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Google Analytics 4 is Coming: 13 Things You Need to Know

February 22nd, 2023 by

On July 1, 2023 the marketing measurement landscape will change dramatically when Google sunsets the current version of Google Analytics (known as Universal Analytics) which has been in place since 2012, in favor of their new service – Google Analytics 4 (aka GA4). 

It’s important to understand that GA4 isn’t just a slightly updated version of the Google Analytics experience that you’ve been using to collect and organize data for the past decade. This is a completely new system from top to bottom that — while different from what you’ve been used to — ultimately gives you more flexibility to measure user experience and marketing performance data across your website.

JULY 2022

All Dealer Inspire websites were set up with a GA4 property to collect data so that when Universal Analytics shuts down, you’ll have a full year’s worth of historical data to reference and use in comparison performance reports.

JANUARY 2023

We began pushing website engagement events that adhere to the Automotive Standards Council (ASC) to all our GA4 properties. The ASC’s goal is to support the industry’s best interest in creating universal standards and guidelines for the transition to Google Analytics 4. As a founding member of the ASC, Dealer Inspire is committed to the ongoing development and improvement of this automotive specific implementation of GA4.

If you don’t have a Dealer Inspire website and you aren’t sure whether you have a GA4 property created for your website or not, then you’ll want to check with your website provider to ensure that one has been, or will be, created for you in a timely manner.

Please Note : If you or your provider does not create a GA4 property, Google has stated that they will automatically create one on your behalf beginning in March, 2023.

With that said, this guide is meant to get you comfortable understanding and navigating the main differences between the outgoing Universal Analytics and the all-new Google Analytics 4 so you can prepare as needed to officially make the switch well before July of 2023. 

More of a listener than a reader? Want even deeper context? Watch our latest live streaming event The Day The Data Stood Still on demand over on Inspire+. We take you through some of the most notable changes coming to GA4 and discuss what you need to do to prepare before the big day arrives!

WATCH ON DEMAND


WHY IS UNIVERSAL ANALYTICS BEING SUNSET?

Before we get into the differences between Google’s old and new measurement solutions, you might be wondering why Google is even sunsetting Universal Analytics in the first place. The simple reality is that Universal Analytics was built during a time when the desktop computer was the main device for surfing the web, and session data was more easily observable from cookies. 

As you know, the web today is much different than it was a decade ago. Today it’s a mobile-first web. It’s cross-platform. It spans devices. And most importantly, the premium on privacy is at an all-time high and the cookieless future is upon us.

Brook Barker and Anoop Tiwari talk about GA4 LIve With Lopes at NADA 2023

Simply said, Google Analytics 4 was built to measure the way the world consumes information on the Internet today relying on machine learning and statistical modeling. In addition to being built for the modern web with a privacy-first mindset, GA4 was also built to be a more flexible platform that can adapt for whatever the future may hold.   

So now that we know “why”, let’s dive right into the 13 things you need to know about Google Analytics 4 before making the switch.

1. PROPERTY “VIEWS” ARE NOT A PART OF GOOGLE ANALYTICS 4

In Universal Analytics (henceforth referred to as UA), you could create multiple account “views” of your analytics property that would allow you to apply different filters, create various segments, and feature customized reports for each view — all while maintaining a “master view” of unfiltered raw data.

One of the most major, and immediately noticeable, changes in GA4 is the removal of these account “views” as all data manipulation is now done on the property itself. This streamlines the data into one single reporting property where you’ll find up to 3 data stream types: Website, iOS app, and Android app. 

Why This Matters: Many third parties set up their own “views” of your data within UA to be able to track and measure the metrics they feel are most important. With GA4 that capability is gone, so you’ll need to work with those partners to make sure that they’re pushing their intended events and actions to your property ensuring consistent reporting. We also recommend asking your vendors if they adhere to the ASC specifications to be sure you are receiving the most reliable and consistent data.

2. GA4 INTRODUCES AN EVENT BASED MEASUREMENT MODEL

While UA is very much based on tracking independent session data, GA4 aims to give you a complete view of the customer lifecycle with an event-based measurement model that isn’t fragmented by platform or independent sessions.

