[Case Study] Google, Bing and Facebook Ads Boost Used Car Dealership’s First Year

Starting a new business is tough, and the automotive industry is no exception. 

Denny Menholt CarMart 360 in Missoula, Mont., opened in February 2021. This used car dealership model isn’t new to the Denny Menholt Auto Group, and they saw an opportunity to grow in Missoula by establishing a leading used car dealership. However, they knew they needed to build awareness for the new dealership and drive traffic to their inventory — all in the middle of a pandemic. 

Luckily, with the right mix of digital advertising, new stores like CarMart 360 can make a big splash online.

The Challenge:

CarMart 360 was starting from scratch online. Like all new businesses, they had a brand new website — so no SEO history and thus no awareness by search engines (like Google) that the business exists. Even with a perfect website, it takes time to drive traffic through strictly SEO best practices. 

In addition, Denny Menholt already had another store in Missoula: Denny Menholt University Honda. These partner stores wanted to be efficient with their advertising dollars—optimizing their spending by targeting the right people for each store, and avoiding costly targeting overlap as much as possible. And with many of the challenges in the automotive industry in 2021, they wanted to get fast results and set themselves up for success. 

The auto group has partnered with 9 Clouds for many years, and they turned to the digital marketing team at 9 Clouds to help them achieve their business goals for CarMart 360 Missoula.

The Solution:

Whenever you start a new website, it’s tough to get Google to show your site above other competitors. That’s where digital advertising comes in. And if you want to drive traffic and get faster results, a combination of search engine marketing and Facebook ads is hard to beat. 

9 Clouds helped CarMart 360 Missoula to craft a strategy that included Facebook campaigns, a Google search ads campaign and a Microsoft Ads (formerly known as Bing) campaign. With this marketing focused on building brand awareness, advertising vehicles and even retargeting website traffic, the dealership was able to reach used vehicle shoppers in the Missoula area. 

And to avoid store advertising overlap, the Honda dealership worked with 9 Clouds to scale back their advertising, targeting only new and certified Honda buyers — using their marketing dollars more efficiently and effectively. 

The Results

In about ten months of advertising, the CarMart 360 Missoula website saw more than 54,000 sessions — averaging a little more than 5,100 sessions per month. While not all of that can be tied to search engine and Facebook marketing, Google Analytics shows us that 51% of those website visitors came from paid search tactics (a.k.a Facebook, Bing and Google Ads campaigns). Google Ads and Facebook ads have been the #1 and #2 sources of traffic since the website launched. 

We’re happy to see many metrics tracked in these campaigns continually meet or exceed industry performance benchmarks. Looking specifically at cost-per-click (CPC) and click-through rate (CTR) in 2021, our campaigns averaged:

  • $0.61 CPC for Facebook 
  • 2.31% CTR for Facebook 
  • $1.44 CPC for Google Ads
  • 10.83% CTR for Google Ads (more than double the industry average)
  • $1.77 CPC for Microsoft Ads 
  • 7.35% CTR for Microsoft Ads (more than double the industry average)

These metrics are all well and good, of course, but is that traffic converting to leads and sales? Data from the CRM attributed an average of 72 leads per month to internet sources in 2021, including paid search and Facebook ads. 

Get Results Like These for Your Dealership

We tailor our strategies to your business’s needs. We have the experience to help you achieve your dealership’s goals — whether you’re a new car dealership or one who’s been around for years.

Let’s get started with a conversation about your goals. Need ideas for marketing your small automotive dealership? Want to streamline your digital marketing for your automotive group? We’re here to help. 

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