Search Engine Marketing (SEM) has become an increasingly effective way for dealers to connect with in-market shoppers. In fact, over 80% of dealers are now investing in SEM, according to a CarGurus study. However, if you manage an SEM ad campaign you know that simply upping your budget isn’t enough. You also need to take the time to measure and analyze your campaign’s performance so you can optimize and refine your marketing accordingly.
With so many metrics available, it can be overwhelming to know what’s most important to track. Many dealers rely on clicks and Cost Per Click (CPC) – the price you pay when a shopper clicks on your ad – to gauge their SEM success. While clicks and CPC are certainly important metrics to track, on their own, they don’t tell the full story of your SEM success. You also need to focus on metrics that show the quality of your clicks: Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) views and cost per VDP view.
Why VDP metrics are important
- VDP views are the modern equivalent to shoppers browsing vehicles on your lot. You should be tracking this metric to get a better understanding of how your SEM campaign is driving high-quality traffic to your dealership’s most important pages – the VDPs.
- Consumers who land on your VDPs are ready to buy, and are more likely to stay on your site, clicking through to multiple VDPs until they find the exact car they want at your dealership. They have a specific car in mind and they’re doing detailed searches to find it. When you focus only on CPC and the initial ad click, you miss out on the value that VDPs and a low cost per VDP brings.
- Evaluating your VDP activity enables you to dial into your shopper traffic and identify exactly which types of vehicles consumers are interested in at any given time. If you know what your customers are searching for the most, then you can boost your sales pipeline by buying more of those vehicles at auction.
- It’s equally important to pick out the types of cars that are not getting a lot of VDP views. With this information, you can craft new campaigns designed to move those specific cars faster. It also helps you make decisions about your inventory so you can stop buying cars that aren’t getting a lot of traffic.
Measuring both clicks and CPC and VDP views and cost per VDP will provide a more complete picture of the success of your ad campaigns. An ongoing analysis of these metrics is crucial to maximizing the ROI from your SEM investment.