Because of this dramatic shift, it’s important to note that the data between UA and GA4 won’t match between these versions due to these different models.

Why This Matters: This will start looking at the users and audiences of your website/app for shopping behaviors vs a session, meaning that we will be more in tune with the actions and behaviors of the customers (clicks, page interactions, etc).

3. OLD METRICS WITH NEW DEFINITIONS

For years, you’ve relied upon certain metrics within Google Analytics such as Bounce Rate and Conversion Rate to inform the effectiveness of your marketing and website experience. With GA4 however, some of those common KPIs will mean something different than what they used to, and some won’t be a part of the new platform at all.

For example, in Universal Analytics, Bounce Rate was defined as the percentage of single page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page. In Google Analytics 4 Bounce Rate is the percentage of sessions that were not engaged sessions. In other words, Bounce Rate is now defined as the inverse of Engagement Rate, one of the new metrics that are a part of GA4. 

With the new measurement model mentioned above giving you better insight into how users are moving across your purchase funnel, it was necessary to provide more meaningful metrics that present a clear picture of your key objectives.

Here are a few UA metrics that have had their definitions revised, along with some new metrics that are a part of the GA4 experience:

UA Metrics Being Redefined

  • Bounce rate (inverse of Engagement Rate)
  • Conversion rate (separated into User Conversion Rate & Session Conversion Rate)

Newly Introduced Metrics in GA4

  • Engaged sessions (default is 10 seconds on site or triggered an event marked as a conversion or viewed more than one screen)
  • Engagement rate (engaged sessions compared to total sessions)
  • Events per session
  • Avg. engagement time per session

Why This Matters: Google is focusing more on users and their engagement in GA4. This data will provide a better understanding of your engaged audience — the ones who are taking action on your site searching for their next vehicle.

4. NEW EVENT CATEGORIES IN GA4

With the previous changes mentioned, it only makes sense that the way events are tracked would change within GA4 as well.

Within UA, events are all defined using Category, Action, and Label. GA4 simplifies things by using an event name with parameters to see identified custom dimensions and metrics associated with the event.

There are four types of events  within GA4:

Automatically Collected Events: As you might guess, these are the events that are automatically tracked once you’ve set up your GA4 property. 

Enhanced Measurement Events: These are also automatically collected once GA4 is actively collecting website data, however these can also be enabled or disabled depending on how meaningful each event is to measuring your key objectives. 

Recommended Events: These are events that Google recommends you setup based on what industry you’re in. Typically these are broad, and for an industry like automotive retail, probably won’t be widely applicable.

Custom Events: These are going to be the most important and powerful events to set up, as they’ll provide insight into how every engagement within your digital ecosystem plays into the overall experience of your website. With custom events you can track engagement with your inventory, your media, your messaging platform, your digital retailing experience, and pretty much anything that’s a part of your website. 

At Dealer Inspire, our Connected Platform will be set up with custom events within GA4 to track engagement with your Website, Conversations, and Online Shopper.

Why This Matters: GA4 allows for more flexibility with each event and will provide more insightful and meaningful reporting. With that, it will be critical to work with your third-party vendors to ensure proper events are created within your GA4 property to track the engagement with those tools.

5. GO DEEPER WITH FEWER REPORTS IN GA4

As I’m sure you know, Universal Analytics has many out-of-the-box reports that are immediately available for users to inspect various aspects of user activity. For example, in UA there are twenty  standard Acquisition reports — in GA4 there are only three. 

Instead of a long list of predefined reports that try to cover every use case, GA4’s simplified reporting interface was made so that it would be easier to spot key trends and irregularities in data, while also providing you with powerful tools to build your own reports to quickly reference the information you care about.

Why This Matters: While on the surface having fewer standard reports within GA4 may seem like a downgrade, it actually gives you more flexibility to create your own collection of custom reports that’ll provide deeper and more meaningful analysis for your key objectives.

6. SEGMENTS & COMPARISONS IN GA4

In analytics parlance, a segment is simply a subset of your data, and they’re extremely useful for drilling down and focusing on a group of users based on common attributes or conditions. For example, of your entire set of users, one segment might be users who arrived at your website via organic search.

