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New research shows that being there and useful in consumers' initial auto searches leads directly to dealership visits. The brands that want to win sales on the lot need to first win these early micro-moments.

Customers increasingly rely on digital, and especially mobile, to help with their auto purchase journey—to research, find deals, and get real-time auto advice. For example, 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. watches auto content on YouTube once per month.1 Today, these digital interactions influence shoppers' decisions as much as (and potentially even more than) the salesperson on-the-lot. And because we're not yet able to start and finish an auto purchase online, it's critical for brands to win early micro-moments to drive people to the lot.

Be there in early moments to accelerate dealership visits

We conducted a study looking at individual micro-moments and their impact on dealership visits. We found positive correlations between searches in all five of the key auto moments and a visit to the dealership.2

For moments later in the purchase journey it should not be a surprise if a consumer turns up at your lot—for example, when someone searches for where to buy a car.

However, being there in initial moments matters too. Our study shows thatconsumers in their early research moments, such as which-car-is-best or is-it-right for me moments, are signaling intent to visit a dealership within a week.3For brands, then, having a digital presence across all the five key auto micro-moments is critical.

Format matters in driving traffic to the lot Equally important to being there in the initial research phase is being useful with the right content in the right format. For early micro-moments, video is great for engaging consumers. In fact, of people who use YouTube while buying a car, 69% are influenced by it—more than TV, newspapers or magazines.4

For auto consumers, our research shows that YouTube has the greatest impact at the start of the purchase journey. People using YouTube in which-car-is-best moments showed a higher correlation with dealership visits than people using YouTube in other moments.5 Some of the common search terms for shoppers in these moments include: "[brand/make] + reviews," "[brand/make] + specs," and "best luxury cars."

Once consumers have narrowed down their which-car-is-best choices, they want to know if their selection will fit their lifestyle and needs. They're curious about features, options, interiors, and exteriors. Increasingly, they're turning to Image Search to answer these is-it-right-for-me questions. Search interest for "pictures of [automotive brand]" is up 37% year-over-year,6 and 80% of these searches are now happening on mobile.

These image searches can drive consumers to the dealership. In fact, consumers who used Image Search in is-it-right-for-me-moments were more likely to head to the lot than those people using Image Search within other moments.8 In these moments, popular search terms include: "[brand] + sedan models," "[brand/make] + interior," and "[brand/make] + dimensions."

If you want to be one of the few visits that a consumer makes to the dealership, invest in mobile for those early micro-moments too. We can unequivocally say that being there across all five moments is important if you want to turn auto browsing into buying. But don't fall into the trap of thinking that buying decisions only happen at the end of the marketing funnel. If you want to be one of the few visits that a consumer makes to a dealership, invest in mobile for those early micro-moments too.

We can unequivocally say that being there across all five moments is important if you want to turn auto browsing into buying. But don't fall into the trap of thinking that buying decisions only happen at the end of the marketing funnel. If you want to be one of the few visits that a consumer makes to a dealership, invest in mobile for those early micro-moments too.

And don't forget to track the impact of being there in early micro-moments. Tools such as Google store visits or store sales can help OEMs understand the role of these moments in prompting dealership visits, and help your brand drive true business growth.


Digital Trends: Luxury Auto Shoppers July 2016
A data-driven look at the online behavior of luxury auto shoppers.
Read story
And don't forget to track the impact of being there in early micro-moments. Tools such as Google store visits or store sales can help OEMs understand the role of these moments in prompting dealership visits, and help your brand drive true business growth. Sources
1 Google/Ipsos Connect, Mobile Video Study, U.S., n=2503, among adults aged 18-54 who go online at least monthly, Feb. 2016.
2,3,5,8 Google Data, aggregated and anonymized data are based on a sample of U.S. users that have Location History turned on, 2015. Compared foot traffic to any auto dealership between users who searched for an auto keyword within 7 days and those who did not. Auto keywords included in the analysis are the top 500 keywords by auto micro-moment.
4 TNS Media Consumption Report, 2015.
6 Google Trends, September 2015 vs. September 2014, United States.
7 Google Internal Data, September 2015, United States.

