Let L2TMedia Guide you on how to use the Google Dealer Playbook

27 Sep Let L2TMedia Guide you on how to use the Google Dealer Playbook

In last week’s Auto News magazine, Google announced its new Dealer Playbook – Google created this Playbook to help dealers prioritize Google’s products based on their marketing objectives. Its objective is to help answer the question, “What is the best way to work with your digital marketing vendors and Google?”

Why do we need a Dealer Playbook?

The Dealer Playbook explains the basics and best practices for Google’s platforms. Since 95% of auto research is done digitally, and the average car shopper only compares four brands and visits fewer than two dealerships, you have to make sure your dealership is in the consideration set. This Playbook will help dealerships maximize their digital marketing strategies and capture car shoppers who are increasingly turning to mobile devices to research vehicles. It breaks down what car shoppers are expecting from dealerships in the digital age while providing information on Google’s platforms such as search and YouTube. A better understanding of Google’s platforms will help dealers reach those specific in-market, ready-to-buy car consumers as they search for their next car or service.

What is the Google Dealer Playbook?

Google has defined four pillars that provide a framework that aligns with Google best practices – “Foundational Fundamentals,” “Brilliant Basics,” “Today’s Differentiators” and “Future Growth Levers.” This emphasizes that you are paying attention to the fundamentals first, before moving on to the marketing tactics that can differentiate you and your dealership once you have a solid digital marketing base.

The “Foundational Fundamentals” are areas where you should absolutely be optimizing your dealership’s digital efforts, such as a mobile-responsive website and 90% impression share on branded keywords. If you’re not knocking these fundamentals out of the park, then you’re not using Google in the right way. “Brilliant Basics” describes basic, but often overlooked, digital marketing tactics that all dealers should focus on optimizing. “Today’s Differentiators” includes tried-and-true strategies that have been adopted by more digitally savvy dealerships to stand out but still aren’t used by many stores. Running campaigns for certified pre-owned vehicles is an example on how to stand out from your competition. Then there is “Future Growth Levers” which lays out the future for Google and L2TMedia and is the area where you’ll see what’s coming next in digital marketing.

Break it down

Foundational Fundamentals need to be in place before doing any other digital marketing. We know that mobile is critical to success – car shoppers expect your page load time to be less than three seconds along with no broken links. Test your site by using testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com to make sure your website is fully optimized to convert car shoppers to leads. And it’s just as critical that your mobile paid search strategy is getting those mobile customers to your mobile-optimized website – your ads should take up 100% of the mobile real estate by using relevant ad copy, price extensions, call extensions, click-to-message and location extensions.

As part of the paid search basics, Google recommends a 90% impression share on your branded search terms – that means car shoppers are finding you 90% of the time when they are searching for your brand. L2TMedia creates multiple ads per ad group and utilizes optimal ad rotation, which is also a paid search best practice. We ensure that all relevant ad extensions are activated for our customers. Another part of the fundamentals is ensuring that you’re tracking calls, form submissions and VDP views, which L2TMedia does as well. We use software that removes spam calls and any calls lasting less than 15 seconds from your lead counts.

In addition, the Google Playbook reminds you to also focus on your fixed operations business; with car sales flattening out in 2017-2018, now is the time to promote your service and parts business with paid search.

Brilliant Basics are the next priority. Many of you have heard Google present their “micro-moments” of a car shoppers’ journey – the last three micro-moments are “can I afford it, am I getting a deal and where should I buy?” We create campaigns to follow these micro-moments:

L2TMedia Campaign Definition Micro-Moment
Branded Keywords related to the dealership’s name Where Should I Buy?
Regional Keywords related to geo-locations Where Should I Buy?
Dealer Keywords related to dealer and proximity Where Should I Buy?
Model Keywords related to specific models Can I Afford It? Am I Getting A Deal?


And remember video is king – if you’ve covered the fundamentals and basics up to this point, harness the power of YouTube advertising to drive shoppers to take action. Watch our recent L2TMedia webinar to learn more about YouTube advertising. If you’re not there, you should be, because your customers already are. The final Basic is display advertising – L2TMedia uses the Google Display Network with its reach of 90% of internet users. Display advertising also increases reach and user engagement throughout the buying cycle, putting ads in front of many new users and driving significant web traffic. L2TMedia also utilizes YouTube and display as great remarketing opportunities.
L2TMedia also has all accounts set up for RSLA and Similar Audiences (for more details, check out our special report). We will activate Customer Match if the dealership provides a list of 10,000+ emails.

Today’s Differentiators are tested and true growth strategies. This is where you start to expand your paid search reach by using used-car campaigns, upper-funnel keywords such as make or make + model keywords, and conquest strategies. For example, you could expand your campaign to more “research-oriented” search terms once you’ve mastered the fundamentals mentioned above. Also, prioritize where to focus on your next best audience with your digital marketing tactics. Consider testing creative for specific digital channels such as a 6-second video ad.

And finally, Future Growth Levers is the area you’ll see more developments. L2TMedia is working closely with Google to ensure we’re in lockstep to continue to grow and improve our technology and products.


We think the Google Playbook is a great guide for dealers when it comes to prioritizing your budgets and digital marketing campaigns to focus on what’s critical. As a Google Premier Partner, we will continue to work closely with Google to ensure that we are always developing and adopting best practices. Listen to our webinar that teaches how to Leverage the Google Dealer Playbook.

  • Steve Constable
    Posted at 13:30h, 03 October Reply

    “Since 95% of auto research is done digitally, and the average car shopper only compares four brands and visits fewer than two dealerships, you have to make sure your dealership is in the consideration set.”

    Hello Diane, where did you get this information from? Can you provide a link to it?

    How does this compare with other industries other than the car industry? Why is it so heavily dependent on digital marketing?

    • Diane Massie
      Posted at 13:39h, 03 October Reply

      That information was provided by Google from their Google/TNS Path to Purchase study. I do not have a link to that study. The auto industry is heavily dependent on digital marketing because of its target of ready-to-buy car shoppers. Thanks for the questions.

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