The headline at last year’s Google Automotive Summit was “Disrupt, or be disrupted.” At ZeroSum, we couldn’t agree more. Technology is constantly evolving and auto dealers that don’t keep up will be severely disrupted.
The simple truth is, nearly every auto dealer is already actively marketing online. Auto dealers spent more than 63.5% of their ad budget online in 2021 (Statista). Everyone uses third-party lead providers. Everyone has a website. And, of course, most dealers already are using some form of search engine marketing to drive customer acquisition and engagement.
Dealers can’t remain complacent, however, because keeping up with the Joneses simply isn’t enough. Dealers need to keep finding innovative ways to outwork and out hustle the competition to continue to close sales and increase market share. One of the best is to evolve from a traditional SEM strategy to one that incorporates real-time inventory with artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Traditional SEM Relies Too Much on Human Input
Traditional search engine campaigns rely on carefully selecting the right keywords by anticipating customer wants and needs and predicting what terms they will use as the embark on the vehicle shopping journey. The goal is to drive customers to the dealership website and hopefully sell them a vehicle.
For this approach to be successful, the dealership or its ad agency needs to constantly stay on top of likely search terms. Then, they need to outbid their competitors for these terms to successfully drive website traffic, customer acquisition and engagement.
Of course, there’s a significant downside to this approach. Human error leaves too much to chance. Dealership or agency team members might simply be off in their assessment of what’s trending. They might pay too much for the wrong terms, and worse, target the wrong people.
There is a better way to ensure your search campaign’s success. Incorporating your current inventory with artificial intelligence and machine learning provides a much more targeted and efficient process for finding in-market buyers. Frankly, inventory-based AI driven search is the next must-have for dealers looking for a competitive edge.
ZeroSum MarketAI Gives Dealers a Secret Weapon
With ZeroSum’s MarketAI platform, key words and campaign creative are all based on matching current inventory to local shoppers who are in market right now. Search campaign keywords and bids are dynamically adjusted with artificial intelligence to reflect the vehicles currently in your inventory. In addition, MarketAI creates and runs custom ads to fit each vehicle on your lot by providing important attributes and information such as vehicle price, mileage and trim packages.
When shoppers are actively looking for new and used vehicles, MarketAI showcases your available inventory in real time with keywords and creative targeted to in-market shoppers’ needs. The result is a highly efficient search engine marketing campaign that drives more shoppers to Vehicle Data Pages (VDPs), turns inventory faster and provides a significant ROI.
When inventory-based, AI driven SEM is part of our clients’ marketing mix, the results are astounding. At DCD Automotive, for example, MarketAI search helped the dealership increase inventory turn by 444% while increasing VDP views by 226%.
“Like every other auto dealer, our inventory tanked over the last six months,” said Shawn J. Hanlon, President, New Hampshire Locations at DCD Automotive. “Despite those challenges, ZeroSum helped us increase our sales velocity by 4x! Now we are the market leader.”
Shawn and his team took Google’s advice to heart. The decided to disrupt rather than be disrupted. Market AI search engine marketing was a big reason why.