Omni Advertising Traditional & Digital Media Advertising Agency | Advertising Agency Florida California New York Chicago Wed, 14 Feb 2018 19:07:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Q&A With Ken Hudson, CEO of Omni Advertising Fri, 18 Aug 2017 22:06:48 +0000 South Florida Business Journal sat down with CEO of Omni Advertising, Ken Hudson, and talked about how tech and data are driving change in the automotive industry.


alt : Q&A With Ken Hudson

Winning the Moments Online, Before the Dealership Visit Wed, 01 Feb 2017 19:55:33 +0000

mobile car buying

New research shows that having a presence and being useful in a customer’s initial car shopping search leads directly to dealership visits. The dealers that want to win sales on the lot need to first win these early micro-moments online.

Consumers increasingly rely on the internet, especially on mobile phones, to help with their auto purchase journey—to research, find deals, and get real-time automotive advice. For example, 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. watches automotive content on YouTube once per month. Today, these digital interactions influence shoppers’ decisions as much as (and potentially even more than) the salesperson on-the-lot. And because we’re not yet able to fully complete a car purchase online, it’s critical for dealers to win early micro-moments to drive people to the dealership.

Be there in early moments to accelerate dealership visits

Google conducted a study looking at individual micro-moments and their impact on dealership visits. They found positive correlations between searches in all five of the key auto moments and a visit to the dealership.

For moments later in the purchase journey, it should not be a surprise if a consumer turns up at your lot—for example, when someone searches for “where to buy a car”.

However, being there in initial moments matters too. The study shows that consumers in their early research moments, such as “which-car-is-best” or “is-it-right for me” moments, are signaling intent to visit a dealership within a week. For dealers, that means having a strong digital presence across all the five key auto micro-moments is critical.

key auto micro-moments

Format matters in driving traffic to the lot

Equally important to being there in the initial research phase is being useful with the right content in the right format. For early micro-moments, video is great for engaging consumers. According to the data, people who watch YouTube while buying a car, 69% are influenced by it—more than TV, newspapers or magazines.

For auto consumers, the research shows that YouTube has the greatest impact at the start of the purchase journey. People using YouTube in “which-car-is-best” moments showed a higher correlation with dealership visits than people using YouTube in other moments. Some of the common search terms for shoppers in these moments include: “[brand/make] + reviews,” “[brand/make] + specs,” and “best luxury cars.”

Once car shoppers have narrowed down their “which-car-is-best” choices, they want to know if their selection will fit their lifestyle and needs. They’re curious about features, options, interiors, and exteriors. Increasingly, they’re turning to Image Search to answer these “is-it-right-for-me” questions. Search interest for “pictures of [automotive brand]” is up 37% year-over-year, and 80% of these searches are now happening on mobile.

These image searches can drive consumers to the dealership. In fact, consumers who used Image Search in “is-it-right-for-me” moments were more likely to head to the lot than those people using Image Search within other moments. In these moments, popular search terms include: “[brand] + sedan models,” “[brand/make] + interior,” and “[brand/make] + dimensions.”

If you want to be one of the few visits that a consumer makes to the dealership, invest in mobile for those early micro-moments as well.

We can certainly say that being there across all five moments is important if you want to turn car browsing into car buying. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that buying decisions only happen at the end of the marketing funnel. If you want to be one of the few visits that a consumer makes to a dealership, invest in mobile for early micro-moments too.

Understanding auto shopping behavior is part of the many factors that we take into account to continually customize our client’s campaigns.

Interested to see how Omni can customize a digital plan for you? Take advantage of our free digital analysis.

1 Google/Ipsos Connect, Mobile Video Study, U.S., n=2503, among adults aged 18-54 who go online at least monthly, Feb. 2016.
2,3,5,8 Google Data, aggregated and anonymized data are based on a sample of U.S. users that have Location History turned on, 2015. Compared foot traffic to any auto dealership between users who searched for an auto keyword within 7 days and those who did not. Auto keywords included in the analysis are the top 500 keywords by auto micro-moment.
4 TNS Media Consumption Report, 2015.
6 Google Trends, September 2015 vs. September 2014, United States.
7 Google Internal Data, September 2015, United States.

What On-The-Lot Customer Data Reveals About Car Shopping at Your Dealership Mon, 30 Jan 2017 16:08:19 +0000 From researching brands to locating inventory at dealerships, mobile is a major factor in the way consumers shop for cars today. Google has investigated search patterns and foot traffic data to uncover popular times customers tend to make a trip to the dealership. At Omni, we use this data to stay informed on customer trends and use effective mobile tactics in key moments— online or on the lot.

The auto purchase journey is increasingly influenced by mobile. Ten years ago, the average car shopper made five visits to dealerships in order to research potential vehicles. Today, that number has dropped to two. Google has uncovered the most popular times for consumers to visit the lot, and now you can take advantage of these key moments to ensure people head to your dealership — and not your competitor’s.

The most popular times of year for consumers to likely visit your dealership are during summer and the holiday season.

