Optimize Your Dealership’s Ad Budget & Hit The PPC Sweet Spot.


As you no-doubt already know, it’s been a historically volatile few years in Automotive. It really does feel as if everything is changing at an incredible pace. Between the global COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting shutdowns throughout our society, and the burgeoning supply chain crisis in retail automotive: many dealers are left wondering how to adapt to this ‘new normal’.

One of the areas where these changes are most obvious is in our digital marketing practices. Many dealers, possibly yourself included, have seen their digital marketing budgets cut right in half during the last 18 months or so while the inventory crunch has changed the way our industry does business. However, while a lot of dealers seem to believe that the simple act of arbitrarily cutting their marketing budget is the way to solve these new challenges; we believe that optimization is the key factor in reducing your ad spend without reducing your sales results.

It’s important to be able to navigate this new stretch of pavement and adapt not only to changing market conditions, but to evolving consumer behaviors as well. We want to take a minute to give your dealership a few tips on how to do more with less, how to hit your digital marketing sweet spot and deliver better results for your sales operations.

  1. Cut out the irrelevant and low performing ad placements- In 2022, your dealership does not need to be everywhere at once. It’s important to keep in mind that most digital agencies get paid based on ‘how much’ you spend, and not on the overall ROI provided. It does not benefit your dealership to spend on channels that are not leading to high conversion rates and sales, particularly since you don’t have surplus inventory to move. Stick with what you know converts, and don’t fall victim to the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ mentality. You don’t have to focus on ad volume so much as conversion volume. One common way dealers can optimize their placements is to make sure you are not buying keywords for vehicle models that you don’t even have in inventory unless you’re able to Custom Order it.
  2. Prioritize high performing keywords on search and spend less time & money on display. A lot of dealers really love graphic and video display ads, and these types of promotions can be very effective when used properly, but in this limited inventory climate- it can be a waste of ad dollars to focus only on display impressions. Unless you’re one of the lucky dealers with a large inventory of on-the-ground vehicles, you should be laser-focused on optimizing your budget towards car-buyers who’ve already begun the shopping process in earnest.
  3. Negative Keywords & Audience Optimization Examine your dealerships use of “negative keywords” to filter out the search terms that aren’t converting or relevant. Use “exact match” terms with a higher bid strategy to make sure you’re giving the real “buyers” your best effort. Also, simple things like excluding irrelevant audiences (such as children’s YouTube channels) can make a big difference in your campaigns ROI.
  4. Retargeting, retargeting, retargeting. One of the most chronically underutilized paradigms in digital marketing. Your dealership has already paid a lot of money to reach local car shoppers and deliver them to your website, or to a landing page. They are clearly interested in your message because they clicked into your funnel, but for whatever reason- they did not convert on-the-spot. This is where retargeting comes in, it allows you to silo that prospect and continue delivering contextual and relevant messages to try to bring them back in for a sale-conversion. You can even utilize graphic and video display creatives for this if you’re retargeting on Facebook or Google. It allows you to deliver a series of relevant follow up messages for a fraction of what you spent to get them in the funnel in the first place.

Think about retargeting like this: If a customer drives onto your lot, and spends time with a salesperson looking at vehicles, looks at numbers, but doesn’t buy today, you wouldn’t just cease communication and give up, would you? No! Your salesperson would follow up with that prospect to bring them back in to complete the purchase. Retargeting is just another name for follow-up. It cost’s far less and produces better overall results, which benefits your overall budget.


We hope these simple tips will give your dealership something to think about the next time you’re planning out digital marketing budgets. If you’d like some help executing on these strategies and others, reach out to the Autofusion sales team for a free digital marketing consultation today!

Call 1-800-410-7354 to learn more today, or Schedule A Consultation!