The ways dealerships spend their money on marketing is changing drastically. More and more we are seeing the money traditionally spent on TV, billboard and newspaper ads is being shifted towards banner/display ads, Search Engine advertising and SEO.
Sea Change by the Numbers
Ad spending in the automotive industry declined across the board in 2009, but now we are beginning to see a dramatic increase in the money invested in online advertising. According to a study done by eMarketer there was a 14% increase in online ad spending in 2011, which pushed the money spent on those ads up to $3.24 billion. The projection of online ad money to be spent by the automotive industry for this year is $3.82 billion, and by 2015 the amount of money spent on online advertising could reach up to $5.80 billion.
In the same eMarketer study it was reported that the money that will be used for online advertising will be largely syphoned out of the money used for traditional advertising avenues like TV ads, print ads or billboards.
But online advertising is not the only place the auto industry is spending money online. Some of the money that is no longer being spent on traditional advertising is being put towards SEO efforts as well. This is an indication that the auto industry is also beginning to place more of an emphasis on SEO as a means to attract consumers. This trend is confirmed by a Kelsey Group Online Dealers & Online Advertising report that found that auto dealerships are already using SEO as one of their top three Internet marketing tactics.
Consumers Using Search Engines to Find Cars
Its no wonder why auto dealerships are spending more money on SEO, because now more than ever consumers are using search engines to look for dealerships and vehicles online. According to J.D. Power and Associates 84% of all new-vehicle buyers now use a search engine during their car shopping process. Of those people, according to a study done by Yahoo and Cobalt, 79% of consumers use the search engines to locate and research auto dealerships, and 72% rely on search engines to help them choose the dealer they will visit.
If you are a dealership and your site isnt ranking well within search engine results than you could be missing out on valuable leads. Revolution Magazine found that 87% of clicks that occur in search engines occur within the organic listings. That is why more and more dealerships are starting to use SEO as their primary means to drive traffic to their sites. Without SEO your chances of ranking high in search engine results increasingly diminish, and most important of all you could be missing out on leads.
Adoption & Importance of SEO
According to exteresauto.com SEO was the top tactic dealers used to drive traffic to their websites. This should come as no surprise as it is found that that SEO was ranked as one of the top two marketing tactics for strongest ROI, along with email marketing, according to Marketing Sherpa. Coupled with the fact that 68% of search engine users only click links that they find on the first page of search engine results, it is no wonder that 41% of auto dealerships reported that they were using SEO as one of their top internet marketing tactics.
And that number continues to grow today. Thats because the importance of SEO cannot be overlooked if you are a dealership. Search engines are now the primary way that consumers find dealerships, and if your website is not ranking in search engine results then consumers will not be able to find you.
Being an auto dealer can be very competitive, especially when it comes to ranking in search engines. With so many people rarely clicking on links past the first page of search results, it is no wonder that auto dealerships are placing more of an emphasis on SEO.