Auto matchmaker Autobytel connects car shoppers with dealers nationwide. To connect with its consumers at key moments in the purchase journey, Autobytel uses a profit-driven marketing approach. The company drove high-quality customers to Autobytel dealers by increasing bids at the opportune time: when the signals in consumer behavior showed high intent to buy. The company was willing to pay more for the right kind of click and using Google AdWords, it boosted profits by over 60%.


  • Connect with as many customers searching for new and used cars as possible
  • Drive more ready-to-buy car shoppers to Autobytel manufacturer and dealer partners
  • Increase profit from AdWords campaigns


  • Empower search marketing team with flexible budgets
  • Evaluate historical revenue data and consumer Search behavior to better assign value to every click
  • Optimize bids by evaluating total profit vs. only max CPA


  • Increased conversions by 60%
  • Increased account-wide profit by over 60%
May 2014

Since 1995, Autobytel has turned millions of car shoppers into car buyers by connecting them with dealers and manufacturers nationwide. As a trusted thirdparty source, Autobytel empowers consumers to take the car-buying process into their own hands by providing free price quotes from dealers. Auto dealers are then connected to these ready-to-buy shoppers. In fact, a referral from Autobytel converts into a sale at over twice the industry average.

Capturing more demand with flexible budgets

Autobytel’s consumer acquisition team takes a consumer-first approach when it comes to equipping its search marketers with the right resources and tools to succeed with AdWords. Instead of sticking to a fixed budget, the search team is empowered to reach as many qualified shoppers as possible.

Wesley Rock, search engine marketing manager at Autobytel, believes a consumer-first approach is key to the most effective AdWords strategies. “One thing we’ve found with AdWords is that it lets end users cast their vote to tell us what they want, when they want it,” he shares. “We develop new campaigns only after carefully evaluating how our ready-to-buy car shoppers are searching. With this approach, we see AdWords delivering more and more car buyers to our site month after month.”

Bidding smarter by measuring value per click

The Autobytel team assigns a value to every click using sophisticated technology that integrates directly with Google AdWords. This integration enables it to attribute revenue from its AdWords spend to easily create profitability profiles for every keyword.

Ralph Smith, vice president of consumer acquisition at Autobytel, notes, “Advancements in the AdWords API have given us incredible flexibility in retrieving valuable keyword KPIs that we integrate with our own internal tools. The transparency and freshness of data allows our team to make intelligent bidding and marketing decisions, near real time.”

Optimizing for total profit instead of a target CPA

Billy Ferriolo, senior vice president of consumer acquisition at Autobytel, doesn’t believe all clicks are created equal. “Consumers are at all levels of the purchase funnel, and in many cases their behavioral signals indicate they have a higher intent to purchase. When we identify these signals, we look to increase our bids and drive even more ready-to-buy shoppers to our partner dealers. If a consumer is looking to buy within the next 24 hours, we shouldn’t handcuff ourselves to a max CPA,” says Ferriolo.

Autobytel is willing to pay more per click, knowing that it can connect them with more of the right consumers at the right time, ultimately bringing more value to dealers.

Results worth sharing

Autobytel’s consumer-focused search marketing strategy has driven impressive results. In fact, conversions have increased 60%, while total profit from AdWords has increased by more than 60% annually.

Based on results so far, the company is excited to continue applying a profit-driven strategy to keep meeting consumer needs as well as provide increasing value to its partners.