What happens when a dealership turns off their TV advertising?

TV Off

I had a dealership step away from their traditional advertising on television last September. They had a long-running television presence in their market but went dark for one month. Our digital team studied their website traffic to see if it had any immediate or long-term effects. We wanted to know what happened to a dealership’s website traffic when they turn off traditional.

The dealership we studied is a Toyota dealership in a midsize market. They had an established presence in their market before removing traditional TV spots from their marketing mix. What happened?

  • Organic search website traffic dropped 14% compared to the previous month
  • Direct traffic – people typing their brand name directly into their browser also dropped by 14%
  • Searches for their brand name fell by 20%
  • Sales dropped by 17%

Our team looked at their performance in the month of September of previous years to make sure this was not a seasonal issue. Although September is usually a slower month than August, September 2017 was significantly slower than previous years.

What happened in October when they turned it back on?

  • Organic search traffic increased by 11% compared to September
  • Direct traffic rebounded by 13%
  • Brand name searches increased by 28%
  • Sales increased by 11%

We know that a customer searching for your brand name drives the highest percentage of your organic search traffic and website leads. Anything you are doing to get your brand in the minds of customers will lead to more website traffic. I believe this is the true value in traditional media – generating awareness to drive people to your website and your dealership today. For advertising to be most effective, there must be a combination of elements that will create brand awareness and drive the most traffic to your dealership.

Our test case shows that an advertising campaign must consist of multiple outlets to connect people with your product in order to drive next day traffic. Let Strong Automotive Merchandising show you how you can get the biggest return on your media advertising.


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.


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