By mike | Google

Aug 05

Last month I picked up another client from California. After they saw the performance on a sister store, they give me two more. In this case, it was the company that I founded that was doing their Google Adwords previously.

I know how to exploit automation, so the first thing I did was paused all of their campaigns. I used none of them. I built my own, my way. Here you can clearly see when I took over the campaigns. It was an instant success.

Impression Share VS CTR

Impression Share & CTR Reporting

These are two of my favorite metrics. I’ve done many audits for car dealers, and every single time their overall impression share is less than 50%. This means that their ads show only 1 out of two times when their keyword is searched for. It’s that simple.

Click Through Ratio is important as well. If my CTR is 2%, that means my ad gets clicked 2% of the time it’s shown. I’ve observed companies thumping their chest for getting a 4% CTR. That number is unacceptable to me. Currently my CTR for all campaigns is 13.2%. I’m very proud of that.

CTR Report

Clicks Are Down?

Absolutely! I don’t bid on cheap low quality keywords that don’t convert. When I see vendors on LinkedIn bragging about getting dealers more traffic and a cheaper CPC I cringe.


In just a month I was able to get them a 301% increase in CTR.


Obviously the impressions will be lower as well because I’m not using many broad match modifiers, therefore I’m not bidding on crappy keywords.


It wouldn’t be fair to the previous company if I bragged about a 98% increase in conversions because I set up all new ones. In the car business you have to measure quality conversions. Obviously a phone call or an email lead conversion is important to measure, but people shop for vehicles differently. They spend days or weeks vehicle shopping, and more than half of them just show up at the dealer without calling or emailing.

I use Google Tag Manager┬áto power many of my conversions because it’s an awesome tool that gives you the power to get very creative with goals and conversions. For example, you cannot measure external link clicks with Google Analytics. With Tag Manager you absolutely can.

A List Of My Conversions

I measure many things and I push a lot of events, but I only use a handful for my quality conversions. I push these back into Adwords so I can see conversions right down to the keyword.

  1. Calls From Ads. This is the only conversion I use from Adwords itself. It’s simply a phone call from an ad. Instead of clicking to the website, they click to call from the ad. So obviously most of these are from mobile.
  2. Mobile Click To Call. This conversion is huge, and it’s rarely measured. A mobile click to call link cannot be tracked with analytics alone, so tag manager makes it happen.
  3. Certified Pre-Owned VDP. This conversion only happens when a visitor spends more than 30 seconds on a vehicle detail page of a certified used vehicle. This avoids bots and such from triggering goals.
  4. Used VDP. Same only used only.
  5. New VDP. New vehicles only. If someone spends more than 30 seconds on a new vehicle detail page we can assume they are engaged in some way.
  6. Contact Forms: Anyone who submits a contact form from the dealer’s website.
  7. Driving Directions: I feel that if a visitor clicks the driving directions page it shows intent. The user is curious where they are located. It doesn’t necessarily mean they will go, but it’s a good signal of intent.
  8. CarFax Report: Most dealers offer free CarFax reports on their websites. These are external links, which cannot be measured without Google Tag Manager. This in one of my favorite KPIs because they obviously have an interest in the vehicle. Keywords that bring in this conversion are my favorite.
  9. Value Trade: This is typically an external link as well, so it’s important to measure it right down to the keyword. If someone wants to value their trade, they are considering purchasing a new car.

Conversion Rate

This comes in handing when I’m bidding on keywords, and it’s very important to measure.

Cost Per Conversion

This is something I play close attention to. For example, the term “used cars”. This could be a very competitive keyword, and the CPC is typically high. So I will look at the cost per conversion for this keyword. If it’s more than $10.00 I will dump it.



    About the Author

    I’ve been working in digital marketing since 1994. I’m the original founder of Showroom Logic based out of Miami Florida. I moved back to Carver Massachusetts to be closer to my family. After my second winter back, I am questioning my sanity.