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Maximise online ad spend

Dealers are wasting £17 million of their online advertising with poor quality adverts, according to research from used car website, fish4cars.

The company analysed 322,000 individual trade car advertisements posted on its website by over 3,000 dealers in October this year.

Fish4cars discovered that 17% of the adverts posted were not supported with a photograph, the number one factor that prospective buyers look for when browsing adverts online. This means almost 55,000 adverts were effectively wasted.

In addition, fish4cars estimates that poor quality advertisements lacking in basic details such as colour, transmission or number of doors are costing retailers an extra £20 million in wasted advertising spend each year.

Colin Mathieson, sales director for fish4cars, said: “Since the online advertising market for cars has boomed over the last two years, with 40% year on year growth, it’s fantastic to see that retailers are increasingly embracing new technological channels to sell their vehicles.

“It’s worrying, however, that despite the 2008 market being worth an estimated £110 million, a large proportion of retailers aren’t utilising their resources in the most appropriate way. In our experience, we have found that a lot of businesses are wasting a huge amount of their online spend because they are making basic errors when it comes to submitting their adverts.”

The fish4cars research also highlights the most common errors that car retailers make when posting advertisements. As well as not adding photographs to the site, they include not including adequate information about the vehicle, or including out-of-date or library images to the advertisement.

Fish4cars has created some guidelines for dealers which it believes will help them maximise return on online advertising spend:

  • Pictures are key to capturing a prospective buyer’s imagination. A clear main photograph together with close-ups of the car details is ideal.

  • It’s essential to use detailed vehicle data and include as much about the car as possible – everything from make and model, engine size and number of doors.

  • Detailed descriptions of the vehicle are also key. This is where a seller can bring the vehicle to life for the car buyer, avoid acronyms commonly associated with newspaper advertising and type every word in full.

  • Logos of the retailer help to create and reinforce trust in the mind of the buyer that they are dealing with a reputable vendor.
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