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Marketing to Gen Xers? Here's What They're Watching on YouTube

Want some insight for marketing to the so-called "latchkey generation?" Looking for YouTube user demographics? Check out the latest research on Gen X engagement trends on YouTube.
Written by
Netta Gross , Brianne Janacek Reeber
January 2017
Video Consumer Trends Search
Put Google research and insight behind your thinking SUBSCRIBE Generation X, born between the mid-1960s and late '70s, bore witness to the technology revolution. Its members are old enough to remember a time before the internet, but young enough to have adapted quickly to the changing technological landscape. The incentive for brands to engage this generation on YouTube is, in a word, massive. According to Pixability, Gen Xers account for over 1.5B views every day on YouTube.1 To better understand Gen Xers' priorities relative to their YouTube engagement, Google conducted qualitative and survey-based research in partnership with Ipsos Connect and Flamingo.2 The findings? Gen Xers' behavior on YouTube reflects broadly held assumptions about the generation: their ability to self-start, their love for nostalgia, and their desire to be in the know, just to name a few traits. Below, check out the stats behind the YouTube behavior of Gen Xers, and get color commentary on each trend from someone who knows a thing or two about this cohort—Justine Bloome, head of strategy and innovation at media agency Carat. Justine works every day with brands like The Home Depot, MasterCard, General Motors, Disney, Mondelez, and P&G to connect with Gen X audiences. 1) Embracing nostalgia

YouTube is certainly good for a look back. It's almost a time capsule in that way. Remember that jingle you knew every word to as a kid? It's probably on YouTube. Remember that jaw-dropping scene from your favorite crime drama? It's probably on YouTube.

Justine's take on Gen X using YouTube for nostalgia: "I don't think that Gen Xers are any more nostalgic than previous generations. However, their ability to tangibly access their nostalgia—and our ability to observe that behavior through data—has changed. For example, with a number of entertainment and celebrity icons from the '80s and '90s passing on in 2016, I am sure YouTube saw huge spikes in Gen X searches for Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, and others. Part of me also wonders if this is how Gen Xers share these memories with their children—allowing them to experience it firsthand, rather than just hear their parents recount the story." 2) Staying in the know

YouTube is Gen Xers' way to keep a pulse on current events.

Justine's take on Gen X using YouTube to stay in the know: "Gen X grew up with US Weekly and witnessed the dawn of reality TV. Remember 'The Real World' on MTV? 'Survivor?' Gen X had front-row seats to the rapid rise of reality TV and celebrity culture. Gen X also adapted quickly to many groundbreaking technological innovations that sped up access to news, entertainment, and personal connections—think VCRs, CDs, digital portable music players, and mobile phones. And they were early adopters of social media at scale. Staying relevant and not feeling left out is important to their identity, so it makes sense that they turn to YouTube to keep a pulse on current events." 3) DIY on their own terms

For Gen Xers, it's important that they're able to take this how-to content at their own pace. To that end, they report making good use of the pause and replay buttons as they master a new skill.

Justine's take on Gen X using YouTube for DIY on their own terms: "Gen Xers were first known as the 'latchkey generation.' Many grew up in households where both parents worked, so they found themselves home alone more so than previous generations. They took a lot of responsibility for themselves and their siblings, and subsequently developed a sense of independence and willingness to self-start. Gen Xers are now at a place in their lives where they have the means and time to invest in their surroundings, their personal appearance, as well as their health and well-being. Comparatively, Gen Xers are less likely than Millennials to ask others for their opinions, so I am not surprised that Gen Xers use YouTube to figure something out on their own." What this means for brands So why does all of this matter to brand marketers? Because 75% of Gen Xers watch YouTube at least monthly on any device.3 And 64% of Gen Xers bought a product or service they saw in a video on YouTube when they were learning how to do something.4 All of that watching presents a significant opportunity to influence. Sources
1 Pixability Software. All-time data up to Nov. 2016.
2 Google/Ipsos Connect, U.S., YouTube Human Stories: Gen X, n=1,004 among respondents age 35–54 who go online at least monthly, Sept. 2016. Google/Flamingo ethnographic research among 15 respondents age 35–54, Sept. 2016.
3,4 Google/Ipsos Connect, U.S., YouTube Human Stories: Gen X, n=1,004 respondents age 35–54 who go online at least monthly, Sept. 2016.


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How mobile has changed the way we search, based on 10+ years of eye-tracking studies

How has the rise of mobile changed the way people view Google SERPs? Contributor Kristi Kellogg summarizes a session from SMX East in which Mediative's Chris Pinkerton discusses the results of eye-tracking studies.

Chris Pinkerton, the vice president of business development at Mediative, has been tracking the ways viewers look at the Google search engine results page (SERP) since 2003. In that time, Mediative’s eye-tracking studies have revealed major shifts in the way users consume the SERP.

