Many auto dealerships drastically cut back their overall ad spending during the springtime COVID-19 lockdowns as a way to preserve as much of their bottom line as possible. After all, the annual pace of sales fell sharply to 8.47 million in April, down from the 17.05 million level it was pacing just a few months earlier.

However, dealerships were one of the earliest segments of business to embrace a message of widespread cleanliness and contactless business operations, and this helped them see quick recoveries by late spring.

This swift response helped dealerships gain the confidence and trust of many people who needed to service their vehicles even during the height of the stay-at-home executive orders in many parts of the country.

This strategy has paid off considerably, especially as the focus of dealership business has turned to maintaining existing vehicles and the sale of used cars and trucks that require ongoing and regular intervals of maintenance.

Dealers pivoted their strategies in early summer to shore up their service and repair operations and began shifting digital ad spending to fixed ops campaigns, as well as focusing on-site offers to convert low-funnel service/parts traffic on their websites.

Beginning in May, as dealers ramped up their focus on advertising for parts and service, they started seeing an increase in repair orders and service revenue. By June, the numbers continued to increase across the board and dealers focused on making the process of service even easier for customers through enhanced contactless pickup/drop-off.

Leveraging digital channels that place an emphasis on attracting service-interested drivers, PureCars reports a 16.9 percent increase in dealers’ ad spending on Waze during August.

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