Ford Motor Co. has started a year-long program that entails the carmaker reimbursing its 3,200 dealers for part of their cost to advertise on Google and other search engines. Stacey Coopes, chief executive of FordDirect, a digital marketing arm for Ford and its dealers, said that the carmaker is aiming to introduce Ford dealers to paid search if they aren't using it as well as to boost the budget of dealers who are employing such method.
"Ford is making a big bet on digital," she during the National Automobile Dealers Association convention. Just like other co-op reimbursement, the amount will be fixed to the new-vehicle sales of each dealership. A source privy with the program told Automotive News that Ford's monthly reimbursement will average about $500 per dealership.
Paid search is a form of online advertising wherein dealers bid for keywords that will have their ads placed at the top or right side of a search page on Google or another search engine. Dealers only have to pay for the ad when a shopper clicks on it or when a link on the search page takes them to their Web site.
To be eligible for the reimbursement, dealers have to use one of four program-certified vendors to manage their paid search: Dealer.com, L2TMedia, PureCars or Search Optics, Coopes said.
Ford is not the only carmaker using such programs leaning on digital advertising. Chrysler Group, Scion and others brands have also launched or changed co-op programs to increase dealers' digital advertising and capitalize on changing shopping patterns. [source: automotive news - sub. required]