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Automotive Search Trends

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Automotive Search Trends

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Google’s recent quarterly vehicle trend report for the automotive industry shows that paid search data such as search queries, clicks and click through rate increased over last year. Interestingly, the only exception is the number of impressions which decreased by 6.23 percent from last year.

The report shows that automotive search queries increased 14 percent and clicks on automotive search ads increased by 19 percent. The industry CTR is at an average of 2.93 percent, improving by 27 percent year over year.

What does it all mean?

First and foremost there are more automotive search queries on Google compared to last year. This could be due to more people with real time access to search engines on mobile devices. Accessing a search engine no longer requires a desktop computer. With Wi-Fi access being readily available at most public areas, people are now able to browse the Internet on their mobile devices. We are also seeing an increase in “semantic” and long tail search. This is likely due to an increased use of voice activated search and people doing a better job of asking more specific questions.

For those of you not familiar with the term click through rate (CTR), it is a ratio that shows how often people see your ad and end up clicking on that ad. Paid search marketers use CTR to measure how well keywords and ads are performing. As paid search becomes more popular, paid search strategies become more advanced and in turn the effectiveness of search ads. This means paid search is getting more competitive, search ads are effectively targeting Google searchers better which leads to more qualified clicks.

The most interesting question, “Why have search queries, clicks and CTRs improved over last year but impressions are down?”

Impressions are the number of times an ad (either text or image) is shown to a Google searcher. A very likely reason for decreased impressions, when other data such as clicks and CTRs have increased, could be due to keywords that are used for ads are becoming more targeted (as opposed to broad) and are more relevant to what people are searching. Therefore, money, time and clicks are not wasted on irrelevant keywords that will not bring in leads.

Another aspect worth mentioning is the increased targeting capabilities of display and retargeting ads. As more advertisers are using more targeted means of finding potential customers, the number of impressions has decreased. This also plays an important role in the increase of CTRs and clicks. Especially retargeting, which leads to higher CTRs because you are targeting people who have already visited your site and thus are more likely to return and convert.

Here at Strong Automotive Merchandising, we understand the art of paid search. There are many different factors that go in to PPC other than a great ad. It requires knowledge of the industry and its demographics as well as understanding the psychology that goes behind the purchasing process. We are knowledgeable, experienced and passionate about what we do. We put special care and attention to our jobs in order to make sure our client’s money is well spent. We always strive for excellence!


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John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 100 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive Merchandising.

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