Understanding the Difference Between Search vs. Interrupted Digital Ads

Rod Stuckey | 11/11/2020

We’ve worked with well over a thousand dealers of all sizes and brands in every corner of the country and  often get asked the question:  “Should I do Facebook or Google, Instagram or You Tube, Search or Display and Re-Targeting?”  This all gets pretty confusing with so many generic terms like Pay Per Click and Digital Advertising.

Below is some clarification as well as a list of pros and cons with a different perspective on how to answer that overwhelming question. 

1.    Search Advertising: This is primarily Google Ads and is your basic sponsored listing that shows up when someone searches in Google (Formerly AdWords - I’m going to leave out Bing and Yahoo for the sake of this article because Google is the 800 pound gorilla). 

•    Hot Traffic from current in the market consumers.
•    Excellent source to conquest new in the market consumers who haven’t done business with you in the past. 
•    Low funnel leads with higher conversion opportunity. 

•    Arguably you’re paying for traffic you could have gotten for free through organic. 
•    Often shopping for the best price.
•    Because of its auction type bidding, can get pricey in competitive areas. 

2.    Interests / Interruption Advertising: Paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, Google Display Network and YouTube. *Side note: Facebook owns Instagram and Google owns YouTube. 

•    Warm traffic that found you while not really planning to.
•    Users are seeking an escape on this media and your products provide an escape. 
•    Typically very affordable.
•    May not currently be in the market. (Higher Funnel Lead Opportunity)
•    Less likely to convert into an actual lead on your site. 
•    Potentially paying for wasteful clicks. 

With regards to Search ads, by now you’re likely familiar with the common KPI’s of impressions, clicks, click through rate, conversions, and conversion rates. And, that’s all good stuff.  It’s refreshing to pay for advertising and have some data to back up your decision. However, all clicks and conversions are not equal and unfortunately we don’t have uniformity in how these metrics are being calculated. So, it can be difficult to compare apples to apples with your dealership’s results and your peers in a 20 group. 

For starters, how many of your clicks and conversions came from your Dealership’s name searches versus those who directly search for the year, make, model of their interest. Anytime you must “pay per click” for your dealership’s name, you can’t help but wish you’d have gotten that same click for free from the Map Pack or your organic listing. They may have just been looking for your phone number to call and check on their parts on order  or unit in service, and therefore you haven’t really earned a positive ROI on that paid click. In contrast, the person who is in the market for a new unit, has no real loyalty or affiliation with a local dealer and is just searching for a 2021 Polaris Ranger - Now that’s a click and a conversion your happy to pay for. 

For the record, I’m not saying that paying for clicks to your own dealership is all bad, it really is a dealer preference and budget decision. Many metro markets are super competitive, and some are downright ruthless. 

Then there is the interruption marketing. This can be with Facebook and Instagram paid ads and boosted posts, as well as on YouTube and the Google Display Network, which are those annoying pop up ads on the weather channel, Fox News, and other high traffic media sites.  These are paid ads that don’t typically convert as well as search, but they do get a lot of clicks to your site for a very reasonable ad spend. 

Because FB and IG are closed loop universes, they have tons of demographic and psychographic data on their users likes and interests and therefore can serve up ads that are almost creepy they are so relevant. Google’s getting better and better at interruption marketing on their platforms as YouTube continues to capture more interest information from its user base.  It’s also possible to build lookalike audiences and even upload your email lists to make your campaigns perform better. 

And this brings me to re-targeting, also known as re-marketing, whereby your ads are served up to those who have visited your website. These ads are sometimes referred to as stalker ads, but in reality, are highly targeted with zero waste unless the customer has already purchased from you. Conversions from re-targeting are usually low funnel. 
But, here’s where things get tricky for dealership specific search and interruption marketing. What most consider to be Google and Facebook advertising is simply building out a few generic ads, set the budget and geo-targeting, and then letting them run all month long usually routing the traffic to generic pages (which only create high funnel conversions).  

This works and gets solid results, but there is a much better way. 

We call it Dynamic Inventory advertising. With Dynamic search we download your website inventory every night and programmatically build an ad for every unit that links directly to the vehicle details page of that unit. So, if you have 250 units in stock, you have a custom ad for each of those rebuilt every night with landing pages completely relevant to the person’s search; therefore, making it a much lower funnel conversion. 

We’re also dialing in Dynamic Advertising for interruption marketing within FB, IG, and the Google Display network through re-targeting. So when a customer visits your website and views a specific vehicle, we then retarget them with that very unit and similar ones in your inventory through paid ads on FB, IG, and Google Display/YouTube and link them back to that VDP rather than your home page. It’s super trick and produces much lower funnel conversions with practically zero waste. 

So, to answer the question, “Should I do Facebook or Google, Instagram or You Tube, Search versus Display and Re-Targeting? The answer is, you absolutely should be doing it all because it flat out works and the results are so transparent and so quantifiable.  

You really should give it a try, and we’d love the opportunity to earn your business, so give us a call or shoot us a text at 770-692-1750.