At SMX East 2016, he explored the ways the proliferation of mobile devices have deeply impacted user search behavior on both mobile and desktop searches.

Pinkerton asserts that search activity, psychologically speaking, is mindless activity. It’s mindless because of the habits that form with the devices we use.

Chris Pinkerton

Habits are a very powerful thing to start to understand. Developing a habit of consuming information on a desktop in a certain way changes the way you consume content.

Looking back at 2003, Google became the dominant search engine because it drove people to find information faster than its competitors. That created habitual behavior — people found content the fastest on Google and kept coming back.

(As an aside, Bing has implemented programs to pay people for their search behavior in an attempt to break these deeply ingrained habits and introduce a new behavior.)

In 2005, there was a Golden Triangle pattern when it came to eyeballs on the Google SERP. But in 2016, this pattern is vastly different (see below), due in large part to mobile. It’s changed the way people consume the SERP and the speed at which they consume it. Users spot-scan and find what is contextually relevant for them.

Mobile devices have habitually conditioned searchers to scan vertically more than horizontally. This has translated to desktop search as well. People are viewing more search listings during a single session but are spending less time viewing each one.

Users are looking the front end of search listings, so make sure your main message comes first. While it used to take a user 2.6 seconds to consume a SERP, that time has been cut in half, to 1.3 seconds, Pinkerton said.

Regardless of mobile’s impact, the No. 1 organic listing captures the most click activity, regardless of what new elements are presented. However, it takes 87 percent longer for the No. 1 organic listing to be first seen on a mobile device vs. desktop, he said.

Statistics that will impact your digital marketing strategy

Knowledge Graph

  • With a Knowledge Graph panel on the SERP, almost 22 percent fewer clicks went to the top No. 1 organic listing.
  • 93% of searchers look at the Knowledge Graph panel.
  • 49% of searchers click on the Knowledge Graph panel.

View image on Twitter


MKTg Robot @themktgrobot

19% of mobile SERP clicks on average went to the top 2 sponsored ads, compared to 15% on desktop. #smx #sem @Mediative

3:58 PM - 28 Sep 2016

Local listings and map

  • 47% more clicks on the map and local listing occur when positioned above the organic listings.
  • 10% of clicks on local listing on average.
  • 51% more searchers view the local listings and map when positioned above the organic listings.

Star ratings

  • Listings with star ratings capture 24% of page clicks on average.

Sponsored listings

  • Top sponsored listings are viewed after 0.36 seconds on average.
  • 2% of clicks on the top two sponsored listings on mobile vs. 14.5% on desktop.
  • The top organic listing gets 10% fewer clicks when three sponsored listings are present vs. one sponsored listing.

Organic listings

  • Top organic listings capture the most search activity (33.2%).
  • 5% of searchers on average look at the top organic listing.
  • 57% of clicks go to the top four organic listings on average.
  • Only 7.4% of the clicks that occur are below the fourth organic listing on mobile vs. 16% on desktop.

Read Mediative’s full eye-tracking report (registration required). See how user behavior has changed in just the last two years with my reports from SMX East 2014 and 2015.

Source : 

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The Need-to-Know Stats of Social Selling

Everything we do generates data. Data that can be interpreted, analyzed, visualized, scrutinized, and lauded over. We can then apply what we learn through that data to distill an activity down to a precise science with specific and measurable statistics.

As sales and marketing departments become better integrated, they look to these statistics to run their business more efficiently. But what stats matter most? Organizations can quantify just about anything, and a quick search of sales or marketing stats renders hundreds of results. Layer in social selling and social media statistics into your search and the results only increase. So what social selling statistics matter and why should sales leaders care? Here’s the top three stats you need to know.

Social Selling Statistic #1:

73% of sales reps that practice social selling outperform their peers and 64% of teams that practice social selling hit quota.

Yes, these are technically two statistics, but they prove this point: social selling works. Reps and teams that leverage their social channels throughout the sales process close more and win more than those that do not. Want to go to club? Want that promotion? Want to be the number one rep, district, or region? Start social selling. People buy from people they know, like and trust. Social channels are the perfect space to start and build relationships with prospects away from sales emails and sales calls. When used effectively, social selling can help warm a lead, earn a sales call, nurture that lead, and help close the deal.

Social Selling Statistic #2:

92% of buyers will delete emails and voicemails from people that they don’t know.

