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: As owner of Strong Automotive Merchandising, a company that increases traffic up to 1,000% for dealerships, Strong lives by the simple concept that your attitude affects your success. Without a positive mind set he would not have been able to grow the company over the last decade from just 10 to over 80 full-time employees. The rapid growth is thanks to his ability to keep the company on the forefront of technology, market changes and an infectious talent to motivate and keep employees striving to fulfill their potential. His beginnings in direct mail gave him the tools and skills to develop incredibly successful marketing plans. From there he moved on to traditional forms of media and has now mastered the dynamic world of digital and social media advertising. With over 150 dealers to please, Strong takes a hands-on approach and personal attention to detail in all aspects of marketing strategies. His expertise in plan development gives him a keen sense on how to maximize a dealer’s budget and ultimately increase their bottom line. Strong is a passionate speaker in the automotive industry. He has authored two books on creating next day traffic. He graduated from the Executive Education Program at the Harvard Business School. Strong received a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Montevallo. He lives with his wife and three children in Homewood, Alabama.


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