[Case Study] New Performance Max Campaign Shows Great Results for Memphis Dealership

Our team strives to always create top-performing campaigns that deliver results. But what do we do when certain digital ad platforms start throwing us curveballs? 

Digitally, everything around us seems to be evolving at an outrageous pace. Something accelerating these changes is artificial intelligence (AI). Ever heard of it? AI has been unavoidable unless you have given up on and cut ties with the world by living in seclusion out in the woods. 

Since you are reading this, I’m pretty sure that isn’t the case for you. So let’s dive into the new challenge AI has gifted us. 

Digital marketing platforms — like Google Ads, Microsoft Ads and Meta — have obviously hopped on the AI bandwagon. Most of the AI tools are just add-ons to what we already use. They provide a form of convenience to help us create campaigns easier, but there was one hiccup that our team ran into with these new AI tools.

The Challenge

In 2023, Google Ads decided to drop certain campaign types and instead integrate them into Performance Max (PMax) campaigns. One of those campaign types was Vehicle Ads (sometimes called Vehicle Listing Ads, or VLAs). 

Vehicle Ads are a great way for car dealerships to promote their vehicles online. Your inventory shows up right at the top of a person’s search, with a carousel of vehicles including images, make and model, price and other important information. It’s a great way to catch a potential customer’s attention.

We’d been using this campaign type for some of our automotive clients and had seen some good results. As we thought about expanding it to other clients, though, Google Ads made the change, upgrading Vehicle Ad campaigns to PMax. 

While change can sometimes be a good thing and sometimes a bad thing, it almost always brings unwanted variables. It raises questions about the unknown — like, “Are results going to suffer? Is AI going to ruin VLAs for our clients?” 

The Strategy

How did we deal with these unwanted changes? 

We researched how we could take advantage of this new campaign with vehicle ads. Like dealing with any other foreign situation, we made sure the campaigns were set up correctly.  

We also kept a close eye on the campaigns, checking in on them weekly to make sure everything was running smoothly. The dealerships’ inventory was automatically uploaded thanks to our software, Cumulus, and that process continued seamlessly.

One of our dealerships that we generate leads for, Norcross Mazda of Memphis, was one of the first stores to use PMax campaigns after the change. As a store, they are often at the forefront of a lot of new digital platforms, knowing sometimes they have to try different tactics to reach new customers and get better results. 

The Results

In general, PMax didn’t affect a lot of the results for some of our clients. The cost per click and conversion rates were what we normally saw with VLAs — which was great to see, considering how big of a change this was across the dozens of dealerships we work with. 

But Norcross Mazda’s campaign showed outstanding results. 

In the month of October 2023, the PMax campaign had an average cost per click of only one cent! Even better, the conversion rate was more than 50%. 

Since then, stats have still been outperforming our SEM benchmarks for automotive clients. The average CPC did increase by 3 cents, but is staying consistent with a conversion rate of 17.89%!

These stats were outperforming the benchmarks we set in place for automotive Google ads by a considerable margin.

Want Similar Results for Your Dealership?

We’re all about tailoring strategies to fit your business like a glove and making your goals a reality. Ready to dive in? 

Let’s kick things off with a chat about your goals. Whether you’re looking for marketing tips for your small auto dealership or wanting to amp up your digital marketing for your automotive group, we’ve got your back!

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