This blog is part of our Back to Basics refresher on automotive marketing best practices in 7 key dealership digital marketing areas: search engine optimization, search marketing, social media advertising, email marketing, targeted display advertising, video advertising and branded content advertising. 

Did you know that  71% of people looking for a new vehicle research online, and  86% of those people  repeat the same searches multiple times throughout their car buying journey? A vehicle is a big purchase, and the majority of consumers research car buying options extensively online before even visiting a dealership. Plus, auto shoppers visit far fewer car dealerships when ready to buy – down to 2 from 5

We know you know this, so why are we harping on it? When you’re thinking about your automotive marketing strategy, it’s important for your car dealership to actually be found when and where people are searching.  

Top on your dealership online presence strategy should be a paid search campaign. When it comes to running a PPC campaign for your dealership, there are a few automotive paid search marketing best practices you should follow to ensure your campaign is successful. 

Even if you’re already running pay per click ad campaigns for your dealership, it’s always a good idea to do a back to basics review and fine-tune your current efforts. 

Build a Strong Foundation with a Great Dealership Website 


Before you get started with paid search—or even if you are already running PPC but want to refresh your campaign—you want to make sure your dealership website is ready with a user-friendly, mobile responsive site, and a positive online car buyer experience. Just like with your physical dealership, you want your website to be welcoming, clean, and easy to navigate. 

It’s also extremely important that your website is mobile-friendly. Over 50% of online searches are now done on mobile devices, and the automotive customer is no exception. During the buying process, 18% of vehicle shoppers use mobile devices and 53% use multiple devices

And, you’ll want to make sure it’s easy for website visitors to reach out to you. Include a short and concise contact form on every page so users can get in touch with you whether they have a question about a specific vehicle or they’re ready to make a purchase.  

Web chat can take that even further by making it easier to auto customers to get answers to basic questions more quickly. So you don’t lose out to the competition! You can even be prepared with customer friendly scripts to address how you’ll follow-up on more complex questions with a personal call or email from someone on your sales team. 

Create Compelling Paid Search Text Ads 


Your PPC  text ads  are often a searcher’s first impression of your dealership. Make sure that it’s easy for searchers to tell who you are and what you’re offering by including your dealership name and a short summary about your business. Include relevant keywords and vehicles and give the searcher a reason to visit your dealership site by providing a call-to-action, such as finding out more about lease or finance offers. 

It’s also important to use ad extensions in your PPC text ads. Ad extensions increase the amount of information available to the searcher and expand the size of your ad on the page.  

Here are a few ad extensions to look at for your dealership search marketing campaign: 

  • Callout extensions  allow you to include additional incentives or information about your dealership. 

  • Structured snippets  can be used to highlight all vehicles in your lineup. 

  • Price extensions can be leveraged to include list lease offers on specific models as well. 

Don’t miss out on key in-market auto shoppers. Make sure your search marketing ads are informative. 

Be Relevant 


With paid search, one of the most important factors for a successful dealership PPC campaign is relevancy. Search engines often reward relevancy by driving down cost-per-click, which allows you to stretch your dealership advertising budget further. 

So, how can your car dealership be relevant in your search marketing campaigns? First, make sure that if you mention specific models you have them on corresponding VPD pages on your dealership website. 

Second, filter your vehicle keywords into ad groups by model. You want someone who is looking for a truck to see a text ad that speaks to that rather than a sedan or minivan. 

Third, you’ll want to coordinate each text ad to a specific inventory or landing page. So, the text ad about a truck would take searchers to an inventory search page that only shows trucks in your current inventory. 

If your keywords, text ads, and landing page all have the same focus, you’re providing the consumer with exactly what they’re looking for, which increases your chances of them visiting your showroom and purchasing a new car at your dealership. 

Bringing It All Together 


Your dealership online presence starts with being found online, and paid search is key to making that happen. Your automotive search marketing campaigns will benefit from a strong dealership website, compelling and informative text ads and relevant campaigns and landing pages. These tips will help you build the foundation for a successful automotive paid search campaign. However, they only scratch the surface. 

Contact us to learn more about custom paid search options for your dealership. 


Related Content