Foot Traffic by Month

While an always-on strategy will help you drive foot traffic year round, during these peak months consider adjusting your mobile budgets so your ads appear when people are searching for auto information in the vicinity of your dealership.

During these busy periods, auto shoppers prefer checking out cars on their lunch break rather than after work hours.

Hour of Day

Talk to us about implementing day-parting so that you can reach these consumers in the right moments – like just before lunchtime, when they’re searching for local dealerships to visit. Having a strategic approach to your SEM will make a huge difference in stronger lead conversion and high quality traffic.

When they’re on the lot, consumers rely on their smartphones to provide real-time advice and information. The top action people perform with their phones while on the lot is confirming that they are getting a good price on a vehicle.

Make sure you’re providing the right information, such as inventory updates and local incentives, in a mobile-friendly format. Then, when shoppers are right there and ready to buy, they’ll feel confident they’re getting a great deal and are more likely to buy from your dealership.

1 McKinsey Advanced Industries, “Innovating automotive retail”, Feb 2014, United States.
2 Google/TNS, Auto Shopper Study, 2016, United States. Consumer Barometer n=526.
3 Google Data, Aggregated and anonymized foot traffic to any auto dealerships from a sample of U.S. users that have turned on Location History, 2015.
4 Google Data, Aggregated and anonymized foot traffic to any auto dealerships from a sample of U.S. users that have turned on Location History, July and August 2015.
5 Millward Brown Digital and Polk, “Automotive Shopper Path to Purchase,” September 2015, U.S.

Google AdWords Click-To-Text Message Now Available For Your Dealership Fri, 16 Dec 2016 19:16:55 +0000

With the new mobile ad extension, car buyers will be able to text your dealership directly.

Google mobile

Google’s test to bring text messaging to AdWords ads will soon be rolling out of beta.

Google has been testing click-to-text in AdWords search ads for several months now. Call extensions have been around for years, but the new message extensions give car shoppers another option to connect with dealerships that will be especially appealing to the call-phobic and those aiming to avoid getting put on hold, listening to a list of menu options or waiting to get transferred in order to speak to the right person in the right department.

When users click on a message extension or icon, their phone’s SMS app will launch automatically.

AdWords Omni Advertising

In the example provided by Google above, you’ll notice the call and message extensions are served in cards below the main ad. That’s a departure from showing just the icons to the right of the ad copy that we are used to seeing. For message extensions, this new format allows advertisers to include a call to action in the extension text.

Dealers can also set up an initial text that pre-populates in the messaging app after a user clicks the extension. Users are able to edit that message before sending, but it’s an opportunity for dealerships to help buyers save time by anticipating what they’re likely to be interested in. Dealers that are able to get that right will likely see better engagement rates.

Clicks on message extensions are charged just like a regular click on a headline or extension. Message extensions can be set at the campaign and ad group levels, and they can be scheduled to appear during certain periods of the day. If you run message extensions after hours or on days when the business is closed, you can set expectations in the message text on those extensions. (It’s also possible to use an autoresponder to let users know when to expect a response.)

Reporting on message extensions will be available in the extensions tab, as well as through Click Type segmentation. There’s no clear way of measuring engagement results on message extensions within AdWords. At this point, whether message extensions connect to an individual’s cell phone or to an enterprise messaging platform, advertisers will need to establish their own methods of tracking and measuring value from message extensions.

Along with the announcement, Google has released a best practices guide for advertisers to get started with message extensions. Message extensions will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks.


A General Manager’s Survival Guide Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:52:54 +0000 Ask General ManagerWritten By: Ernesto Galarza
MJ Sullivan Automotive Group
General Manager/Operator

Ask yourself the following.
Whenever a dealer principle/dealer group decides to “make a General Manager change” at their store it is usually for the following reasons:

1) ROI is not meeting expectations

2) Personnel turnover has reached unacceptable levels

3) Customer satisfaction/ reviews are at an all time low

4) Poor work ethic/attendance

5) Complacency/Entitlement

6) Non-involvement/poor department interaction

So, if you are a General Manager/GSM/Director reading this and your store is not running as smoothly as you would like, here are some questions. But, before I go on please understand that I am only speaking from experience. I have been guilty of the above mentioned “trespasses”. Continuously learning from my failures and shortcomings has aided me over the years. So, let’s address each aforementioned problem and I will share what has worked for me. This will be a cursory discussion and each suggestion has sub discussions which for brevity sake we will not pursue.

ROI is not meeting expectations: First, identify the areas of opportunity. If your front end PRU is below par, take a look at your sales rep’s skill sets and processes. Are they all certified? Do they look like they can “afford what they are selling”? In other words, are they “presentable”? Are they allowed to skip steps from your selling process? Have you reviewed your selling process to make sure it is up to date and relevant? Do you use “addendum stickers” highlighting both soft and hard adds? Do your sales reps practice “the silent appraisal” on trades? Is your appraisal process consistent and do you invite other managers to “put their two cents” in? Do you review your missed appraisal list daily and review with your managers/sales reps? How close are you and your managers to the 100% TO standard? Do you and your staff use the CRM tools fully? Does every guest get logged? Do you or your managers conduct daily “one on one’s with your sales staff? Do you personally call unsold traffic? Do you pencil at “list” in your 4 square presentation? Is your initial pencil professionally structured? Are you on a one to one pace for both new and used? Do you have an effective appraisal process and do you use a pricing/marketing tool such as vAuto? Are your vehicles staged professionally online? Are they clean and does your lot look great? Do you exert the extra effort to provide compelling descriptions for your online listings? Do you factory certify your pre-owned? Do you data mine using such tools as AutoAlert? Do you have dedicated sales reps working the service lane?

