predictable. Dealerships get stuck on minutia, make tiny inconsequential changes to their digital efforts, and growth stagnates.

Sales Matter Most

Make no mistake about it, when it comes to the health of your dealership, what matters most is not your CPCs or CTRs but how many damn cars you sell and how much money you make.

The main problem is that by sucking up too much of our valuable time with micro metrics we are in danger of losing momentum when it comes to growth. In marketing speed matters and a growth mindset trumps micro metrics every time. Speed wins.

Speed & the Growth Mindset

While excel tinkerers are bogged down with the same thing month after month—trying to lower your CPC by $0.15, for example—growth agencies are using innovative techniques like programmatic and behavioral based marketing. These strategies allow us to reach customers where they live on the internet: in their apps and social media feeds, and on their mobile devices.

Digital agencies that are driven by a growth mindset will outperform excel sheet focused agencies where it matters most. They will drive more prospects to your dealership and enabling you to sell more units. That, after all, is what it’s all about my friends.

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