I bet if you’re a seller on one of our sites that you really like getting phone calls about a piece of inventory you’re advertising for. That is, after all, the first step into closing a sale, right?
What if I told you that the first step into closing a sale is the information you put into the advertisement? Makes some sense, right? That’s what dealerships have been doing with TV commercials and print advertisements for years. Before the consumer calls, they want to see something that is pretty close to what they want to buy.
That same concept applies to online advertising, too. It’s just another advertising medium, no matter if it’s paper, magazine, a desktop computer, or a mobile phone. The technology that makes each of those tick is a bit different from the others, but it doesn’t change the fundamentals of advertising.
For each medium, advertisers have to optimize for the audience. For instance, in the magazine, we would categorize in a general sense: Light Duty, Medium Duty, or Heavy Duty. We might organize by manufacturer in other publications. The only addition to this would be a small picture and about 250 words of text which included a phone number, price, and location. So a dealership’s responsibility went as far as providing a photo, some text, and what general category the piece of inventory fell into.
User’s expectations picking a magazine are very simple and straight forward.
A consumer’s expectations on the web are very specific. A consumer searching by category, manufacturer and keyword expect to only see advertisements that match those values. (Pickup Truck, Ford F150, “red with trailer hitch”) Looking for a pickup truck and seeing reefers or wreckers doesn’t build confidence in the website, but it does build great amounts of frustration.
These users expect to be able to filter by price, year, distance from their location, and still find only those things most relevant to what they’re searching for. That means the advertiser, whether dealership or private party, has to optimize their ads for those searches.
You don’t want all of the eyes on the site seeing your ads, you want all of the people looking for reefer trucks to see your reefer trucks. Should a consumer see a bunch of things that are not related to their search, then they think we’re incompetent and leave (after sending me some hate-email first). Should the consumer see a bunch of ads that don’t have photos or do not have a description, then they think we and the advertiser are incompetent.
Optimizing your ads is the first step to engaging the user. Make sure you use category names that mean something to consumers. Use full manufacturer names, not abbreviations. Send us descriptions with your ads that describes the vehicle, not your dealership.
If you sell reefer trucks, dump trucks, box trucks, crane trucks, and gooseneck trailers, then make sure those ads on our site are categorized correctly. Do not put in the description of a reefer truck a note about gooseneck trailers. People searching by keyword “Gooseneck trailer” will then see that reefer truck. This will not bring that user to your ads, they simply move on after seeing the picture of a reefer truck in their “gooseneck trailer” keyword search.
Fill out the additional specifications for each ad and the installed options. Each of these are entered into the keyword search index. The more information you can say about each piece of inventory enhances the chances that someone will call about it.
If you do not provide photos or descriptions or additional specification data, expect to have poor results. Few will find your ads and even fewer will show any interest in them. If you stuff your descriptions with unrelated keywords, you’re going to get lots of impressions and a very low ratio of phone calls.
Utilize the tools available, whether through feeds or in the IMT, to optimize the searchability of your ads. Optimize the data about the vehicle for sale. You will get better results!