Does it ever feel like your phone can read your mind? Well, it can. Kind of. Think about it. The last time you opened up an app on your phone or went to do a search, you most likely saw an ad for a restaurant you frequent or a sale at your favorite clothing store. These ads are tailored to you based on information that has been gathered about you. This is called programmatic advertising and, along with Google Ads, are extremely powerful tools for small business owners. Just ask Andrew Knudsen, vice president of Coventry Motors in Huntington Station, New York. He recently started working with Advanced Local LLC, a marketing agency that specializes in digital marketing strategies.
Knudsen, a client of Cecil Bullard, CEO of the Institute for Automotive Business Excellence, didn’t have a clear vision of what exactly he wanted to do with his website or his marketing strategy. He was successful but knew he could be doing more. He was also looking to hire more people and was interested in targeting potential talent through geofencing.
The internet is constantly changing and even the savviest business owners will have trouble keeping up with new algorithms and the latest strategies. Knudsen knew he needed help, so he told Bullard what he was looking for. Bullard put him in touch with Tom Lambert, owner of Shadetree Automotive in Layton, Utah, who told him about Advanced Local.
Knudsen contacted the company and began working with Dan Vance, managing partner for Advanced Local.
When the two began working together in December of 2021, Vance looked at Shadetree Automotive’s website and let Knudsen know where it could be improved and made some suggestions on how. Knudsen gave him full reign and allowed him to take over the website and start fresh.
Vance started doing more marketing for the company, including taking over Google Ads. Knudsen has been thrilled with the outcome and increased traffic flow.
“Dan sent a list of keywords that have good rankings and he asked if I wanted to add some things,” Knudsen says of the process. “[I changed] it to oil service, I don’t do an oil change. We have certified mechanics, [so we added that], it’s more than a Jiffy Lube.”
Recently, he had Vance create a programmatic ad to recruit technicians to Shadetree Automotive. Programmatic ads basically program factors into an algorithm and sort out people to match a certain category, Vance explains. So, it can be used to target someone in a certain zip code, an age group, income level or even people that go to your competition. Once the target audience is created, AI can be used to deliver messages to people’s phones, Vance says. Knudsen took advantage of this and created a help wanted message and targeted the type of candidate that he wanted.
Every month, Knudsey says he gets 10 new customers off Google or the website and that quite a few people ended up coming in for the technician position and he ended up hiring two people. He adds that he even had customers come in after seeing the ad for technicians because they liked how it was worded.
Working with a company has increased traffic and taken a lot of stress off Knudsen and he says it pays for itself quite quickly. Knudsen estimates that every month, Vance pays for himself within the first week.
Both Vance and Knudsen agree that if shops aren’t investing in digital marketing, they need to start.
“The days of the penny saver are gone,” Knudsen says.
Vance echoes this and adds that people love the internet. So, it only makes sense to market where people are actually looking. Going at it on your own is possible, but it can be tricky.
“My job is hard enough. I don’t want to add to my plate. To be able to have a company that will deal with it, it eliminates the stress,” Knudsen says. “You can’t do it yourself. The algorithm is constantly changing. It’s changed five or six times since I’ve started working with them. The increase in sales you’ll see will pay for them hand over foot.”
Google Ads vs. Programmatic Ads
What they are and when to use them
Dan Vance, managing partner for Advanced Local, a marketing agency that specializes in digital marketing strategies, breaks down programmatic advertising and Google Ads.
Programmatic Advertising: These are ads that pop up on your phone based on key factors that the company can program in to create a target audience. Other terms that are sometimes used to describe this type of advertising are mobile marketing or geofencing. These are the ads that pop up when you open your weather app, for example.
Better for: Recruiting customers or talent, as you can send the message to the target audience of your choosing.
Google Ads: This type of advertising is based on searches. So, if a customer searches “what should I do if my check engine light is on?” businesses that have bid to display advertising will show up at the top, and they are usually local.
Better for: Since these searches go based on user intent, i.e. getting a tire rotation, they are better for creating quick opportunities for new customers.