- Tuesday, 28 October 2014
- Julian Kirk
City West Commercials has won a UK record contract with an order for 50 Mercedes-Benz trucks.
- Tuesday, 28 October 2014
- Gordon lyster
Back in the days when most of today's motor dealers were cutting their teeth, the options to promote specific items of vehicle stock to prospective punters came in the form of print advertising. Motoring magazines, pure classified advertising publications and the motoring sections of local and national newspapers offered pages and pages of alphabetical make and model listings. Annoyingly, the publisher's lead times meant that most adverts were well out of date by the time they hit the news-stands and in terms of pounds per reader, the ads were pricey. Talk to a dealer back then and they'd have told you that cars for sale advertising was too expensive and did not generate enough response.
Then along came the broadband internet and everything changed. Newspaper and magazine publishers ploughed fortunes into creating digital versions of their print titles thinking that their newspaper/magazine/listings would continue to be the destination for all those advertising pounds. For the most part they were wrong.
What the traditional publishers didn't reckon on was the search engines and just how effective they would be at hoovering up marketing spend that had previously been going into the small ads sections of their titles. By charging what looked to be far less than the price of a print ad and delivering the promise of much bigger audiences, broadband internet meant that the classified advertising of cars shifted online at break neck speed.
Fast forward to today and despite an apparent explosion in online classified websites and services for advertising cars for sale, some run by the traditional print publishers with familiar old-school publication names. In the cars for sale space, most sites are such distant also-rans behind one dominant market leading player, that using them rather than the market leader is nearly more trouble that it is worth. When it comes to classified listings sites, most dealers tell us that they are faced with options that are too expensive and do not generate enough response.
In an ideal world, dealers would simply need to list their cars on their own well structured and search engine optimised website and the search engines' smart algorithms would index them so that a customer looking for a specific make and model would have the matching items of a dealer's stock served up in what are referred to as organic search results.
Obviously the search engines are far too commercially savvy for that, and being in business to make money they simply skew their results by allowing website owners to pay in a myriad of different ways to push themselves to the top of the listings. So despite the undoubtedly huge reach of the search engines, a common complaint from dealer marketers attempting to utilise paid search is that it is too expensive and does not generate enough response.
Whether it's the market leader or this month's newest classified listings cars for sale start-up, fundamentally what's on offer is the facility to put your stock into a searchable database of cars that is either paying or playing the search engines more than you are to appear higher up in their results than you can on your own.
As a consequence this editor is left wondering if the website owners have really moved the game on, or just taken up where the print publishing industry left off. Talk to dealers and they seem pretty clear, ask them about cars for sale options online and they'll tell you they are too expensive and do not generate enough response.