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STAY ON TARGET WITH YOUR DEALERSHIP’S DIGITAL ADVERTISING

A wave of new digital privacy rules for tracking personal data have been making headlines as privacy concerns reach an all-time high. Google and Apple both recently announced key changes regarding the use of consumer information on their platforms — impacting both how data is collected and how it can be used in targeting digital ads. 

Advertisers everywhere are wondering “How will the changes impact my campaigns?”, and “Will I be able to reach in-market shoppers effectively?”

We’ve been carefully watching and preparing for these policy changes, and we’ve got a game plan to help you navigate the new rules of engagement. We did a whole webinar about it! You can stream it for free to get the strategies, tips, and even a few tools to help you stay on target and make the most of every digital shopper.

With the proper optimizations to your campaign targeting and website, we can make sure you are prepared to face the new era in ad targeting. We have 5 simple strategies to see you through. 

1. ADJUST YOUR GOOGLE AIM

When Google rolled out its new Personal Ad Policy in October, the auto industry was naturally concerned. Under the new guidelines developed to improve equal access to housing, employment, and credit opportunities —certain ads could no longer be targeted or excluded based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP Code.

This means any ads that contain finance offers in the ad headline or copy, and any ads with a landing page that references finance/payment options or directly link to a credit application (every page on your website, since it is usually in the menu), can no longer be targeted by ZIP Code. Talk about a curveball for automotive dealers who frequently use zip codes for precision targeting and to meet OEM requirements. 

Even if you can’t target by zip code, there are some ways you can continue to target shoppers without over-extending your reach.

  • Utilize Google’s Locations Report: This report will still allow access to performance metrics based on ZIP Codes, even when not directly targeting them.
  • Directly Target Cities/Towns: Before switching to radius targeting, try directly targeting the city/town of your dealership, as well as any of the surrounding cities that you would have previously targeted. If you utilize Google’s Locations Report to see which ZIP Codes are performing best, you can use that data on a website like Open Data Soft, which will match ZIP Codes to the city they represent for a quicker transition.
  • Plot Your Sales Data: If you are a Dealer Inspire client, we can plot your DMS data on a map to visualize which areas around your dealership generate the most sales. This can help you identify the cities, as well as optimize your target radius size, allowing you to dial in your targeting where you’re most likely to make the biggest impact.

Now that we have a few months of data under our belt, we know these alternative targeting strategies WORK. In the 90 days since Google updated their personal advertising policy, our clients on average actually saw increases in their campaign performance. Impressions increased by 7.8%, clicks went up 1.23%, and the conversion rate was up 1.56%.

2. FUEL YOUR ADVERTISING WITH FIRST-PARTY DATA

Without the precision targeting of ZIP Codes, it makes even more sense to leverage a combination of first and third-party audience data to augment your targeting efforts and prioritize your bid strategy.

We have exclusive access to Cars.com’s high-quality audience data, so once those shoppers perform a Google search, we prioritize their bids because we know they are more likely to convert.

We also partner with OEMs who feed us in-market audience data from their Tier 1 websites, which we bid up on, knowing they are likely already decided on brand/model and ready to buy soon. For example, take a look at the incredible results we’ve been able to earn for our Ford clients using FordDirect’s pure audience data.

3. LEVERAGE YOUR OWN DATA 

Your dealership’s first-party data is one of the best sources to improve search performance. When layered into campaigns, your own audiences can significantly improve performance and efficiency. 

Email Matchback Audiences

While adjusting your targeting for customer acquisition, it’s also super important to remember to place a premium on your current customers by leveraging your CRM/DMS data to stay in front of them when they turn to search, whether for service, a lease renewal, or a trade-in / upgrade campaign. Layering in these matchbacks has a huge impact on results for our clients, with a 16% decrease in cost per click, and a whopping 171% increase in click-through rate.

Website Remarketing Audiences

Using your website audience data, we can implement a smarter targeting strategy and tailor ad copy to unique audiences more effectively. When we segment the audience, we can bid up on your past site visitors and show more aggressive offers as these potential customers are more likely to convert since they are already familiar with your brand.