In UA, segments are saved for future use and are available in most standard and custom reports. In GA4, comparisons take the place of segments.  Just like segments, comparisons allow you to narrow down and analyze a specific subset of data, but don’t have the ability to be saved for future use. 

For example, let’s say you built a comparison to examine your mobile website traffic and you noticed that the engagement rate for these users has decreased over time. You could then determine when the trend began, and match that up with any changes that might have been made to your mobile website experience that could have caused that drop in engagement and correct the issue. 

7. FEWER DATA RETENTION OPTIONS IN GA4

The ability to reference historical data is essential for performing granular and comparative analysis over time. When it comes to data retention, UA has the following options; 14 Months, 26 Months, 38 Months, 50 Months, or Don’t Automatically Expire. This means you are able to access historical data within the Universal Analytics interface based on the above choice, for potentially a lifetime.

In GA4 however, retention of user-level data only has two options available: a default period of 2 Months along with an option to increase that time period to 14 Months. With longer, or even lifetime, data retention options no longer available, you may want to consider developing a data export strategy using GA4’s BigQuery integration to warehouse your analytics data in a secure and scalable platform.

Why This Matters: With the default retention period being 2 Months, at minimum you should make sure that you’ve enabled the 14 Month collection option within your GA4 property to ensure that you’ll always be able to compare YoY data.

8. MORE DEFAULT CHANNEL GROUPINGS IN GA4

Google Analytics 4 also comes with revised default channel groupings that more accurately reflect the various ways traffic can be driven to your website without needing to set any rules to make sure it’s bucketed correctly. 

There are a total of 16 default channel groupings spanning the categories of manual traffic, Google Ads traffic, and DV360 traffic. Most notably though, the following additions to the channel grouping specifically will make it easier to understand where your traffic is coming from:

  • Paid Social
  • Organic Social
  • Paid Video
  • Organic Video

It’s worth calling out that with Universal Analytics, you could customize your channel groupings to match your UTM structure for your various marketing campaigns. With the new groupings in GA4, you’ll need to customize your UTM structure to match the channel groupings.

Why This Matters: By having better visibility into your specific marketing channels, combined with the new engagement metrics tracked within GA4, this will allow for more easily digestible data to determine the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. 

9. GA4 HAS A NEW DATA-DRIVEN ATTRIBUTION MODEL

All Universal Analytics properties were set up with the default “last click” attribution model, meaning the last touchpoint a user took on the site before conversion would get 100% of the credit for that conversion. 

GA4 however is able to assign attribution credit to more than just the last click, and helps you understand how your marketing activities collectively influence your conversions using a cross-channel data-drive model. 

While you can change your attribution model in GA4 to Last Click, First Click, Position-based, or Time Decay — using the cross-channel data-driven attribution model gives equal conversion credit to all touchpoints on a conversion path, showing you more clearly the effect your marketing is having on your ROI. 

Why This Matters: GA4 uses machine learning which provides a custom attribution model based on your historical data that will automatically adapt  as we head for the cookieless future.

10. INSTANT INSIGHTS – JUST A CLICK AWAY

Speaking of machine learning, GA4 also has an Insights & Recommendations section where they’ll show some trends they are seeing in your data and give you quick recommendations on how to best utilize your traffic/resources.

You can even ask questions within the insights section such as;

  • “How many users did I have last week?”
  • “What are my top events by user?”
  • “How many new users this year?”

…and MORE!

11. GOING FROM GOALS TO CONVERSIONS IN GA4

Speaking of conversions, we want to make sure we discuss the changes happening here too because it’s a notable difference from what you’ve been used to. In Universal Analytics, you’re probably familiar with “Goals”. For example, you could create a destination goal, such a “thank you page” that’s loaded after a user submits a form, and the number of times that destination goal fired would reflect the number of conversions for that action.

Because Google Analytics 4 is an event-based tool, those goals from UA would all be configured as events now. So if you want to track conversions within GA4, you have to configure your event tracking first. 

From there, you can then tell GA4 which events should be marked as conversions simply by toggling them on, and you can have up to 30 toggled on at any given time.

Also, in UA each conversion type would only fire once per session. In GA4, events that you’ve toggled on as conversions will fire as many times as they are triggered during each session.

