Successful SEM Campaigns | Paid Search Budget

The times have changed

For years in the SEM world, we have advised dealers to not spend too much money on branding. Now, the times have changed.

It’s hard to spend money on what is not there, i.e. Inventory.

No inventory means no money spent on that 2021 Chevrolet Silverado keyword or any other year, make, model combination.

Some dealers have switched to the used market to keep units moving.

However, the increasing price of used vehicles just doesn’t make sense for some dealers to keep going back to the auction. I’ve had some conversations with several dealers that are getting $3-4K more at auction then they would at retail. Pretty soon there will be a balloon pop and all of that overpriced inventory won’t be able to be sold without taking a huge loss.

Some dealers are advertising “We’ll buy your vehicle even if you don’t buy one of ours.”

The problem with “buy back” campaigns is that they can be costly if you’re not in the right market. Generally, they cost more per click, all while getting a lesser CTR and conversion rate. Even if we are able to get a conversion (form fill) on these campaigns, BDCs chase and chase after the customer to even get them to come in for a no hassle, free appraisal. If not in the right market, these “buy back” campaigns can be a waste of advertising and labor dollars.



Spend those marketing dollars on:

  • Generic display ads
  • Generic search terms
  • Generic video campaigns, etc.

Pause model specific campaigns, including all of those 3rd party listing sites that take up over half of your marketing budget. 

The further up the sales funnel dealers can focus on right now, the better. Without inventory on both sides of the dealership, it makes it tough to go after that low hanging fruit, because after all, the chances of having that one specific vehicle that one customer is searching for are very slim.

Eventually, inventory will be back to normal and dealers can spend money on model specific campaigns and 3rd party listing sites again. As long dealers aren’t overpaying for their used inventory right now, low hanging fruit will be back on the menu soon but until then Brand, Brand & Brand.

If you have any additional questions about Paid Search, please contact the PCG team today!

Picture of Jacob Moody
Jacob Moody
Jacob is a Google Specialist with PCG Digital. He has worked in the automotive industry for 7 plus years. Jacob was a Marketing Director for a Chevrolet Buick Dealer Group before coming to PCG. He is the father of 4 beautiful girls and loves to take each one of them fishing and hunting every chance he gets.

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