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How car dealers can improve their digital marketing in 2014

By Debbie Kirlew

2013 saw dealers take some huge digital marketing leaps with impressive results – here’s a snapshot of some of the gains and what is likely to transpire in 2014.

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Tim Smith, commercial director at GForces, which provides internet software and services to more than half of the UK’s top 200 automotive retailers, said: “For us, last year saw digital marketing really come together as a whole in the minds of our clients. Now dealers understand the interconnection and are adopting a cohesive approach to digital.”


Search and Google

Appearing at the top of the search listings continues to dominate, which makes Google’s newest algorithm, Hummingbird, a very big deal. While it uses many already familiar elements, such as PageRank, Hummingbird aims to interpret the entire search phrase rather than focusing just on keywords. Hannah Kimuyu, paid media director at digital marketing agency Greenlight, predicts such audience targeting will be one of the biggest trends this year, with the keyword now secondary to the process.



Content will continue to be king, from posting on Facebook to uploading video. One of the easiest ways to create fresh content is to blog, as each post boosts a site’s ranking. Over the past year, the number of dealer blogs has increased substantially. Stoneacre and Perrys run established and regularly updated blogs, while Infiniti group Mana Premiere Automobiles put a blog on their website in September.

Operations director Lisa Ford said: “The blog gives us the opportunity to write about all sorts of topics which otherwise would not be given airtime.”


Website development

The continual redevelopment of websites to incorporate new technology and features is inevitable and vital. Jardine Motors Group, currently seventh in the AM100, relaunched its website in February 2013 with partner GForces. The new site uses rich content and numerous digital tools, helping to achieve a conversion rate of 17%.

Taking into account its entire web costs, including social media, SEO and paid search, Jardine’s cost per lead was reduced by 50%, to just £2.58.

More established sites are also seeing gains – Ridgeway Group’s website attracted 344,000 visits from January to August 2013, up almost a third, from 261,000 visits, on the same period a year earlier.

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