Yahoo Bing SEM Outperforms Google for Auto Vertical

Haystak Digital Marketing says the Yahoo Bing Network achieves higher conversion rates with lower cost-per-conversion for its independent auto dealer customers.

Haystak, which is owned by a subsidiary of AutoTrader, offers search-engine marketing, search-engine optimization and other digital marketing services for car dealers. Because cars are large-ticket items, these dealers may spend as much as $70,000 monthly on marketing, and competition for local search ads is fierce, according to Duncan Scarry, senior director at Haystak.

Haystak has found that 70 percent of people who visit a car manufacturer’s website will visit a dealer website within 30 minutes. “You can go on the manufacturer’s site and build the car with color, interior, options and, quite frankly, you can build a car that doesn’t exist. People go on the dealer’s site to see current inventory, incentives and pricing,” Scarry says.

Any dealer may have several competitors within easy driving distance for auto shoppers. For example, according to Scarry, there are 50 General Motor dealerships within the Tampa designated market area. There may be three to seven search ads for every automotive search. “There’s quite an art in building your campaigns to capture a wide array of searches with the smallest amount of keywords in a way that allows you to capture that click,” he says.

Haystak clients typically see a lower cost-per-conversion and a higher conversion rate with Yahoo Bing search ads than with Google AdWords. The lower cost-per-conversion is simply explained: “Our marketplace is less competitive than Google,” says Tracy Northcutt, senior marketing manager, product marketing, for Bing. Therefore, “We are more competitive on cost-per-click.”

While Google is the dominant search engine, Microsoft points out that the Yahoo Bing Network has a 29 percent search share, per comScore. Moreover, many search exclusively on this network. In June 2013, there were 11 million automotive searches that took place exclusively on Bing.

Northcutt thinks that’s in part because of the popularity of MSN Autos and Yahoo Autos. “When you have people using portals, they’ll naturally be directed to the search engine,” she says.

Scarry adds, “Our dealers typically wouldn’t advertise on Bing unless we encourage them to do it, so there are fewer dealers advertising on that platform. Advertising in a less competitive space, you can get better positioning for a lower overall cost.”

But Haystak doesn’t encourage auto dealers to advertise on the Yahoo Bing network simply because of the lower cost per click; there’s also the higher conversion rate. One Haystak client saw a 46 percent higher conversion rate on Bing, compared to Google.

A comScore custom study found that those searching exclusively on Bing tend to spend 38 percent more than the average internet searcher and 18 percent more than Google searchers.

bing-age-skewThis could be because Bing searchers tend to be a bit older – 35 years and older – compared to Google’s search audience. Northcutt says, “Our audience is in that age group where they actively making larger purchases such as a vehicle or home loan. They also have different life events, like getting married or having a child.”

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