Before we talk about how you can drive digital success in 2021, 2022 and beyond – let’s take a step back and talk about why is digital important. Pulling up one of my favorite websites, internetlivestats.com – there are over 5 BILLION internet users in the world. On Google, there are over 6 BILLION searches performed EVERY DAY. That’s only Google; and Google isn’t the dominant search engine in many countries – Russian users for example prefer Yandex.
What’s more interesting is that out of the billion searches made on Google every day, 15% have never been seen before and are completely new search terms. What that means is the consumer journey is now more unique and unpredictable than ever before, with more searches happening during discovery, research and consideration.
In fact, 75% of US consumers have tried different stores, websites or brands during the pandemic. And 3 in 4 surveyed CMO’s said post-pandemic changes in consumer behavior will impact marketing strategies.
At the same time, search engines continue to dominate everything we do. In the automotive space, consumers used search engines 79% of the time to decide on what car they will buy; followed by online video (57%), dealer websites (57%), OEM websites (46%) and vehicle review / comparison sites (41%). On the used-car side, those in-market used search engines 92% of the time, followed by all endemics at less than 50%.
Search engines continue to be an integral part of our lives and thus should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. In-fact, a recent study by Google showed that $1,000 invested in Google Search Ads, produced results for up to 9 months from the initial sale. Over that period, that $1,000 was shown to impact the decision of 6.5 car purchases. In other words, $1,000 invested today can develop your sales pipeline for months to come and will directly influence up to 6.5 car purchasing decisions.
So, how do you ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck in your search engine advertising? The must-haves are:
- Implementing auction time bidding, utilizing Google’s AI algorithm
- Switching to value-based bidding – optimizing on the value each conversion brings you
- Enhancing your profile – making sure you’re utilizing all of Google’s extensions
- Implementing audience targeting – target your existing customers whose leases are ending soon, or perhaps those who haven’t been in for service in a while. You can also target individuals based on what they searched on Google (and target them outside of Google!)
And of course – there is a world outside of Google Ads. Microsoft Ads continues to be more relevant, and expanding their reach by partnering with niche search engines like DuckDuckGo and integrating LinkedIn audiences into their platform.
And last but not least on everyone’s radar should be SEO. While the ranking signals that determine your rankings continue to change – the basics continue to hold firm:
- You need to have a GMB profile (and make sure it’s optimized).
- You need to make sure your site is fast, has good usability and has no technical errors.
- You need to create unique content on an on-going basis
- You need to have an outbound link building effort to get relevant, authoritative websites to link to you.