It’s not just Car Dealers wasting money in Paid Search

It’s not just Car Dealers wasting money in Paid Search

Dealers: Looking for a little good news? Well, automotive retail is not the only industry wasting hundreds of millions every year in paid search and display.

I guess that’s good news… sort of… in a misery-loves-company kind of way.

Retargeting Fail

We’ve all noticed how companies retarget us with advertising after we’ve visited their websites. Unless you’ve taken steps to stop this practice, your browsing history continues to follow you on virtually all your devices and to virtually every other site you visit.

For some, this is an annoyance; for others, it’s a great reminder to complete some purchase or research. For the advertiser, it’s a chance to reengage a potentially lost customer.

For those selling digital marketing, it’s a great way to unnecessarily drain the budgets of ecommerce companies. Here’s a recent example:

I was running low on business deposit slips, so I logged into and placed a quick order. I didn’t browse their site and I didn’t look at other products. I just purchased the same business deposit slips I’ve purchased in the past.

Then, for the next several days, I was bombarded with large display ads touting their products:

wasted retargeting checksforless

checksforless wasted retargeting

To be clear: I completed my purchase in one visit. The company knows this. Their digital marketing company should know this (if they’re any good). So, why are they wasting a penny retargeting me with the very product I just purchased? (A $21 product, by the way, that I won’t need to repurchase for at least a year.)

It’s pure laziness, in my opinion. The real question should be asking is this: Is our digital marketing provider intentionally lazy or simply incompetent?

Brand Campaign Fail

Of course, it’s not just ecommerce companies wasting money online. Brick and mortar retailers are famous for this.

When looking for the store hours for the Macy’s location nearest my home, I Googled “macys spokane valley.” This search represents a specific store in a specific location. It should indicate to the team buying keyword searches on Google that my intent is to visit or call the store, right?

Given this, why is bidding on their name?

macys wasted digital spend

They, of course, own the first page of organic results; including the Google My Business listing. Additionally (at least when I made my search), no other retailers were bidding on this keyword search.

Seriously, why would a competitor bid on this search? Their ROI would be nonexistent as the only clicks they’d receive would be accidental. So, again: Given this, why is bidding on their name?

The team wasting this budget will argue that the clicks are cheap, and the results are strong.

Of course they are! I was looking for Macy’s in the Spokane Valley Mall! I’m highly likely to call and/or visit the store the same day!

How much is the struggling Macy’s wasting every day nationwide on these searches?

In my opinion, the team buying these searches cannot stop buying them. They know these are the only keywords that are “driving” in-store visits and online purchases that show an acceptable ROI. If they stopped buying these, they’re likely to find the rest of their paid search budget is a gigantic waste.

So, they commingle these results with the non-branded searches to show the executives at Macy’s that paid search works.

Ugh. So, so naïve.

OEM Brand Campaign Fail

If someone types “honda” into a search bar, do any of us really know what they’re looking for? Motorcycles? Cars? Lawn mowers?

Of course, it’s a good guess they’re looking for something Honda sells, right?

That’s likely what Honda is thinking as they waste money on these clicks despite owning the first page of Google organic results:

honda wasted digital spend

While these clicks might be cheap, marketing budgets are not unlimited. What other advertising could Honda purchase with this budget? Again, the team buying the word “honda” likely doesn’t want to stop, as this might expose the rest of their spend as providing no returns.

Multiple Tiers: Brand Campaign Fail

Another example of wasted budget happens all too often in the automotive industry. I see this with nearly every brand; though, given their struggles to control costs, I’m surprised I’m still seeing this with Nissan:

nissan wasted digital spend

You’ll probably notice in the above example that all three tiers at Nissan are competing against each other for the simple “nissan” keyword search.

Yikes! What a tremendous waste for the OEM, their Tier II agency, and their local dealer.

My final example might actually be worse than that one.

Imagine you’re a dealer of a given brand. Imagine you feel (for whatever reason) the need to bid on your own name. Now imagine your own OEM is bidding against you for your own name:

kia competing with dealers wasted budget

There. Are. No. Words.

Good selling!

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