Home Blog A Car Buyer’s Journey: The Importance of Relevant Digital Advertising

A Car Buyer’s Journey: The Importance of Relevant Digital Advertising

This article is a true account of a car buyer’s journey, as told by one of our Strategic Sales Executives, Matt Wagner. Matt sold his friend her Acura TSX in 2006, and she turned to him for advice when it was time to look for a new vehicle. She loved her Acura, but was considering something larger, so she looked at a few TL’s, both new and used. Her experience is a testament to the value of relevancy in digital advertising and the role it plays in a car buying journey.

After searching for the TL and going to a local Acura dealer’s site to look. Here is what she was targeted with from the dealer:

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She started shifting gears in her thoughts and search on her next car. Her husband has a 2002 4Runner that he bought in 2003, it has tons of miles, no major issues, and they love it. They also added a black lab to the family in 2016. Buoy is already huge and she figured it was time for a Truck or SUV over another sedan.  At first, she started searching on Google for Tundra’s and then moved to a few year old 4Runner. She looked at many of them online.

This couple and I have known each other and been very close friends for over 15 years. We have shared birthdays together, housewarmings, traveled many times for hockey tournaments, etc. They know to come to me when either they or friends/family are looking for a car. I have helped their co-workers, siblings, and even her mom find a car. She decided on exactly what she wanted, did some searches on Google (I asked, she searched “Used 2015 and 2016 Toyota 4Runner Limited in Black”). She looked at many sites, had a TON of issues finding what she was searching for in both the paid search section, and even worse in the organic section of Google. Not many ads lead her to what she searched for. In one of her searches, the Google ad had lead her to the perfect 4Runner, then she texted me:

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I told her Toyota of Kirkland is a PureCars client, I know the GM very well, and even bought my wife’s Acura RDX from him when he was at his groups Acura store last year. I made a call to the GM, gave them phone numbers, they went in and bought this 4Runner that evening. Easy, great deal!

She was extremely happy with everything so far and was texting me while they were waiting to go into the finance office to finish up the paperwork, and while on Facebook wasting time waiting…. She saw this ad:

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As you can see, this is the exact 4Runner she looked at and sent me a text about earlier that day. No other random cars in the ad, just this one she looked at.

This got me thinking…. She was thanking me for “hooking her up” with the deal. I asked her if she looked at other 4Runners on other dealers sites. She said yes, lots. So I asked her to send me screenshots of some of the other ads she will be getting in her Facebook newsfeed. She was more than happy to do so. And in fact, she is still sending me some. Here is her experience after looking at Toyota 4Runners:


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Above text speaks for itself. This is a program that will retarget the dealer’s website visitors… with random inventory.

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They did get a 4Runner in there… but look at the next vehicle. Why is that even in there?

This is a true, real life experience from a real car shopper. Check engine light came on, the micro moments started happening (loved her Acura, looked at another, realized needed something bigger because of the dog, loved their other 4Runner), lead her down the path of searching on Google and these are real ads your vendors are serving for you. Nothing is relevant. All they are giving you is impression numbers. Same happens on Google, none of her searches lead her to a car she was searching for. She told me it was extremely painful and frustrating. Two of the specific experiences she had were correct…. The Google ad for the 2015 4Runner took her directly to that exact car on the dealer’s website, and then they retargeted her with that exact car only (the next day they didn’t target her anymore because the car was out of their inventory so zero wasted budget) and then the new Tundra ad she received which again, was the exact Tundra she was searching on Google for and NEVER went to Rodland’s website.

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Both Toyota of Kirkland and Rodland Toyota are PureCars clients utilizing SmartAdvertising PPC, Display/Retargeting, and Social ads. They were the only ones that gave her relevancy in her entire experience. Do you want to continue to waste ad dollars and send irrelevant messages to shoppers ready to buy? How would you like to capture and win the low funnel shoppers in your market?

Rebecca Taylor

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