If your dealership is not using targeted display advertising, banner retargeting, and video pre-roll retargeting, you are missing out on a very affordable way to keep your brand in front of consumers during their car shopping lifecycle. According to Google, 74% of car buyers are in the market over 30 days! But I am getting ahead of myself… I will come back to this point shortly.
As a student of online marketing, I have been noticing that some of the largest online retailers are using a new form of banner advertising: dynamic product banners. Recently, I visited Macys.com to shop for some kitchen goods. I love the color orange. Martha Stewart sells a line of ceramic cast iron pots in orange that are priced much better than Le Creusette. I saw the Martha Stewart pots on sale at Macy’s during the Christmas season.
Martha Stewart Is Following Me
I did not purchase the Martha Stewart “dutch oven” in orange that day. On the following day, I started seeing ads on various websites for the EXACT products that I viewed on Macys.com. The banner ads were NOT static. In fact, it contained ALL the items that I searched for on Macys.com the previous day. The banner ad that I saw is highlighted in green:
Yes, I like to cook! When I clicked on any item in the banner, it took me right to the product page. In the car world, this would be the Vehicle Detail Page (VDP). It caught me off guard at first, and then I saw the genius in the strategy.
So you can imagine my satisfaction when I started to see dynamic car inventory banner ads this month. That’s correct, I have started to see banner ads with scrolling, live inventory based on Vehicle Detail Pages (VDP) that I viewed on automotive websites. I am often mystery shopping dealers or checking out how they merchandise their cars. I am on many retargeting lists, which is fine with me.
Dynamic Automotive Banner Advertising
In January, I started to see dynamic inventory ads running from Cars.com, like the one shown above. The inventory in this vertical banner, scrolls up and down, and showed the Pohanka Auto Group’s cars that I viewed on Cars.com.
More frequently, I have started to see dynamic ads for Chevrolet and Volkswagen dealers. In fact, one of my digitally savvy clients sent me an email yesterday, asking me how they could get dynamic inventory in their banner ads. They sent to me the screen shot below:
This dealer had visited Emich Volkswagen’s website and viewed a few cars that they had in stock. The banner ads that were following him on Edmunds.com, had the EXACT inventory that they viewed on Emich’s Cobalt website. The arrows in the ad, allows the consumer to scroll through inventory!
So, I assumed that Cobalt must have started to offer this cutting edge advertising product, just like Macys.com is using.
Note To Self: Call Cobalt And Get The Scoop
My hunch was confirmed; Cobalt is jumping ahead of the competition by offering dealers dynamic banner ads with live inventory, based on which VDP’s the consumer viewed. This is very cool! This takes retargeting to an entirely new level for car dealers.
Do all Cobalt dealers have this advertising product activated? Not yet.
Dealers first have to be on the Cobalt DAP program. Secondly, they have to spend more than the minimum investment, to trigger these advanced ads. For example, if a GM Dealer, using a Cobalt website, spends more than the base amount for a DAP ($2,000/mo) the supplemental Flex DAP spend (this can be $1,000-10,000 depending on market) now gives them this capability and access to premium ad inventory.
Note to dealers: If you are only spending $2,000 – $3,000 a month on paid search, you are most likely not spending nearly enough to be found 24×7 on desktop and mobile devices. Also, if you have a minimum SEM budget you most likely do not have enough funds for some of the most effective advertising strategies like retargeting: display and video.
It is time to review your budget and strategy! If you need any assistance with that process, come and see me at DMSC or NADA and I will show you our media planning tool. You can also discuss your coverage with your paid search management company, and if you have a Cobalt platform, your ProCare representative.
Edmunds is one of the sites that is included in the Cobalt Premium Network coverage. Dealers in Cobalt’s Flex DAP programs automatically get retargeting ad placements on Edmunds and the other sites in the Cobalt Premium Network. The ads served on these sites include dynamic inventory retargeting ads, which feature the actual vehicles that the shopper specifically looked at on the dealer website, and these are typically the dealer’s best performing ads.
Cobalt’s Premium Ad Network
The Cobalt Premium Network includes sites and publishers such as:
- Kelly Blue Book
- AOL Autos
- US News & World Report Automotive
- O.co/Cars (Overstock.com)
- Car and Driver
- NADA Guides
Of course, the Cobalt program leverages the Google Display Network (GDN), which has a very wide reach.
Cobalt is one of the sponsors of the 2013 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference; where strategy and process intersect. If you are using a Cobalt OEM website, DMSC will be a perfect opportunity to review the current digital advertising products that Cobalt has developed. I would guess that many Cobalt dealers are not using this new, and very exciting, display advertising product that is available to them.In fact, I will be co-hosting a Keynote Presentation with Chris Reed, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Cobalt and I am sure that Chris will be able to answer dealer questions about this new product. So, if you are excited as I am with this powerful new banner advertising strategy, for retargeting customers that have been to your website, I would suggest that you join me at DMSC for clear answers on how to best leverage this new strategy.
I hope to see you in Orlando. Find out why retargeting is a great way to connect with “open minded” car shoppers. It may just be your secret weapon in 2013. (Secret to your competitors!)