If the theme of 2020 was “pivot,” with dealerships needing to make rapid and often significant changes to their paid search strategies in response to the pandemic, we’re proposing that the theme of 2021 will be “specificity.”
Whether specificity will become possible through enhanced technologies or will shift from a nice-to-have to a must-have based on performance, get ready for more granularity in 2021. Here are the paid search trends and tactics that car dealers should expect to employ to outpace the competition and grow their sales in the new year.
2021 Digital Advertising Trends for the Auto Industry
Smart bidding isn't going anywhere. In fact, we're assuming that at some point in 2021 manual bidding will no longer be an option.
Smart Bidding uses Google’s machine learning algorithms to automatically adjust bids with the goal of maximizing your ad spend and improving your campaign results. It’s an automated bidding strategy that can save advertisers time and energy. Because we anticipate it becoming Google’s preferred bidding method in 2021, we’re preparing for this change by running tests against manual bidding strategies to determine how best to leverage Smart Bidding. As a Premier Google Partner, we’re also sharing our feedback with Google to continue to optimize the results of automated bidding.
Though many businesses looked for Facebook alternatives in 2020, Facebook has regained its foothold in the market and we expect that the advertising platform will continue to take a fair share of advertising dollars in 2021.
Facebook is continually adding new ad and targeting types to the platform, and performance is continuing to improve. With lead form and dynamic ads, Facebook offers inventory-based catalog ads that make the advertising platform especially effective for auto dealerships to generate high-quality, low-funnel leads.
Personalized ads are no longer a nice-to-have. They’re now essential to keep up with the competition and compel leads to convert. Serving personalized creative across search, display, and video is a must-have strategy for auto dealers in 2021.
To provide the most personalized ad experience, leverage a dynamic ad technology that syncs your website with your ad campaigns to ensure you’re including as many relevant vehicle details in your ads as possible. Pair the technology with remarketing campaigns to bring website visitors back to your site with the exact inventory they showed an interest in.
As in-person shopping moved online and dealerships adjusted to less facetime with customers, clear conversion tracking and attribution became essential for calculating ROI. This need for clear measurement and results will continue into 2021, as more dealerships leverage user-level tracking and analytics software.
If you’re not already using a lead management software to understand where your leads are coming from and what channel each sale can be attributed to, now is the time to start. In 2020, we rolled out real-time reporting integrated with Foureyes® technology to provide our dealer partners with real-time insight into their results. We’ll continue to build out these live dashboards and prioritize clear measurement and attribution in the new year.
If you’re still waiting until after the month ends to review your results—get in touch to learn more about advanced reporting from Adpearance.
Over the past few years, there has been a shift across the auto industry toward transparency that we’re happy to see. Dealerships are getting better access to their own data and OEM programs are encouraging open relationships between vendors and dealer partners. We expect to see this emphasis on transparency continue in 2021, especially around services, technology, and reporting, and are looking forward to the positive impact it will have for dealers and OEMs alike.
Get a Jump Start on Your 2021 Paid Search Strategy
Ready to revamp your current strategy? Looking for a new marketing partner for 2021? Reach out for a free digital analysis and custom-built recommendations for the new year.