If your sales team is just cold emailing and cold calling prospects, then they are missing out on one of their most important channels. Leveraging social media can help you learn about your prospects and engage with them around a shared topic of interest, answer a question, or provide a valuable insight. Using social allows you to start a conversation and remove “cold” from your initial emails and calls. Sales reps and teams that leverage social to become a person that buyers know, like and trust are more likely to succeed.

Social Selling Statistic #3:

82% of prospects can be reached via social media.

As a sales rep or sales leader, having access to your target market is one of the first steps toward success. If social media is where your prospects are, then that is where sales reps need to be. On top of that, reps need to be visible, searchable, and accessible. Social allows you to build your personal brand, build your product and services credibility and build the relationships that will help you close more business. The social sphere gives reps unparalleled information and access to their target prospects. Leverage it!

Social selling provides sales teams with countless data points that can all yield valuable insights and statistics into their social selling strategies and tactics. By focusing on the a few key statistics, it’s easy to see why market leaders like Oracle, IBM, ADP and BMC are investing resources into social selling training and strategy—because it works.


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Setting up Google User Explorer

Google's User Explorer lets us identify individual users by client ID and isolate data.  That way, we can evaluate the user and identify the path that they're taking so we can better personalize the experience for them.

You can also create segments to narrow down users who performed a certain action or engaged with specific content.  From these discoveries, you can personalize your website based on relevance.

User Explorer allows you to get a 360 view of your current and perspective clients.

If you're an entrepreneur or business owner, subscribe for our channel for free marketing tips every week! 




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I'm a big fan of putting the power of targeting in the hands of the dealer. We're not one of those who believe that we know best about our clients' market, demographics, and customers and we try to put our expertise in social and search to play with their understanding of the area and their business to guide us to success.

The improved sourcing, data collection, and extraction of information about the markets gives us and dealers the ability to dive much deeper than ever before into understanding where and how to market.

We know the tactics. You know your area. Now, let's allow the data to enter the mix and we should have a winning combination.

We're starting to get pretty enamored with companies like String Automotive. After sitting on a few customer calls during their market analysis meetings, we've learned so much about how to spend the money and where to focus it. It has opened my eyes to this "third wheel" in a way that I never imagined. Perhaps there is more to data than just what we know mixed with what our clients' know.

Keep in mind, we are not a reseller for String Automotive and I don't want this to turn into a love fest, but I do want to highlight the importance of going much further into the numbers than I've ever imagined. That's the beauty of analytics mixed with DMS data mixed with everything else at our disposal (Polk, Experian, DMV - the data sources go on and on).

Regardless of whether you use us, String, or any vendor out there, I strongly encourage you to start going further with the numbers. For example, by cross-referencing your advertising spend by zip code with your own buyer data and comparing that to DMV data, you can see where the opportunities lie. Let's say you sold 5 Altimas last month in a zip code. This might sound great for some dealers, but what if there were 13 total sold last month based upon DMV data and you're the closest dealership to the zip code. Wouldn't that be disappointing? Shouldn't you either adjust your marketing message, your advertising styles, or your budget to try to make up the difference and start dominating in that area?

The data is cleaner than it's ever been, but the methods of analyzing the data have remained stagnant. It's companies like String that have opened our eyes to the possibility that we can make smarter decisions by letting the numbers guide us.

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The US auto industry is in the midst of a tremendous run-up in digital ad spending, piggybacking on cross-industry shifts in marketing budgets and historically strong domestic sales volumes. Automakers and dealers will spend $6.15 billion on US digital advertising in 2014, up 18.8% from the previous year. All told, substantial annual digital ad spending increases by the US automotive industry will continue for the foreseeable future, according to a new eMarketer report, “The US Automotive Industry 2014: Digital Ad Spending Forecast and Trends,” part of our new report series, “2014 Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry.”



eMarketer also expects growth in the sector’s share of total US digital spending through 2018. By the end of the forecast period, automotive will rank as the second-largest industry segment in the US for digital ad spending after retail, keeping it near the forefront of digital marketing for at least the next several years.

More than one-third (35%) of US automotive-related digital ad spending will be on mobile this year, eMarketer predicts, accounting for $2.15 billion of the $6.15 billion total. This will put the auto industry in line with the US industry average when it comes to mobile’s share of digital ad spending. Investment should continue to shift into mobile advertising, accounting for a larger percentage of total spending each year, although the pace of this shift is likely to be tied to advances in attribution and targeting on mobile devices.

Even without those advances, mobile-based branding and upper-funnel advertising efforts are increasing in response to evolving consumer research behavior—which has shifted to mobile.