Why This Matters: In Universal Analytics, goals were configured separately from events, and were only triggered once per session. In GA4 conversions may be triggered multiple times per session, giving you better insight into your overall user engagement.

12. GA4 OFFERS FEWER OPTIONS TO FILTER DATA

With UA, you had the ability to apply filters that would limit or modify the data in a view. For example, you could use a filter to exclude traffic from particular IP addresses, include only data from specific subdomains or directories, or convert dynamic page URLs to readable text strings.

With GA4 eliminating having multiple views of your property, they’ve also reduced the ways you can filter your traffic only providing two options:

  • Internal Traffic: Filter event data that you’ve identified as internal traffic
  • Developer Traffic: Filter event data from your development devices 

13. ANNOTATIONS ARE NO MORE IN GA4

Last on our list of differences between Universal Analytics is Google Analytics 4 is the removal of annotations. I’m not going to lie, this one hurt me in particular because I’m big on notes. For those unfamiliar, annotations were a way for you to manually record within your property when you made notable updates to things like your website, strategy, or budget. You could then overlay those annotations over your reports to quickly recognize positive or negative effects as a result of what was updated.  

Why This Matters: If you’re an active user of annotations, then it will be critical to implement a process for recording those notable changes in a separate space, such as a spreadsheet.

And that’s it! Those were the top 13 things you need to know to get ready for GA4. Keep in mind that Google will continue to iterate and refine the features and capabilities of their newest analytics platform over the years to come, so there is always a chance that something that’s missing in GA4 now, could make a triumphant return in the future. 


STAY AHEAD OF THE GAME

By staying ahead of the game and proactively preparing our partner’s websites for the transition to Google Analytics 4, we’re fulfilling our mission to help future-proof your dealership so you can sell, buy, and service more vehicles, more efficiently with a proven ROI backed by real data.

Want to know more about how we can help you grow your dealership’s business? Drop us a line and we’ll show you how.

LET’S TALK!

The Next-Gen Automotive F&I Experience Has Arrived

February 21st, 2023 by

While the car shopping experience has evolved over the years, transitioning from an in-store experience to one that can be done mostly online — one thing has remained constant: when it comes to buying a car, the #1 consumer pain point continues to be the financing process. 1

Why is it so painful? Well if you ask car shoppers, they’ll mention things like “it takes too much time”, or “there’s too much pressure to buy extras”, or sometimes it’s just a general anxiety about having to make a major financial decision on the spot….in a small office…with a complete and total stranger.

1Cars.com Consumer Metrics, Q4 2022

Much of the car buying process has moved online the past decade, but customers still have to go through a different process to secure the financing needed to complete the purchase. And that disconnected experience is costing dealerships time, money, and reputation.

Car shoppers want to be empowered with price transparency so they can feel confident knowing they have a monthly payment they can afford, before they arrive at the store. Today, 74% of shoppers are expressing their desire to take it a step further by saying they want to actually complete financing online before visiting the dealership.

Despite this extraordinary consumer demand for a more convenient and online financing experience, the typical dealership F&I department still isn’t well represented on car dealer websites aside from having a basic credit application page that’s nothing more than a secure web form.

Not only is this a cumbersome experience for consumers that doesn’t yield an instant result, but it also requires a Finance Manager to manually input the submitted information into their systems, and then reestablish contact with their customer hours (or even days) later to talk through next steps. Not an ideal or smooth process for either party. 

Not being able to meet this basic need for a modern consumer can cost your dealership unseen dollars as your website visitor’s bounce — not because you didn’t have the vehicle they wanted, but because you didn’t provide them with an option to get a pre-approved payment on that vehicle.

While this is a very real problem, thankfully it no longer has to be. Today I’m happy to let you know that our Instant Financing technology is now available within Online Shopper, our end-to-end retailing solution.

That’s right. Car shoppers can now get Instant Financing approvals directly from your website. No more manual data entry. No more waiting for your customers to respond and never-ending games of phone tag. With Instant Financing activated, you streamline the approval process and make it easy and transparent for shoppers to find the right car and the right financing option to match.

WHAT IS INSTANT FINANCING?

