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The top 4 challenges of dynamic remarketing for car dealerships (and how to beat them)

Dec 10, 2015

Dynamic remarketing is a no-brainer for dealers, but getting it properly implemented can present a high hurdle to overcome. This post digs into the challenges of dynamic retargeting for auto dealers and offers a few solutions.

What is "dynamic remarketing?"

In the automotive industry, dynamic remarketing (also called retargeting) usually refers to showing personalized ads that feature the make + model or specific vehicle that a car shopper looked at on a dealer website.

Dynamic remarketing ads are usually more effective at grabbing a prospect's attention. Dynamic ads show a precise message or offer that relates specifically to what a car shopper is researching. This personalized approach tends to yield better performance than generic "one size fits all" retargeting ads.

Why is dynamic remarketing challenging for auto dealers?

At Canned Banners, we’ve helped automotive retargeters overcome a wide array of technical challenges. Here are the four most common challenges we’ve seen:

  1. Generating an up-to-date vehicle inventory feed
  2. Accurately tracking a shopper's browsing behavior (models & VINs viewed, etc)
  3. Vehicle photography
  4. Landing page optimization

Let’s dive into each challenge and some possible solutions…

Challenge 1: Vehicle inventory feeds

Dynamic vehicle ads pull their content from a dealer's vehicle inventory feed.

A vehicle inventory feed supplies content for a dealer’s dynamic retargeting ads: vehicle names, prices, mileage, photos, and landing page URLs. However, it can be challenging for some dealers to generate a fully-automated data feed (e.g., XML or CSV file) that accurately reflects current inventory.

Possible solutions:

  • It’s possible to personalize ads at the model + trim level (e.g., Corolla LE Premium), which is less specific than VIN but still highly personalized for car shoppers. Model + trim combinations usually only change once a year, so it eliminates the need to supply a vehicle feed that's automatically updated daily.
  • It may be possible to retrieve a dealer's inventory from a third party. Many dealers export their inventory to third parties such as Other search platforms may index dealer websites and continually scrape inventory without a dealer having to do anything.

Challenge 2: Tracking pageviews

Dynamic remarketing is all about remembering what car shoppers looked at and then using that history to show personalized ads that are more relevant. In order for that to work, Canned Banners needs to be able to detect key attributes about a web page. This might include make, model, trim, price, color, VIN, or new/used.

In this example, an arbitrary ID in the VDP URL doesn't match the VIN, which can lead to ambiguity as to which ID should be used.

However, things can get tricky, such as when dealer websites use vehicle IDs that are different than VINs, or when websites serve key content inside nested iframes that can’t be accessed by the Canned Banners Dynamic Retargeting pixel.

Possible solutions:

  • Ensure that the attributes you want to use for personalized retargeting (e.g., VIN or model name) are identical both on your website and in your inventory feed. For example, if your website and data feed refer to the Ford F-150 as "F-150," "f_150," "f 150," "f%20150," and "F150," it might be tough to ensure that all F-150 pageviews get accurately tracked.
  • Use a tag management solution such as Google Tag Manager, in conjunction with Google’s Data Layer, as a common "language" that your website can use to pass key visitor attributes and events to Canned Banners or other programmatic marketing platforms.

Challenge 3: Vehicle photography

Vehicle photos often contain dealer branding, or are taken on crowded dealer lots. This is usually fine on dealer websites, where photos are viewed full-size, but when those photos are scaled down to fit in retargeting ads, the visual clutter starts to build up and makes the ads less appealing.

In addition to photos containing dealer logos and busy backgrounds, vehicle listings are also often pushed out to a dealer's website and inventory feed before photos are actually ready.

Possible solutions:

  • Be mindful of how vehicle photos will look when they've been scaled down to fit in a retargeting ad, and create separate clean, unbranded photos for use in dynamic remarketing ads.
  • Use a stock image provider like EVOX Images to guarantee you've got standardized, professional shots for every model you sell.

Challenge 4: Landing page optimization

When a car shopper clicks a dynamic remarketing ad, a typical approach would be to send them back to a Vehicle Detail Page or model-level inventory page on a dealer website.

A sample Vehicle Detail Page

Why bring a shopper back to a page they already saw? Sending a shopper to a Vehicle Detail Page is better than sending them to your homepage, but you might want to consider setting up separate landing pages for shoppers who click dynamic retargeting ads.

Sending shoppers back to VDPs may not be the most effective approach. When a shopper visits your site, then leaves, then clicks a display ad, you’ve got a strong opportunity to convert that click into a lead, instead of just sending the shopper back to a dealer web page they probably already saw.

Possible solutions:

  • Create a separate family of landing pages focused on lead capture and encouraging a customer to take next steps and not just keep browsing your website.
  • Use a marketing platform that handles landing page optimization for you. For example, our partner Intice ® offers a unified solution for both dynamic retargeting ads and personalized landing pages, ensuring a seamless customer experience.

Contact us to learn more about the Canned Banners Dynamic Ads platform.