For the past two years, eMarketer’s US automotive industry digital ad spending data has shown budgets split 60% on direct-response tactics and 40% on branding—in line with the cross-industry average. Put simply, digital marketing strategies have solidified mainly around tactics that entice new-vehicle buyers to take action while they are in-market.

It’s a delicate balance given the long buying cycle associated with new vehicles. Brands must remain well considered and top of mind among consumers who are not yet in-market in order to win a place on their shopping lists once they are. Original equipment manufacturers with a slate of new product launches also gravitate toward branding campaigns as they attempt to drive awareness with native advertising or social media pushes.

Clearly, however, the baseline automotive industry digital strategy is weighted toward investing even more to win sales in the final weeks of a consumer’s shopping process using tactics like search and programmatically purchased, targeted ads. A major reason is the measurability of return on investment for direct-response tactics, which provides an easy case at budget time for further funding.

The effectiveness of such tactics has helped redefine how auto marketers approach branding campaigns. These too are becoming more targetable to specific consumers, blurring the line between branding and direct response.



  • Retail
  • Financial Services
  • Automotive
  • Telecom
  • CPG
  • Travel
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Healthcare & Pharma

The complete series by

eMarketerDownload the free executive summary today

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The words "big data" have been buzzing around the marketing and advertising world for a few years now. Technology has made it possible to do things with data through analysis and proper utilization that weren't very easy a decade ago. It's a good thing, but it's not enough.

In the automotive industry, we see it used for everything from conquest sales to social media promotions. There's nothing wrong with this except for the fact that most in our industry are only seeing the tip of iceberg. Big data is great but the latest advances in technology make it possible to take advantage of both "big data" as well as "better data".

Many dealers are starting to see the benefits of using their internal databases to drive continued business with the dealership. It's great to go out and get new customers but there's a goldmine of opportunity within your existing clientele. Many companies are pushing this through direct mail, email, and other forms of communication, but nearly everyone is missing the opportunities that are created by improving on the data itself.

We have big data. Now, we have to turn it into better data.

For example, there are huge opportunities in appending the data based upon changes in circumstance. Let's say a customer gets married. She's driving the same car and may or may not be living in the same address. Her phone number is probably the same but she now has a different last name. By appending the data based upon the likely scenario that she got married, we can better attend to her needs and send her the right messages to get her back into the dealership.

Another challenge with big data is that it over-categorizes people. Just because the technology is there to put people into categories doesn't mean that it should be done. Dealers should not have service customers and sales customers. They have customers. You should be trying to get those who bought a car from you to also have the car serviced at your dealership. You should be trying to get those who come in for service to also purchase their next vehicle from you. This can be done when you tear down the category walls and tune the messages appropriately to the individuals.

Big data is the past and present. In many ways, it's also still the future, but it can be improved upon in the automotive industry by letting go of some restrictions and focusing on improving the quality of the data itself. Dealers that do this are the ones that will be able to improve their loyalty as well as their bottom line.

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Pot of Gold is a turn-key email marketing program that allows dealerships to reactivate dormant prospects from their CRM (the average dealership has over 20,000 unsold internet leads).
The Pot of Gold, will reactivate these old dead leads, generate a new revenue stream and will double your internet closing ratio in 90 days. GUARANTEED.

Special Program and Pricing for Chrysler Dealers. PAP Eligible

Pot of Gold Program Advantages:

Superior email deliverability through spam filters.
Mobile-enabled emails. (36% of people read on a mobile phone)
Automated email messaging
2 sales/service campaigns a month to the ENTIRE prospect database
Detailed analytics and revenue reporting
Dedicated account manager
Hot leads are passed to dealership contact for follow-up
Professionally designed and written email campaigns
Increased web traffic
Double internet lead closing ratios by up to 50%
Real Statistics from Pot of Gold Customers:

A Chrysler store in Maryland has been using POG for 10 months and sold 232 cars due to POG email campaigns.
A Chevrolet dealership in Maryland saw a 7-8% open rate in emails and a click through rate of 21% and saw revenues in their service department over $150K within 90 days.
A Honda Dealer in Ohio generated 57 sales in a 90 day period marketing to a prospect database of 17431 emails.

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Proactively building reviews is a huge part of local search and with Internet Sales 20 Group Dallas right around the corner and reputation management front and center, I'm rolling out the most important indicators that get you more visible in local search.