Dynamic Inventory Advertising

You can also set-up your digital advertising to make smart decisions at scale by leveraging data from your own inventory feed. Using Dealer Inspire’s FUEL: Search & Display™, your ads and bidding strategies can be automatically optimized in milliseconds by matching your exact VINs with the right shoppers looking for them.

Even if your geo-targeting isn’t as tight as before the update, you can increase ROI by serving your audience hyper-relevant, dynamic ads tailored to their search query. 

4. PREPARE FOR THE TECH WARS ON SOCIAL

Apple is getting ready to roll out data tracking opt-ins with iOS 14.5, and a war is brewing with Facebook as they are likely to be negatively impacted by the changes. 

With iOS 14.5, Apple is taking a giant step toward data transparency by introducing their App Tracking Transparency Framework. iOS device users will have to explicitly opt-in to having their online activity tracked for each app they use on their iPhone or iPad before opening the app. Facebook argues this will worsen the user’s advertising experience, and limit the ability for small businesses to reach and generate new customers.

Facebook will begin prompting users to opt-in at the same moment Apple gives them the option to opt-out.

Since 81% of American’s think the risks of sharing their data outweighs the benefits of personalized advertising, we expect an overwhelming majority of consumers to opt-out. Either way,  you don’t need to get caught up in the fight. Much like the targeting changes we recommend for Google, a few easy modifications to your social media targeting strategy can keep you right where you want to be: front and center with potential customers. 

5. TAP INTO EXCLUSIVE SOCIAL AUDIENCES

All the same audiences and strategies that boost your search performance can be applied to your social targeting: leveraging pure in-market audiences, your own audience data, and dynamic inventory ads is a powerful combination that will position you to reach your targets. In fact, combining those three elements is increasing our dealers’ CTR by 144.6% and decreasing CPC by 50%.

So let’s focus on the unique ways we can take your social advertising to the next level without sacrificing performance from Apple’s new policy.

Oracle In-Market Data

Through a unique partnership with Oracle, our team can target highly custom in-market audiences on Facebook. These are extraordinarily granular audiences we can use to pinpoint highly specific potential customers from various sources. We can do some pretty amazing things to target owners and leasers of particular makes and models, in-market behavior for particular makes and models, and even auto parts and service buyers. 

For example, you could target consumers who currently drive a Honda Accord and are coming up on the end of their lease, and show them an exclusive offer to upgrade their ride to the 2021 model. That kind of relevancy and personalization can make a huge difference to your campaign performance.

Quorum Foot Traffic Data

We also partner with Quorum, which tracks mobile IDs to the dealership lot and enables sophisticated store visit reporting as well as high-intent Facebook audiences.

For example, you could target shoppers that have visited the CarMax up the road and conquest them with a social message that says “Don’t Pay the Max”, highlighting all the benefits of shopping local with your team. This kind of precision targeting has already proved to increase conversion rate by 2X.

So, even if an iPhone user opts out of  Facebook activity tracking, third-party data relationships provide an avenue to target custom audiences. And while we’ve yet to see the impacts of the Ad Tracking Transparency Framework, we’re confident we can help clients find solutions, just as we did when Google rolled out its changes. 

Together, these two exclusive data partnerships can make a big difference vs. the standard Facebook targeting capabilities that come out of the box, especially with the incoming impact of iOS 14.5.

READY TO SHARPEN YOUR AIM?

Just because the landscape has changed doesn’t mean you need to settle for decreased campaign performance, less traffic, and fewer leads. We’ve proven that with the right attention to detail, careful campaign monitoring, and the right strategies to target and convert shoppers, you can continue attracting and engaging car buyers. Let’s discuss how Dealer Inspire can help you target the right shoppers on the right platforms, no matter what gets thrown our way. 

Let’s Talk Strategy

Brittany Meyer
Brittany Meyer oversees Digital Advertising for Major Accounts at Dealer Inspire. In her tenure with DI, she has crafted unique digital strategies for dealer groups across much of North America. Fueled by her conversations with dealers, she has a secret obsession with inventory analytics and the power of data integrations. Like really obsessed - don’t get her started unless you have a few hours!

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