Dealers have long embraced targeted advertising as a key way to attract customers in the $1.1 trillion automotive industry. In fact, automotive is the second highest media spending industry in the U.S. and this spending shows no signs of slowing down. NADA data recently found that mass market dealerships spend 8.9% of total gross on advertising each year.
While dealerships spend a significant amount of budget on advertising to attract qualified consumer leads, many fall behind when it comes to investing in employee sourcing channels like job boards. Below, we’ve outlined how automotive ad spending has evolved in recent years and why you shouldn’t overlook applicant sourcing and recruitment efforts in your dealership’s online advertising plan.
The Shift to Digital Advertising
The automotive industry has evolved significantly over the past decade or so – including how the industry targets and attracts customers. Many dealers in the late 1990s and early 2000s relied heavily on newspaper ads, printed brochures, TV ads and flashy branding – such as balloons and other inflatables in front of the dealership. But such advertising channels have dwindled in recent years.
On average, consumers spend six hours a day browsing and interacting with digital media channels – including researching their next car purchase. Recognizing that car buyers today complete most of their research online, many dealerships have shifted to digital advertising to reach their target audience. Dealers now spend around 63% of their marketing budgets on online and digital advertisements. And dealers are tapping into a wide variety of sources to get their digital ads in front of their target audience – including online ad giants such as Google and Facebook and listing websites like AutoTrader and CarFax.
Going beyond maintaining a dealership website, online ads – including display and social media ads – can help your dealership to reach local car buyers while they’re browsing online. The ads will ultimately drive potential customers to dealership websites and, eventually, into the dealership to make a purchase.
Embrace Online Advertising to Source Candidates
Online advertising shouldn’t only be used to attract qualified consumer leads. Your dealership should also have a strategy in place to embrace digital advertising for dealership recruitment. Since most consumers have likely already made a buying decision before walking into your dealership, the only thing standing between your customers and the final sale is your people. This means no matter how much you spend on consumer advertising via online sources and other channels, if your customers don’t have a great experience with your dealership employees, they might leave and bring their business to the dealership down the street.
When it comes to dealership recruitment and applicant sourcing, some dealers might buy single, costly online job board postings any time an open role needs to be immediately filled. To optimize job board spending, you should instead diversify your recruitment channels to more than 1-2 sources. Over time, casting a wider net across job boards, social feeds and local classified ads enables you to reach quality candidates through more sources while saving money that otherwise would have been spent on a single costly job board posting.
Another benefit of diversifying your sourcing strategy and broadening your applicant sourcing budget across sources is that it enables your dealership recruitment to be more proactive about your hiring. Instead of buying a one-off job posting, consider buying continuous job postings – at a much lower low cost – for roles you regularly fill. Doing so enables you to build a pipeline of quality talent to tap into in the event an employee leaves the company or your business suddenly grows. This type of proactive recruiting is particularly helpful for high turnover and other roles you know you’ll be hiring for several times throughout the year – such as dealership auto technicians or sales staff.
Measure Your Digital Advertising ROI
For both online consumer advertising and sponsored job board postings, it’s critical to measure the effectiveness of your digital advertising. If certain advertising channels or job boards are bringing in more qualified customers or quality job applicants, you can allocate more budget toward those sources while eliminating sources that aren’t helping your dealership meet its goals.
On the digital advertising side, budgeting typically revolves around cost per impressions, cost per click, or related metrics. Regularly track your click-through rates and total car sales by consumers who initially saw your online ads to ensure your ads are working and you’re not going over budget.
By diversifying your recruitment advertising strategy instead of only focusing on 1-2 job boards, you can more effectively measure which ones are bringing in the most quality candidates and the total cost per hire – and eliminate the job boards that don’t result in quality candidates. To understand your sourcing budget ROI, divide the total costs of each channel by the number of quality applicants you receive. This will give you a cost per candidate, which is helpful for comparing different job boards and other networks that might have different pricing models.
A diverse sourcing strategy is just a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to dealership recruitment and hiring quality candidates who will ultimately provide the great experience your customers expect. To learn more about building your best team at your dealership, download our eBook, “Planning for People in Retail Automotive.”