When you look closer at the Non-Google local search engines such as Yelp,, etc. you will find a significant amount of highly-qualified consumer search traffic. The question is: do you know which data about your dealership will influence how you rank in local search engines?

Each and everyone of the indicators below are the arteries to the heart, that if ignored could form a clot and kill your hopes of dominating on local searches.

There are four categories:

  • Relevancy Indicators
  • Popularity Indicators
  • Distance Indicators
  • Advertiser Value

These are indicators that tend to be directly related to the phrases input into a search interface. These may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised (or not) how many dealerships get these wrong:

Relevancy Indicators

  1. Dealership Name: Dealership names are vital for potential buyers who search for your specific dealership or search for a keyword that is also in your dealer name. Certainly, categories will always be king. You might think it’s a no brainer, but never let potential customers find your dealership name spelled incorrectly. Happens more frequently than you might think.
  2. Dealership Category: Categorization is important because search engines categorize and map keywords. Therefore, it is worthwhile to run some test queries on your keywords.  Be aware of how to target the more granular (aka long tail) categories to enable you to have more chances to show up for these qualified queries. Generally you’re allowed up to five categories. Be clear though. The specialty models of the cars you sell may not be available as a direct category. Therefore, the best practice is to include the brands in your title on your listing (up to two brands), as you may be in danger of spamming your listing directory.    
  3. Dealership Description & Keywords: The right keywords can help increase your visibility for queries. When typing in a query your prospects often see presumptive suggestions of longer tail keywords in the search box. If searching for service repair, search engines will offer suggestions that get quite granular; for example, “factory trained technicians”. Those types of keywords included in your dealership description will make your dealership more findable.  Make sure the relevant suggestions are included in your dealership descriptions.
  4. Enhanced Content is the key to dominating local searches. Images, logos, videos, (what we call enhanced content) will lift your CTR by 2.5 times or 250% more traffic. One major missed opportunity to improve CTR’s is a Featured Message. Yext is a great tool to provide real time updates of your content to your dealership listings.

    For example, use fresh content in your featured message (a 50 character highlighted featured message syndicated from your Yext dashboard)  Dealers are using this space to promote a sale or even get more LIKES on Facebook. Perhaps you share a fact about the dealership and build credibility with a link to the dealer site.
  5. Dealership Services: Services are another form of categorization. I like to think of services as informal categories, kind of like a tag. So, [Auto Dealer] would be a category and [Value Your Trade], [New Vehicles], [Service Repair], etc., would be services.  Make sure you understand the most popular services that you offer and include them in your listing. 
  6. Association With a National or Regional Chain: If your dealership is part of a chain, it’s important that local search engines understand this. Chain store dealership listings often contain inconsistent data that cannot be easily normalized. For example, a site may have three listings with the names [Auto Center], [Auto Center, The], [The Auto Center #234]. They all refer to the same chain. But, if you did a pure dealership name match on [Auto Center], you would get a less than optimal sort order; so, understanding that these listings are associated with a chain helps the search engine consolidate these listings into a single entry.

Popularity Indicators

  1. Click Thru Rates: A listing’s performance, when it appears in results, is an indicator of its potential to satisfy the query. Most sophisticated local search engines reward listings with high CTRs with better rankings. There are plenty of things a dealership can do to improve CTR on a directory, starting with making sure the above Relevancy Indicators are as up-to-date and targeted as possible. Presenting offers along with high-quality images and videos can also increase CTR.
  2. Ratings & Reviews: Get them and get them often. Five stars helps. And, Google and Yelp are not the only places where reviews count. At this point, every major local search engine has a review system.

Distance Indicators

The location of your dealership combined with the location of the searcher is critical to the display of results. Often, the importance of these indicators can vary based on what the user is searching for and what kind of device they are using. I advise you to look for the option of a service area field that allows you to plug in your surrounding zip codes.

  1. Dealership Proximity: How close a dealership is to the searched location.  Depending on the category of the query and dealership density, proximity will matter more or less.
  2. Dealership Service Area: While physical location typically trumps most other location indicators, for dealership categories with wide service areas, proximity is not as important. For example, dealers in less populated rural areas often have large service areas.  So when someone is looking for one, it’s not critical to only show dealerships that are nearby.  In the case of queries that map to large service areas, it’s likely that popularity indicators will help determine if dealerships that are farther away from the searched city show up high.
  3. Web & Mobile Search Radius Customization: Queries from mobile devices typically return results with tighter radii. If your strategy is to rank for mobile queries, you will need to figure out how to improve other data indicators such as reviews, service area, etc., to compensate for the limited range of the results.
  4. Dealership Density: As mentioned above, if there are fewer dealerships in your area competing for a category, you are more likely to show up better, but you will likely be competing against dealerships in a larger service area. Conversely, if there are more dealerships, the competition nearby will be stronger.
  5. Searched Geo: When a user specifies a specific location in their query, it’s usually a indicators that they are prioritizing location; so it’s more likely that the search engine will favor dealerships located in the searched geo in its results. If your potential customers tend to search this way, then you may consider opening locations in multiple cities to account for this.

