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Google Advertising For Auto Parts – 5 Oddball Tips

With more than a decade of experience managing Google Ads campaigns for auto part and accessories companies, we thought we’d share some of the oddball tips and tricks we have picked up along the way. If you’re in charge of advertising at your company, you might find at least one of these tips helpful.

Tip #1 – Beware Vintage, Exotic, And Foreign Makes And Models

It’s easy to trigger a Google or Bing text ad with a vintage, exotic, or foreign vehicle make and model. Search for an obscure model like “Cord 810 shocks” or “Duesenberg Model J brake rotors,” and there’s a good chance you’ll see text ads from companies that do not have parts for these obscure fitments.

The Cord 810 was the first American-made FWD vehicle with an independent suspension. Many people say it’s one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Image via Cliff.

To be fair, Google text ads can be triggered dynamically by Google, with no control over when they will show. However, we see this often enough that many advertisers likely aren’t thinking about this particular issue. And because many vintage, exotic, and foreign makes and models are rarely searched, this is a problem that can stay hidden for a while.

Tip #2 – Watermarks Are No Good For Google Shopping

Look at enough Google shopping ads, and you’re bound to see product images that include watermarks. This is against the rules of Google Shopping, only watermarks aren’t always found in the initial feed review.

As a result, you can have a perfectly healthy Google Ad campaign go dark because of a surprise policy violation. While the team at Google’s Merchant Center usually issues a warning and gives advertisers several weeks to correct the issue, they can technically suspend an account for this violation.

Trick: If you need to remove watermarks from several thousand images quickly and cheaply, you can find help on a website like Fiverr.

Tip #3 – Consumers Ready To Buy Often Search By Brand Name

When people are looking for parts on Google, there are a few standard ways they can search:

  • Year Make Model Part Type (like “2003 Ford F150 ABS Pump”)
  • Year Model Part Type (“2003 F150 ABS Pump”)
  • Model Part Type (“F150 ABS Pump”)
  • Part Number (“YL3Z2C219AA”)
  • Brand Part Type (“Dorman ABS Pump”)

That last one – brand part type – is a good one. Consumers who have zeroed in on a particular brand part are probably past the point of “doing research” or “seeing what’s available.” They’ve likely identified a brand they want to buy, and are looking for a retailer that carries that brand.

Much like people searching by part number, you can get the sale if you can buy the click.

Tip #4 – Study The Assisted Conversion Report In Analytics

Because of a wide variety of tracking issues, most of the data you see reported in Google Analytics is fuzzy. And this issue is only going to get worse as cookie-based tracking goes away.

About 4 years ago, Google Analytics and Google Ads launched am attribution model platform that aimed to correct the inherent fuzziness of tracking (if you’re not familiar with the inherent issues all attribution models face, check out this Google support article). This resulted in a very handy “assisted conversion” report that’s available (for free!) in Google Analytics. Just navigate to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions to see how your various channels perform when they’re credited with an “assist” each time they touch a customer.

Tip #5 – It’s Smart To Advertise On Keywords You Already Rank For

Ever since Google Ads was launched (back then it was called AdWords), there’s been a debate about whether advertisers should target keywords they already rank for organically. Some say there’s no reason to target a search term that your site might get anyways, and that argument is certainly intuitive.

However, like a lot of aspects of online marketing, intuition is often wrong. More than a decade ago, researchers showed pretty conclusively that advertising on relevant keywords almost always makes sense – even if your site is already ranked #1. The reasons are two-fold:

  1. Ads take up a lot of space at the top of the Google search page – if your company doesn’t advertise, some customers won’t see your organic search result (assuming other companies advertise for the term, that is).
  2. Even if your ads don’t help you get additional clicks, they help with conversions and revenue because they present sales-oriented messaging. Your text ad copy is often more compelling (from a conversion standpoint) than your Google search result title and meta description (which is often rewritten by Google).

The purpose of any ad is to get the customer’s attention. And we know that we can get more of the customer’s attention with more exposure (that’s the foundation of all mass media advertising, basically). So, logically, more exposure is intrinsically good.

Summing Up

There are a lot of little gotchas in Google advertising. The more experience you have, the more you know what to watch out for.

At Spork, we’ve been managing Google Ads campaigns since Google Ads was called Google AdWords and Myspace was still a thing (way back in 2006). If you’re an auto parts or accessories company looking for help with your Google Ads account, give us a shout.

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Auto parts in the cardbox. Automotive basket shop. Auto parts store.