Since the very beginning, Dealer Inspire’s mission has been to build a connected platform that empowers website visitors to become walk-in customers — accelerating the car buying journey and maximizing dealer ROI.

Instant Financing within Online Shopper ushers in the next-gen retailing era that allows customers to get a pre-approved, locked-in payment from your lenders on the vehicle of their choice.

Unlocking this experience builds trust, speeds up the car buying process, and provides a more positive shopping experience.

IT’S YOUR IN-STORE F&I OFFICE, ONLINE

If you close your eyes and imagine what it would be like if all of the capabilities of your F&I office were available for consumers to engage with on your dealership’s website, then you should inherently understand just how powerful Online Shopper has become now that it includes the ability to provide Instant Financing Approvals.

We built this technology to use your lenders, your rates, and your markups to provide customers with accurately priced, ready-to-close deals.

It also integrates directly with your existing credit application system (RouteOne or DealerTrack), meaning you no longer have to spend time or energy manually entering credit information into your system to secure the sale. That makes it a huge upgrade over a standard form-based credit application, or other less sophisticated “digital retailing” tools.

But it’s not just the tech that has us excited — it’s the fact that it’s providing benefits to both shoppers and dealers alike. Dealers who joined our pilot program have generated more finance opportunities, more profit per vehicle, and a faster overall turn of their inventory.

And while that covers the “F”, what about the “I”? We have you covered there as well. In addition to providing Instant Financing Approvals, you can also import your extended warranty offerings, valuable protection products, and dealer installed vehicle accessories into Online Shopper, completely rounding out the F&I profit center within your digital platform.

INTEGRATED FOLLOW-UP COMES STANDARD

Although a self-serve, online car buying experience is impactful, I think we all understand that only a small percentage of shoppers will complete the entire purchase process online before interacting with your dealership to schedule a delivery.

That’s why we’ve built SMS and Email capabilities directly into the dealer interface for Online Shopper, complete with “magic links” that take shoppers instantly back to their digital garage to continue their car buying journey. This gives you the ability to collaborate with your customers online, virtually desk their deals, and keep each customer moving towards completing their purchase. 

And if you’re working with a customer who already has their pre-approved payment, then you can focus your outbound follow-up on providing additional product recommendations that grow your margins, while also giving your customers time and space to consider each on its own merit, without the pressure to decide on the spot. 

SELL BETTER, FASTER, EVERYWHERE

When you activate Instant Financing, you’re providing your customers with the services and tools they want and need. This makes the car buying process easier, faster, and more transparent for everyone.

I should also note that whether you use Online Shopper or not, Cars.com subscribers can upgrade their marketplace listings with the same Instant Financing experience as well to drive even more pre-approved, ready-to-close customers to your store. 

Are you ready to unlock the next-gen retailing experience on the Dealer Inspire Connected Platform today? Drop us a line, and we’ll get you set up!

Let’s Do This

LIVE With Lopes: Why You Should Switch to Google Analytics 4 Today

February 20th, 2023 by

“Universal Analytics was built for the Internet of the past. If you wait until July 1, 2023 to turn on Google Analytics 4, you won’t have any historical performance data to reference. This is a brand new system that has little in common with the previous version.”

Brook Barker, Director of Analytics @ Dealer Inspire

STAY AHEAD OF THE GAME

By proactively preparing our partner’s websites for the transition to Google Analytics 4, we’re fulfilling our mission to help future-proof your dealership so you can sell, buy, and service more vehicles, more efficiently with a proven ROI backed by real data.

Want to know more about how we can help you grow your dealership’s business? Drop us a line and we’ll show you how.

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LIVE With Lopes: How Your Dealership’s Reputation Boosts Your Bottom Line

February 16th, 2023 by

“Reputation is a million dollar word… it can make you millions of dollars or it can cost you millions.”

Frank Lopes

MAXIMIZE THE VALUE OF YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION

DealerRater has the solutions you need to make the most out of your online reputation. See what’s right for you, and let’s chat about how we can work together to achieve your goals.

GET STARTED

LIVE With Lopes: How To Maximize Your Digital Footprint

February 14th, 2023 by

“For every 1 customer that you see in your physical showroom, there are 74 at the same time in your digital showroom. What does your staffing look like?”

