Automotive Search Trends

September 3, 2014 / Automotive, Google Updates /
Search Trends - Strong automotive

Google’s recent quarterly vehicle trend report for the automotive industry shows that paid search data such as search queries, clicks and click through rate increased over last year. Interestingly, the only exception is the number of impressions which decreased by 6.23 percent from last year.

The report shows that automotive search queries increased 14 percent and clicks on automotive search ads increased by 19 percent. The industry CTR is at an average of 2.93 percent, improving by 27 percent year over year.

What does it all mean?

First and foremost there are more automotive search queries on Google compared to last year. This could be due to more people with real time access to search engines on mobile devices. Accessing a search engine no longer requires a desktop computer. With Wi-Fi access being readily available at most public areas, people are now able to browse the Internet on their mobile devices. We are also seeing an increase in “semantic” and long tail search. This is likely due to an increased use of voice activated search and people doing a better job of asking more specific questions.

For those of you not familiar with the term click through rate (CTR), it is a ratio that shows how often people see your ad and end up clicking on that ad. Paid search marketers use CTR to measure how well keywords and ads are performing. As paid search becomes more popular, paid search strategies become more advanced and in turn the effectiveness of search ads. This means paid search is getting more competitive, search ads are effectively targeting Google searchers better which leads to more qualified clicks.

The most interesting question, “Why have search queries, clicks and CTRs improved over last year but impressions are down?”

Impressions are the number of times an ad (either text or image) is shown to a Google searcher. A very likely reason for decreased impressions, when other data such as clicks and CTRs have increased, could be due to keywords that are used for ads are becoming more targeted (as opposed to broad) and are more relevant to what people are searching. Therefore, money, time and clicks are not wasted on irrelevant keywords that will not bring in leads.

Another aspect worth mentioning is the increased targeting capabilities of display and retargeting ads. As more advertisers are using more targeted means of finding potential customers, the number of impressions has decreased. This also plays an important role in the increase of CTRs and clicks. Especially retargeting, which leads to higher CTRs because you are targeting people who have already visited your site and thus are more likely to return and convert.

Here at Strong Automotive Merchandising, we understand the art of paid search. There are many different factors that go in to PPC other than a great ad. It requires knowledge of the industry and its demographics as well as understanding the psychology that goes behind the purchasing process. We are knowledgeable, experienced and passionate about what we do. We put special care and attention to our jobs in order to make sure our client’s money is well spent. We always strive for excellence!


About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.