PPC For The Automotive Industry

Ellie Burns Written by Ellie Burns

6 min read   -  18th July, 2023

PPC For The Automotive Industry

If you’re an automotive dealership and aren’t taking advantage of PPC campaigns, you might be missing out on opportunities to introduce new clients to your brand at scale.

In the offline world, you’re competing with local dealers and huge online brands. So it’s important to stand out from the crowd in the best possible way.

We know that many local companies are still relying on just word-of-mouth referrals for new leads. As specialists in PPC management, we also know how brilliant the results can be for local automotive dealers who take their advertising online.

This article will introduce you to some of the best ways to plan out your PPC campaign.

The challenges of automotive PPC

Let’s be upfront about this and discuss the cost of PPC in your industry. It’s a highly competitive market, so you need a strategy that maximises your budget, not a one-size-fits-all approach to your PPC campaigns.

But given the importance of standing out from the crowd, how can you do this? Simply by choosing the right ad type for specific ad campaigns and products. We’ll go through this later in the article, so keep reading.

Branded automotive PPC campaigns

A branded PPC campaign is designed to help you establish a credible brand identity online. This increases brand engagement online before you’ve even created specific campaigns for models or ranges of vehicles. But why is this so important?

Customers are researching extensively online before making a purchase, with countless options available to them. Recognisable brands are therefore an invaluable asset that you need to be taking advantage of through branded campaigns.

If potential customers recognise you, they’re more likely to buy from you. It sounds simple, but we’ve seen time and again just how valuable a branded campaign can be to any company, regardless of size.

What’s driving sales in automotive PPC

1. Comparison

Sales in automotive PPC are most often driven by comparison. You have thousands of consumers in a highly engaged online community, where users want to be guided to make the best purchase for their requirements. They’re looking for you to take them to what is more useful for them. PPC just makes this process easier for you as a company.

2. Specialised searches

Within this group of active searchers, are those who are chasing more specialised searches. Some users know what they’re looking for the minute they head to Google for a search. They already know which model or type of vehicle they will be buying. If you’ve got that model available, you need to be the one they think of when they search or be the company that stands out to them instantly when they search.

Once again, the right PPC campaign can be the difference between the user discovering your brand and bookmarking it for future reference, vs another company taking centre stage and bagging another customer in the process.

Audience types in automotive PPC

An effective automotive PPC campaign lies in a strong understanding of your audience types. After all, you don’t want your paid campaigns showing up to uninterested users. Here are a few key audiences to have in mind when creating your first campaigns.

“The locals”

This audience is personal and specific. They live just down the road, and probably already know about you. This is your opportunity to make your ads relevant to them.

“Just looking”

This audience is taking their time in searching for all sorts of options before making any sort of purchase. There’s no need to rush them. They want brand recognition from your company, inspiration and a slow sell. 

“Knows what they want”

This audience is moments away from making a purchase. They’ll respond best to specialised ads that are specific to the brand and model. They’ll know the features they’re after, include these in the ad copy. They’ll understand more specialist terms.

Ad types for automotive PPC

Now that you know who you’d like to market to, it’s time to tailor your ad types to each audience selection. With so many Google ad types available to you, this can seem confusing at first. So here’s a guide to some of the best ad types for each audience to get you started.

"The locals" 

Local campaign type

Google knows how vital this audience is, so has conveniently created an aptly named “local ads campaign” type. This is perfectly tailored to serve people who want to visit you in person. As these users are local and probably know you already, it makes sense to market directly to them in a way that is personal and unique. They’re not just another number to your business and already have a connection to your brand. This is where you reinforce that.

Social ads

Keep it personal with social ads. These are little reminders of your brand when the user isn’t actively searching for your brand name or product. Social ads will appear on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms. It can be a highly effective way of developing brand recognition and presenting very visual ads to your customers.

“Just looking”

Search Ads

These ads appear at the top of search results whenever someone searches for a relevant keyword. (In the PPC world, this top position is always highly valuable!) If you tailor this to your geographic location, you’re more likely to get realistic leads via your ads, reducing spend and wasted clicks from users who are less likely to buy from you.

Display Ads

The clue’s in the name of these ads. Google Display ads are almost entirely visual. Cars look sleek, aspirational, and characterful, especially to someone looking to make a purchase. Maximise this with some slick photos and video content that you can use directly in Display campaigns.

“Knows what they want” 

Search Ads

Specificity is key here, and by tailoring your ad copy to the more specific terms associated with various car models, you can bring in the most specific searches to your brand. This means you can capture the attention of users who are looking for particular models or brands, and bring up the very best results for them.

Display Ads

Move past words alone with some engaging visuals that grab the user's attention. Consider a future customer for a moment. They’re dreaming of waking up to this car sitting in their driveway, so show them how you can bring that to life through an eye-catching visual.

An effective automotive keyword strategy

Selecting audience types and campaign ad styles is only the first step. Next on the agenda is to consider keywords. These are the search terms that people will type in that bring up your ads, so they need to be relevant and popular.

1. Detail is key with keywords

The best way to start is by planning out your campaigns and keeping things specific. Write out every brand, model, and offer that you’re looking to showcase.

Once you’ve got a rough overview of everything your company is offering to customers, organise your categories of keywords before you build them out, this way you’ll leave no stone unturned.

2. Know when to use keyword types

Keywords have different match types, which drastically change which ads appear based on what users type when searching. Broad and specific keywords behave very differently, and you need to reserve your budget for the most effective keywords in your campaign. If you’re looking to understand keyword match types, turn to an expert (we can also help you in that area - get in touch.)

Summary for automotive PPC campaigns

Any modern automotive company can benefit from the flexibility and scalable workflow of a well-planned and maintained PPC campaign. But knowing where to start, and who you’d like to target your ad campaigns to, can go a long way in saving you money and bringing in customers.

Whether you’re looking to introduce new customers to your brand or ignite an existing community of more local customers, PPC has options that can bring your brand to the forefront of users' minds.

Still not sure where to start? We can help you with that. We have worked with automotive clients so know the industry well.

It starts with discovery

Speak to us today and let’s start growing your business.

Get in touch Get in touch

It starts with discovery

Speak to us today and let’s start growing your business.