Darren Haygood, GM Dealer Inspire

START WINNING THE FUTURE, TODAY

Want to put these ideas into action with technology that empowers your customers and your team? Let’s connect, and we’ll help you future-proof your digital showroom experience today!

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How to Implement an Effective Search Engine Marketing Strategy

December 7th, 2022 by

Search Engine Marketing. Search Advertising. Paid Search. Dig Ad. PPC. Whatever you call it — placing online advertisements in search engine results has been a strategy embraced by car dealers for about as long as there have been search engines to place ads on.

That said, because search engine advertising has been a tried and true tactic in a holistic digital marketing strategy, it can come with a false sense of security that it “just works” all on its own. Unfortunately that’s not true in today’s digital environment. In fact, if you’re not actively monitoring and adjusting your campaigns, you could end up wasting an extraordinary amount of your budget on unoptimized or poorly targeted campaigns.

Also, if you’ve only been focused on Google Ads all these years, you’re missing out on reaching a significant, local, in-market car shopping audience that uses other search engines to find their next vehicle and dealer to buy from (more on that below).

A great example of what can happen when you’re not actively inspecting your SEM campaigns was revealed by Brian Pasch back in 2021 when he dropped a comprehensive report exposing that stunningly few sales opportunities were being generated from the massive amounts of money car dealers are investing in their search engine marketing efforts.

The biggest revelation was that, after analyzing 1 million phone calls which originated from call extensions on sales-focused Google Search Ads, only 12.8% of those hard conversions turned out to be actual sales opportunities — with the vast majority going to dealerships’ service or parts departments.

Considering that the report estimates that nearly 93% of all Google Ads budgets are paid for by variable operations (sales), and not fixed operations (service & parts), you can see how uncovering this data would have an unnerving impact on car dealers. 

HOW DOES DEALER INSPIRE COMPARE?

At Dealer Inspire we take a lot of pride in our ability to maximize ROI for dealers on search — we started out as a search marketing agency after all — and it’s something we take pride in to this day. Our team and tech are known for effectively turning our dealers’ investments in sales campaigns into sales opportunities. In fact, our results were totally flipped from the report with 88% of the engagement on our new and used sales campaigns leading to new and used sales actions.

This isn’t about bragging rights though. Brian’s report was, as usual, a really insightful and important look at how dealer budgets are being wasted by poor digital marketing execution — and whether you’re with us or not, we want to help you execute the most effective search engine marketing strategy possible.

So let’s break down why these wasteful campaigns exist, how you can fix them, and then how you can expand your search presence beyond Google’s walled garden.

WHAT AGENCIES ARE DOING WRONG

There’s a lot to unpack here. We’re going to stay high-level and talk about the broad keyword targeting that burns through budgets, but there are many variables throughout the journey that add up — from ongoing campaign optimization, to the relevancy and quality of the ads themselves, to the landing page experience, to your website’s engagement tracking, to your “conversion” reporting, and then back to the beginning as those “conversions” feed back into your optimization.

Bottomline: you need a partner that:

  • Handles your campaigns with love and care
  • Has the technology to target ready-to-buy shoppers
  • Can ensure seamless experiences and attribution from your ads to your website
  • Can transparently report on the real-world outcomes of your investment.

Let’s get into the specifics.

GOING BROAD IS BURNING BUDGETS

So what does a wasteful search ad look like? It probably looks like the one below.


On the surface, this ad seems pretty legit, right? That’s because it is. It’s not the ad itself that’s the problem here. When you dive deeper into the campaign, you’ll see that this dealer is bidding on the very broad term Hyundai Dealer Near Me. Now, don’t get me wrong, that’s a keyword you’d want coverage for if you can meet the following conditions:

  1. You’re already maximizing your paid search budget for low-funnel, ready-to-buy keywords
  2. Your Fixed Operations department is helping cover the budget for that campaign. 

Because you don’t know the intent behind a broad search like that, you need to understand that the searcher could be looking to buy a car, but they’re just as likely to have a service related question.

