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There’s Retail Traffic, Then There’s Everything Else

WWW Automotive - Strong Automotive

Is all website traffic created equal? Does it matter to you what kind of traffic is visiting your website? Does the search intent of the user matter, or is it just about the numbers?

When you break it down there are really only two types of visitors to your website. There’s retail traffic and then there’s everything else. The two solid metrics that identify retail traffic are leads and shoppers. Did they shop your inventory and/or contact you?

Recently, we’ve seen a few trends in dealers’ interactive campaigns that are misguided and ultimately focused away from generating retail traffic and more leads.

Behavioral Targeting

In theory this is a great idea. If someone shows the propensity to be in the buying cycle, we should follow them around the Internet and serve them ads. In reality, behavioral targeting focuses on building audiences. The data used in behavioral targeting is less about fact (i.e., a consumer actually searches for a product and/or references a brand through social channels) and more about inference. As a result, marketers may be less likely to reach “qualified” consumers through behavioral targeting. I think too many dealers get hooked on the idea that we can predict what someone wants before they know they want it. Ultimately this is not a good way to generate retail traffic and is best served by Tier I or Tier II dollars.

Site Retargeting

Don’t get me wrong. We believe site retargeting is an effective strategy. It is the truest form of retargeting because you are re-marketing or re-engaging current customers or visitors. The consumer has been to your site and you then use that data, along with your existing relationship and knowledge, to try to bring the consumer back into a purchasing funnel. This is the very bottom of the funnel, as they are already your customers or have already visited your site.

The problem arises when this tactic is implemented with no discernable strategy. If someone left your site it is because they didn’t find what they were looking for, didn’t have a good enough reason to take the next step or were simply not ready.

For retargeting to truly generate retail traffic you have to provide a legitimate call-to-action and develop elements of a conversion funnel that help push them to the next step in the cycle. Just chasing down people that have been on your site is not enough.

Broad Based Search Campaigns

We see this a lot in PPC campaigns, where providers are buying extremely broad based keywords such as the manufacturer’s name. It gets to be really painful when you see it in content development or blog postings. I recently saw a blog that was only updated twice each month. Once with general information about the local geography and once with general information about a random vehicle.

This is almost criminal. Your content should be focused on what you need to sell. There should be a pattern. It should be purposeful. It should be weekly. Anything else is just wishing and hoping. If you want retail traffic, you have to communicate with people in the buying cycle and help answer their questions.

The next time you review your campaign analytics, look at the key performance indicators of retail traffic and make sure your interactive campaign is focused on getting you more.

John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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