Advertiser Value

Of course, we’re all in this to make money, so understanding how the advertiser display system on a search engine works, either in your favor or against you, can be helpful.

  1. Advertiser Levels: Typically, sites have different tiers of advertisers, which can affect which queries display the ad and what gets displayed (e.g., logo, like, tagline, video, bold, etc.)
  2. Advertiser Keywords: In cases where advertisers get to pick the keywords to target, it is important for them to understand if these are the right keywords to target. Often times, local search engines can have relatively weak keyword-mapping. If so, your dealership may show up for keywords that you are not targeting (and you get charged for the privilege). Therefore, understanding how the search engine maps keywords can be critical to saving you from wasting ad dollars.
  3. Advertiser Boost: Many search engines offer an organic rankings boost to advertisers as an incentive.
  4. Deals & Coupons: Consumers love coupons. Local search engines love advertisers who offer them.
  5. Listing Quality: This basically gets to the completeness of a listing. If you can outdo your competitors with filling out your listings, you will likely tend to outrank them in the local search engines. This is one of the biggest areas of opportunity. There are millions of listings out there that still have not been claimed and updated. One big yellow pages site told me that only about 10% of their millions of listings had been claimed. So, go out and claim them if you haven’t already, and you could put yourself ahead of the pack.

Jerry HartPresident
925 849 4084

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This is one of the modules on my NEW "Video On Demand", Training, Tracking Testing Platform...

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Peter Martin Speaking At The Internet Sales 20 Group On "Permission Based Email Marketing & Data Mining" from Dealer Synergy on Vimeo.

Peter Martin, CEO of Cactus Sky, Speaking At The Internet Sales 20 Group On "Email Marketing & Data Mining"

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US Auto IndustryShuts Door On Another Strong Year- By Tony Pugh - Re-Post from McClatchy - Tribune

WASHINGTON – After a near collapse at the height of the Great Recession, the streamlined U.S. auto industry defied the odds and outperformed the greater economy this year with solid sales increases, job growth and product innovations that signal that a full industry recovery no longer is just possible, but probable.

Credit better quality and pent-up consumer demand for the industry’s slow, steady improvement. Customers who were unwilling to gamble on automobile purchases during the recession are coming back to showrooms because the average age of vehicles on U.S. roads is more than 10 years – the highest ever.

U.S. car buyers also are getting comfortable with making large purchases in the volatile economy, experts say.

“And that’s a big behavioral change from what we saw in ’08 and ’09. That’s good for the industry,” said Jesse Toprak, the chief industry analyst for, an auto-pricing Web site.

After selling roughly 11.8 million cars and trucks last year, U.S. vehicle sales to businesses and consumers are expected to hit nearly 12.8 million in 2011, Toprak said. That’s up from 10.6 million at the height of the Great Recession in 2009.

Through November, new-vehicle sales had logged six straight months of year-over-year gains. That should continue in December, when 1.2 million vehicles are likely to be sold, Toprak said.

Those numbers are well off their pre-recession levels, which topped 16 million vehicles a year. But the industry’s plodding recovery in the past two years has helped stabilize the greater U.S. economy and power a regional recovery in the Great Lakes and Rust Belt regions, where auto production is king. Both areas have seen some of the sharpest declines in unemployment in the country in the past two years as automakers regain their financial footing.

U.S. and foreign automakers are poised to add nearly 167,000 U.S. jobs by the end of 2015, according to the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. That breaks down to 30,000 hourly and salaried workers at the Big Three U.S. automakers, 17,000 jobs at foreign automakers and about 120,000 auto-supply sector jobs.

“The industry has pretty much hired back just about everybody from the automotive side that had been laid off. And now they’re hiring fresh, so they’re actually adding to their rosters,” said Aaron Bragman, senior analyst at IHS Automotive in Northville, Mich.