With over half of the calls from the ads in these broad “dealer near me” campaigns going to service, running a 100% sales focused ad, powered only by the budget of your sales department, reduces your ROI by taking away valuable sales opportunities from your sales team.

You obviously want to be present in the SERP for broad queries like {OEM} Dealer {City} or {OEM} Dealer Near Me, but unless you can afford to pay for all those searches forever, the top of the funnel is where you want to rely on strong SEO and Local SEO services to earn those clicks for free.

With a holistic SEO Strategy in play, you can achieve top rankings in Google’s Local Map Pack and Organic Rankings, giving you the highest level of visibility possible for applicable queries without running ads. The more you invest in your organic presence, the more efficient you can be over the long-term.

WE HAVE THE ANTIDOTE FOR WASTED GOOGLE AD SPEND

So you’re probably wondering, when it comes to paid search advertising, what is Dealer Inspire doing different from everyone else? Well, it really comes down to the fact that our tech and team are able to dynamically focus on really low-funnel searches that indicate a shopper is ready to buy, and then match them with vin-specific vehicles in your inventory, in real time.

We’re so dialed in with the intent behind what a searcher is trying to accomplish with their query, that there’s very little room to mistakenly have a conversion result in anything other than a sales opportunity or engagement. 

“Sales campaigns should be optimized for your cost per sales opportunity (CSO). So wait at the bottom of the funnel for shoppers that are just about to buy a vehicle that you have in stock, and then pounce. Our tech makes that snap decision in real-time. ”

Cara Garvey, Director, Media Enablement @ Dealer Inspire

Our tech can even make instant strategic bidding decisions based on factors like how long a specific vehicle has been in your inventory to efficiently accelerate your turn rate.

SEARCH SMARTER THAN GOOGLE WITH INVENTORY SEARCH ADS ON CARS.COM

Look, Google is smart. But it’s not that smart. It can only provide answers to questions that users specifically ask. It can’t read your mind…at least not yet (and hopefully never). Meaning, if a consumer searches for a Ford Dealer Near Me, Google can’t tell you if that searcher’s intent is sales or service related. But it can serve the searcher a dealer’s available ad and entice that person to tap to call. Again, as we just stated above, this is why there’s so much wasted search advertising spend in auto.

The real opportunity to expand your search presence lies outside of Google. We know that when consumers visit Cars.com, they’re searching to buy a vehicle, not to service one. Because Dealer Inspire is part of the Cars.com family, when you choose us as your digital advertising partner, we’re able to expand your dealership’s search presence beyond Google to showcase your relevant inventory as the first result for Cars.com shoppers who are searching to buy your make and model.

With Inventory Search Ads, not only will you be displaying your most relevant VINs at the top of the search results, but you’ll also be accessing a local, in-market audience of car shoppers that are twice as more likely to buy1 than all other audiences. Plus, when a Cars.com shopper clicks or taps on your inventory search ad, they’ll be taken directly to your VDP on your website.

Combine that with the knowledge that almost half of the shoppers on Cars.com plan to buy within the next 30 days2, and you have the most powerful way to get more bang for your search bucks. How much bang can you expect? Early adopters of Inventory Search Ads on Cars.com, like our partners at Fred Martin Nissan, have experienced impressive results that have yielded a significantly lower cost per click and cost per lead compared to their Google Ads campaigns.

Inventory Search Ads & Google SEM vehicle campaign data 11/15/22 – 11/30/22

In addition, it’s worth stating that in the previously mentioned report regarding wasted Google Ad spend, Brian Pasch provides comprehensive and in-depth coverage detailing how a third party marketplace like Cars.com is going to consist of an audience that is ready, and more likely to buy, than those who are using Google search — so why not make that connection?

START WINNING SALES OPPORTUNITIES

Dealer Inspire is your trusted partner for implementing a search strategy that maximizes your ROI. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you improve your search campaigns, reduce wasted spend, and connect with more local, in-market shoppers — please drop us a line. We’d love to connect with you!

1. Inventory Search Ads Data 11/15-11/30. DI Google SEM data 8/27/22-9/25/22 

2. 47.5% of Cars.com shoppers plan to buy within the next 30 days. Cars.com Consumer Metrics Survey Q3 2022