Vehicle Search Result Pages (SRP) May Not Be Good Adword Landing Pages

By Brian Pasch

There are many companies that pitch Google Adwords management services based on the premise that their technology will create a better bidding strategy, lower cost per click, and higher conversion rates.

A case in point is VIN level advertising, offered by a number of vendors, that automatically create ads based on each Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in stock.

In the example below, a consumer searches for a 2011 Toyota Corolla, and two franchise dealers show in the paid search results, shown by the arrows.  The website addresses of these two dealers have been erased for privacy concerns.

For the record, the two dealers listed were a Toyota Dealer and a BMW dealer; both had at least one 2011 Corolla in stock.  VIN level advertising gives hope for the BMW dealer that they can sell off-make used cars from their store through SEM.

Why? The average consumer is not going to a local BMW dealership website to buy a used Toyota.


If you are not familiar with VIN level advertising, the Google Adwords ads are created based on the current inventory of a dealership .  The current inventory is fed to the Adwords vendor each day, and vehicle specific ads are created based on current  inventory and consumer searches.

Where Are Vendors Taking Consumers on The Click?

If there is only ONE 2011 Toyota Corolla in stock, the automated Adwords campaigns will normally take a consumer to the specific Vehicle Detail Page (VDP).

However, when multiple cars in stock match the search criteria, consumers are often sent to a Search Results Pages (SRP).  The search results page would show all the “2011 Toyota Corolla” vehicles in stock.  Search Results Pages are a common feature on retail automotive websites.


However, when I investigated the performance of clicks landing on Search Results Pages (SRP), I have found some very troubling data.  It looks like SRP’s are not a great place to land consumers.  The data indicates that the majority of consumers are NOT ready to dive into specific Vehicle Detail Pages (VDP) from an SRP.

Landing Page Research Indicates THAT Something Is Wrong

I reviewed 20 Adwords VIN Level Advertising Campaigns, that send clicks to Search Results Pages (SRP), and have found that they share similar characteristics:

  • High Bounce Rates – 55-80%
  • Low VDP Engagement – Only 10-30% click to a VDP from an SRP
  • High Cost per VDP View: Over $10 per VDP view
  • High Cost Per Conversion: $50 – $250 per phone call or lead submission

The research we have shared in this article should challenge dealers using VIN Level advertising services to inspect their vendor partners that are using Search Results Pages (SRP) and Vehicle Detail Pages (VDP) as landing pages for SEM campaigns.

It is critical for someone at the dealership to inspect Adwords campaigns designed to sell new or used cars to see what percentage of clicks view a VDP and what is the true cost per conversion.  Many new car campaigns I have inspected, that send consumers to new car SRP’s, have the worst performance metrics!

Please keep in mind that VIN level advertising can be very effective if it is setup properly.  The sad fact is that many campaigns are set on auto-pilot and dealers are not getting the ROI that they were promised.

Dealers Need To Test Alternative Landing Pages

Dealers will likely find that they will need to create custom landing pages to engage the Adwords consumer in a more creative way.  Dealers cannot assume that the consumer who clicks on their SEM Ad is ready to dive into a SRP or VDP.

Dealers must test different landing page designs in their Adwords campaigns; this is not a new concept. Give the visitors from your paid search campaigns more options to convert!  Provide choices that are attractive throughout the entire lifecycle of the sales process.

Ignoring the click path metrics of your Google Adwords campaigns can be very costly. I hope that you will inspect your VIN Level Adwords campaigns based in % VDP Views, Bounce Rate, and Lead Conversion Costs.  Let me know what you find!


Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Consulting



DealerSocket User Summit 2013

By Brian Pasch

I had the opportunity to lead a workshop at the 2013 DealerSocket User Summit last week at the beautiful Ritz Carlton Hotel in Laguna Niguel, California.  This was my first time speaking at this event and it was truly a first class experience.  Hats off to the DealerSocket conference planning team, you did a great job.

I wanted to write about my workshop experience because the attendees were a very engaged crowd.  After a few minutes talking with the attendees, it was clear that anyone from a dealership that signs up for a CRM conference is 100% committed to growing in their career.  This was one of the most engaged crowds that I can remember at a conference and it was really fun to spend time with this group.

The room was packed but that was not what made it special.  The attendees ranged from Dealer Principals, General Managers, CRM Managers, and even Operations Directors for some large dealer groups.  One gentleman was responsible for the CRM utilization and training for over 70 stores!  I told him that he had a very easy job.  What was the common characteristic that the attendees shared?  They really wanted to be better at using their CRM platform.


Becoming 100% Committed To Your CRM

As I shared my presentation, it was clear that everyone in the room was committed to making their DealerSocket CRM platform “shine” in the dealership.  The questions were intelligent and the heads were shaking in agreement when a workshop attendee shared a challenge at the dealership.  You see, everyone is going through the same struggles! Everyone is seeking advice on how to change the dealership culture to become more CRM centric.  Don’t you agree?

At the workshop, I gave attendees a copy of PCG Consulting’s latest book on CRM processes entitled “Selling Cars in the Digital Age“.  My latest book is a collaboration with Marc McGurren and Ed Shaffer who have both worked inside a dealership selling cars and leading Internet teams with great success.

The chapters penned by my brother Glenn Pasch focused on training strategies to get dealership employees to “do” what you want them to do.  My contributions in the book focus on the bigger picture of today’s Internet savvy shopper. I provide examples on how to leverage technology and the CRM to connect with today’s shopper.

What was very interesting to me was the lack of educational materials in the dealership to help train, mentor, and inspire employees in regards to their career.  Attendees were so happy to have a printed book and an e-book to take back to their dealership.  One person commented that they have been looking for an updated guide to CRM sales processes and could never find one. For this attendees, the DealerSocket team provided more than just a conference but a continuing education process.

I encourage every customer facing employee in the dealership, using the CRM, to read “Selling Cars in the Digital Age” and not because I co-authored the book.  It provides the very important “WHY” behind the things that dealers ask of their employees each day.

The Scarcity of User Summits

I have not had the opportunity to speak at many User Summits in the auto industry. After this experience, I started to ask myself why other automotive vendors do not have a powerful User Summit.  The education, product training, and brand loyalty that was developed at this conference would make any Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) salivate.


I also admired DealerSocket for inviting industry partners to participate in their event.  Industry leaders including Gary May, Eric Miltsch, Cory Mosley, Jerry Thibeau, Jared Hamilton, and Paul Potratz lead workshops in their field of expertise.  This was truly a powerful automotive conference that I never knew about.  Best of all, the speakers had the opportunity to share a meal, as shown above.

DealerSocket set the bar very high at this event; few will be able to surpass the quality of workshops, meals, entertainment, and vistas from being on the coastline of Southern California.  With that said, this type of concentrated training and focused message is just what dealers need.

One Clear Message About Automotive CRM

I doubt that anyone leaving this conference received conflicting messages on how to best leverage their CRM platform. That is the strategic advantage that a User Conference conference delivers.  It empowers dealership employees to come back with a clear action plan on how to use their existing software/tools better.

If your dealership truly wants to be CRM Centric, then you need to figure out how to educate and inspire your internal CRM advocates.  You need to have a plan to educate, train, and hold accountable all employees touching the CRM. DealerSocket made the investment to help their customers, but what about you?

Today, is a great time to start that plan.


Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Consulting