Most analysts say the industry’s growing stability is sweet vindication for the federal government’s $80 billion bailout, which allowed General Motors and Chrysler to reorganize. The Center for Automotive Research estimates that the bailouts saved more than 1.1 million jobs in 2009 and another 314,000 in 2010, while avoiding personal income losses of more than $96 billion.

Today, all three major U.S. automakers are on the comeback trail with increased investment in U.S. manufacturing plants, improved new models, greater profitability and thousands of new hires.

Chrysler’s rebound has been dramatic. In its best November since 2007, the beleaguered automaker sold more than 107,000 vehicles in the U.S., up 45 percent from November 2010. It was the 20th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains for Chrysler and the best November for Jeep brand sales since 2003.

Foreign automakers also are expanding their U.S. operations. In May, Volkswagen opened a new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., that now employs 2,000 people. The Mercedes-Benz factory in Vance, Ala., will add 1,000 jobs when it begins producing the C-Class in 2014.

Toyota just opened a new $800 million plant outside Tupelo, Miss., where about 2,000 workers will assemble the popular Corolla. The plant is Toyota’s 14th in North America.

Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia saw their U.S. vehicle sales explode this year. But U.S. sales of Japanese autos faltered after a tsunami in northern Japan disrupted production in March and caused worldwide inventory shortages during the summer months, when car sales are hottest.

“They didn’t have full strength of inventory because they weren’t able to make enough cars,” Bragman said.

U.S. automakers were prepared to capitalize with new designs and models. Chevrolet’s new Cruze became the second-best-selling car in its class this year, behind the traditional industry leader, Toyota’s Corolla.

Improved quality among all automakers also helped drive sales.

“You’ve got to give the automakers some credit here,” Toprak said. “The new products that have come out of virtually every single automaker in the last year or two have been the best that consumers were ever offered. When you have great product, it fuels buying.”

Ford’s redesigned Explorer has continued strong sales even as the U.S. market has moved away from SUVs. This year, the Explorer moved from a truck-style, body-on-frame design to a lighter, more fuel-efficient one-piece body architecture, which most cars have.

“It has been a big success and is selling very well,” said Bernard Swiecki, senior project manager at the Center for Automotive Research.


After recently inking four-year agreements with the United Auto Workers union, Ford, Chrysler and General Motors plan to add more jobs. The UAW agreements call for 20,000 new jobs over the life of the contracts: 6,400 at GM, 2,100 at Chrysler and more than 12,000 with Ford.

The new pact reduces labor costs for the automakers because new workers will earn lower wages than longtime employees, who will get profit-sharing and inflation-adjustment payments rather than annual raises.

In exchange, the companies agreed to bring back more foreign manufacturing jobs to the U.S. Last month, General Motors said it would begin assembling its Chevrolet Equinox next year at the old Saturn assembly factory in Spring Hill, Tenn., along with a midsized vehicle for the 2015 model year.

Earlier this month, Ford announced that production of its F-650 and F-750 trucks will move from Mexico to its Avon Lake, Ohio, assembly plant in 2014. The move retains about 1,400 jobs at the plant, which is slated for a $128 million upgrade.

New labor agreements and cuts in retiree health benefits also have helped the automakers become more profitable. Before a 2007 UAW labor agreement, Ford and GM’s wage and benefit costs were about $78 per hour. They’re now $58 an hour for Ford and $56 for GM, said Kristin Dziczek, director of the labor and industry group at the automotive research center.

While Chrysler’s sales have increased the most from last year, its per-vehicle profit margin is only $1,066, according to the center. General Motors clears an average of $3,327 per vehicle, while Ford earns $2,819.

Barring a European debt crisis next year or a double-dip domestic recession, most analysts think that 2012 will be another strong year, with vehicle sales approaching 13.8 million.

“The industry is ready, when the economy recovers, to make a lot of money,” Dziczek said. “If we get back to moderate economic growth of about 3 percent a year, we could be talking about there not being enough (manufacturing) capacity” to keep up with demand. “That’s a good problem to have.”

The vast reach of the auto industry, through its parts and supply chain, helps drive the economy in times of expansion. The industry typically accounts for up to 3.5 percent of the gross domestic product and fuels about 10 percent of U.S. retail sales.

When automakers were cutting jobs in 2008 and 2009 at the height of the recession, the industry’s economic ripple effect worked in reverse, causing millions of additional jobs to disappear.

“Now that huge economic multiplier is once again on our side. It’s working as an engine of growth. But we paid a dear price in ‘08 and ‘09, when the hit was really enormous,” Swiecki said.

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