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The Daily Stream

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How Retargeting Can Guide Your Customer's Car Buying Process

April 11, 2014 // By: Stream Companies


During the last decade, the process of buying a car has seen some pretty dramatic changes. The internet has made it easier than ever for consumers to become savvy overnight. Now, researching any make or model, in addition to the local dealers that carry the specific vehicle, is as simple as a few taps of a finger on a mobile device or a click of a mouse.

And while traditional print and TV media are still great routes for advertisers, it’s important to be able to leverage every tool your budget allows for in the digital landscape; including one of the most influential tactics, such as retargeting.

In this blog post, I will define retargeting and it's incredible benefits, and describe how this digital marketing tactic can play a key role in your prospective customers' car buying process.

Whether through organic means or paid clicks on your ads, a good number of users who are driven to your site are not going to convert right away. Maybe they’re too early in the conversion funnel. They could just be toying with the idea of a new vehicle, or perhaps they want it, but haven’t looked at every dealer in the area just yet and want to shop around.

In either case, retargeting can ensure that they don’t forget about your dealership.

While browsing your site, visitors can access pages that you will have placed a remarketing tag onto – your VDPs, for example. Now, for the life of the cookie (usually about 30 days) when visiting other, similarly themed sites, they can be shown ads for the vehicles they were looking at on your site! This allows you to reach potential customers in a much more personal way because you can choose to only show ads relevant to their needs based on their specific activity.

Suppose they didn’t look at vehicles, but looked at brake service. They can be shown ads mentioning the specials you have on brakes this month; or the ads letting them know the model they just spent time checking out will be the feature of the next holiday weekend special, etc. In effect, you are able to get your branded message out to consumers and ensure they continue their research – even as they continue to browse the internet elsewhere.

The clear benefit of this is the second chance to speak to potential consumers - but there are others. Not only do you get a second chance to make an impression, but because the impression is more personalized, conversions generated by retargeted ads tend to be higher quality conversions, such as users filling out financing forms or even calling to get more info directly from the dealership itself.

Using ads and tagging effectively so that users get the best message possible can make the difference between a lead, and just another bounce from your site.

Consider your own day-to-day purchases. How often have you been on the fence about a big purchase until you discovered previously unknown benefits such as special pricing, new upgrades, or additional features? Retargeted ads can make that difference by giving users quick and relevant info about a vehicle they’ve already expressed interest in, AND they don’t have to increase your paid search spending much, if at all.

For more PPC tips and best practices, download our free eBook, How To Transform Your PPC Campaigns Today! You’ll learn the benefits of PPC advertising, the right questions to ask when selecting a PPC partner, how to improve your PPC ROI and more!

All the best,


Dale Harley is a PPC Consultant at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia area advertising agency.


Topics: Digital Marketing, Automotive Advertising, PPC, ppc, PPC 101, ppc targeting, retarget