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Periodically we publish thoughts and ideas about he state of the web and the state of structured data publishing. Topics range from small business marketing to cost efficient advertising.

Advertising Used Cars Online – Why Specific is Always Better

Advertise Used Cars Online

Advertising cars online is maddening. With an inventory that is constantly in flux, by the time you organize and hit “go” on an AdWords campaign the car could be driven off the lost.

This phenomenon means AdWords campaign don’t get the love they need. Instead of constantly pruning and updating AdWords (like a good campaign manager does) car dealerships rely on buying keywords like “Honda Dealership” or “Buy Dodge Vehicle.”  Here’s the reality of buying those general keywords:

  • Competitive – Let’s say you’re a Dodge dealership. You want to promote your inventory of Dodge trucks and cars. You know who else wants to do exactly that? Every other Dodge dealership in the area. They’re buying the same, general, keywords that you’re buying. Keywords like “Dodge dealership” or  “Buy a dodge truck.” More competition means you pay more per click. Which brings us to our next point…
  • Expensive – Google AdWords uses an auction system to calculate how much a keyword cost you. If you’re willing to bid up to $6 for a click on your ad, but there are four competitors willing to bid $10, your ad will most likely show up in the fifth spot. There is a huge drop-off in click-rate the further down the search results page. If you’re in the fifth position you may as well not exist.
  • Ineffective – General keywords bring in customers who generally aren’t sure what they want. They’re in the research phase of buying a car—maybe they want a Dodge today, but after some cursory research they’ll find out that a Honda is more in line with their lifestyle. Buying keywords aimed at someone in the research phase attracts a customer who is harder to sell and takes longer to close. Costing you time and money.

Build Specific Car Ads to Sell Specific Cars

When we work with car dealerships we emphasize how important it is to get specific. Because when your keyword, your ad copy and landing page all match up with the customer’s expectation you see a better ROI and a surge in high-quality leads.

For example, you would build out specific ad groups for a 2011 Dodge Ram in your inventory and also the 2012 Dodge Durango. By being specific, some interesting things begin to happen:

  • Better Ad Performance – As your ads gets specific, you’ll see a better click-through rate, quality score and better overall ad performance. While your impressions may be small, every other statistic of the ad will rise. Why? Because you’re delivering a relevant message to customers searching for the exact items you have in your inventory. Our ads see a click-through rate around 10%!
  • Quality Leads – When you match the expectation of the customer, you’re going to generate better leads. When a customer types “2012 Dodge Durango” into a search engine, you know that they want to click an ad that parrots that search term back to them. If you can do that, you’ll capture customers who already know what they want. It’ll be the easiest sale your team ever makes.
  • Cost-Effective – By only showing ads to customers looking for the cars in your inventory, you’ll see your advertising budget go further. Lower competition allows you to bid less aggressively on keywords and stretch your budget further.


By building out specific campaigns in AdWords you’ll see an increase in quality leads. While it’s time consuming when done properly, it’s worth it to help out your bottom line.

Want to learn more about advertising specific cars? Get our case study.

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Inventory-based advertising is a better way to advertise

Since we're generating specific ads based on a business' inventory, ads are only shown to customers that are ready to buy those products.

This mitigates waste and ensures that you only get clicks that have a better chance of leading to a sale. Inventory-based ads help you skip past the bartering and get right to the sale. Meaning you can spend less time maintaining ads and more time taking care of your business.

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