The large majority of Australian car buyers use the web to do research before driving off a lot in a new car. To determine the effectiveness of its Search ads in bringing people to its dealerships, Honda Australia turned to Google's store visit conversions tool.

Goals

  • Connect Search ads to dealership visits
  • Calculate accurate ROI
  • Effectively allocate marketing budget

Approach

  • Used store visit conversions to determine how often Search ads led to dealership visits
  • Optimised Search budget

Results

  • Uncovered that Search campaigns have a 38:1 ROI
  • Determined that 7.4% of paid clicks on mobile and 6.1% of paid clicks on desktop led to dealership visits
Published
November 2016
Topics

Honda Australia, one of the top automotive manufacturers in the country, has always been an early adopter of digital technologies. It had succeeded in reaching Australians who research, communicate, and compare car options online—and it wanted to have a greater understanding of how effective its digital marketing really was.

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Consumers are exposed to ads and messages throughout their paths to purchase, a lengthy process for many Australians. Even in today's digital world, Australians' paths to purchase average three months.1 And while 90% of Honda Australia's customers use digital at some point during their research journey, only 33% fill out a form online.1 This creates a challenge for car manufacturers. They know people are going online, but it's difficult to track which online efforts actually lead to a dealership visit and purchase.

To help solve this challenge, Honda Australia turned to Google's store visit conversions.

Using store visit conversions to connect the dots to Honda dealership visits

Honda Australia used store visit conversions to measure the aggregated statistics of Google users who clicked on one of its Search ads and then visited a dealership. The tool matched users' anonymised location histories with the locations of Honda's 107 Australian dealerships across. To achieve accurate results, Google also surveyed users to confirm that an actual visit happened.

"The way customers purchase vehicles evolves constantly, and an optimised digital consumer journey is more important than ever."

With these anonymous, aggregated statistics, Honda Australia was able to better understand how customers' ad clicks influence store visits.

Determining the true impact of Honda's Search ads

Store visit conversions enabled Honda Australia to accurately calculate the ROI of its search marketing campaigns. Thanks to store visits reporting, Honda realised that 6.1% of paid clicks on desktops were followed by a dealership visit within 30 days.

Interestingly, the number was even higher on mobile, where 7.4% of paid clicks eventually led to a dealership visit. With smartphone ownership at 80% in Australia2 and nearly half of all automotive searches occurring on mobile devices,1 it's more important than ever that auto brands understand mobile's true impact on their businesses.

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After analysing the data and accounting for the influence of other media, Honda calculated that its Google Search campaigns had a massive 38-to-1 ROI.

With this information in hand, Honda can now optimise its campaigns. In the months since it made changes and improved its measurement technology, Honda Australia has seen steady increases in dealership visits driven by paid Search ads.

"The way customers purchase vehicles evolves constantly, and an optimised purchase journey is more important than ever," concluded Ben Familton, brand communications manager at Honda Australia.

Sources
1 Google/TNS, “Auto Path to Purchase Study,” 2015.
2 Google Consumer Barometer, 2016, Australia.