This is the first entry in a series exploring the impact of PPC advertising in various industries.

The auto industry is well positioned to take full advantage of the benefits of pay per click (PPC) advertising. Let’s face it, buyers are looking online more than ever to research everything from soup to nuts and making a major purchase like a car or truck is certainly no exception. According to Google, there were 301,000 searches last month just for the term “dodge truck”. Your buyers are on the web, can they find you?

Basics: So what is PPC anyway and how does it work?

Pay per click ads are those search results that appear on the top and right hand side of the search results page, or many of the ads that appear on other web sites.

Google Adwords Truck Example

An example of how PPC can be and is used for car dealerships.

When a user clicks on one of these ads, it takes them directly to your site and you are charged for their click. Your ad can appear thousands of times in individual searches, but until someone clicks on your ad you are not charged. This is the genius behind the system. You only pay for ads that work and bring a potential buyer to your site. Of course, there are accidental clicks, but they are an extremely small percentage and Google does an excellent job of weeding out invalid clicks before they hit your wallet. There are great tools that capture all of the data that your ads generate so you know within days what is working and what isn’t.

So let’s recap:

• You only pay for your ad when a person clicks on it and visits your site.
• You can control how much you spend. You can spend a little or a lot.

You will know exactly which ads work and which don’t so you can change them instantly to use the ads that are working well.

Advanced: Even Better Reasons to take advantage of PPC advertising

The beauty of PPC ads is that they give you instant prime real estate on the search results page. It takes months or years of dedicated SEO efforts to rank in the organic (unpaid) region of search results. You can have your business on the first page of Google, in most cases, this afternoon by paying for clicks.

Having a Big Sale this weekend? Need to make room for new inventory? Want to steer customers toward your most profitable products? PPC ads are the solution.

With the analytic tools that are out there you can know what buyers are looking for. That is valuable information. You will know which ads and sales pitches grab buyers’ attention and which pages on your website they are interested in. With all this data you’ll also be able to determine which vehicles get the most attention. You will be right on top of the trends in real time and that information can lead to better web pages, better inventory mix and ultimately, more sales.

If all of these reasons aren’t enough to convince you, consider this: Your competitors are using paid search ads. Consumers are looking for you online. Be there.