Are your Business Managers conducting a “flying TO”? Are “cash” customers being finance TO’d? Are all your customers being offered ArmorAll/Simonez on the showroom floor via video? Do you have a car(s) on the floor with “hard ads” on display? Does your pencil/deal structure tool have a built in add on lease money factors? Do your business managers produce a regional medium PRU and product penetration? Are they compliant and presenting 100% of the products 100% of the time to 100% of your customers? Do they present a menu 100% of the time? Is their pay plan structured so they can attain reasonable goals and expectations? Do your sales reps provide the business managers with the proper documentation and information necessary to “spot” or otherwise streamline the approval/delivery? Do you have a strict CIT deadline?

Is your BDC performing? Are you listening to their phone calls (both out going and incoming)? Do you “live and die” by the appointments scheduled for the day? Do you train or arrange training for your BDC? Do you have contests, etc. to make it fun? Does your BDC take online inquiries seriously and respond promptly? Is it mandatory for all staff answering incoming sales calls to use a script?

Is your digital presence compelling? Is your website current with factory/manufacturer incentive/rebates/etc? Is your staff page professional with all sales reps/managers/service-support staff smiling and photographed neatly and inviting? Do you make SEO/SEM a priority? Do you practice any form of “geo fencing”?

Are you tuned into your office and making sure all factory rebates are being paid promptly? Could you undergo a factory audit and come out “squeaky clean”? Do you meet daily with your office manager/controller and have a great, working and respectful relationship?

In “fixed ops” are your advisers conducting a “walk around”? Are they presenting the MPI with a consulting approach rather than a “hard sell approach”? When they hear “not now” are they following up at a later date? Are your customers greeted promptly rather than forced to wait until an adviser “notices” them? Are you scheduling correctly? Who is calling “missed appointments”? Do you have anyone consistently phoning “recalls”? Are you monitoring your “unapplied time” statement line? Are the sales reps scheduling the “first service appointment” with an adviser? Are you reconditioning “trades” promptly and judiciously? Are you meeting with your advisers and discussing hours per RO? Does your service manager TO? Do you spend time in the service lane? Do you pull a sampling of RO’s and search for trends in declines? Do you request a “lost sales” report from your service director and review this with your parts manager?

Are you monitoring overtime? Are you truly watching expenses? Are you aware of advertising expenditures and tracking what is effective? Are you looking at your statement and questioning “what” and “why”? Are you contacting vendors and exploring “adjustments” and price concessions? If you belong to a dealer group, are you contacting the GM at the most successful in your group and reviewing your expenses?

Personnel Turnover has reached unacceptable levels: Unfortunately, our industry has great turnover. So, I have a few questions which may help reduce this costly trend. Are you accessible? Can any one talk to you about anything business related during the day? Does everyone have your cell number and do you have theirs? Do you “discipline” in private and “praise” in public? Do you meet with your staff each and every day? Do you walk the dealership and visit all departments every day? Are you looking for signs of “check out” or discontentment? Are you hiring wisely? Do you hire by committee? Do you not play “favorites” and treat everyone equally and with respect? Do you control your temper? Do you think twice before reacting? Are your pay plans designed to inspire and attain goals? Do you do your best to promote from within? Do you provide meaningful training either in house or offsite to your staff? Does your staff see an opportunity to perhaps have your job someday? Is it all work and “no play” at your store? Do you have employee recognition initiatives? Do you celebrate birthdays and employee hiring anniversaries? Do you reward employee retention? Do you host “entire store” meetings? Most importantly, do have a “happy face” on everyday?

Customer Satisfaction/ reviews are at an all time low: I have always believed that customer satisfaction must be “earned” and that it is an everyday endeavor. We have countless interactions with customers per day. Each interaction can go one way or the other. The Golden Rule “treat others as you would like to be treated” is a motto I try and follow. If you are having problems here ask yourself the following.

Are we nice to our customers? Do we say “hello” to everyone that enters our store no matter what the reason? Do we have a “no profanity” rule in place? Do we keep our promises? Do we deliver all our vehicles clean, gassed and fully operational? Do we “pair their phones”, set radio stations, set up the first service appointment and go over their warranty/owners manuals and maintenance schedules? Do we provide two sets of keys to both new and pre-owned customers. Do our managers “exit” interview every delivery and thank them for their business and ask if they have earned a “perfect survey”? Are they proactive when the answer is “no”? Are we all asking for reviews? Do the sales managers place a call the next day to all prior day’s deliveries. Do we take women customers seriously?

Do our techs really road test the vehicles after servicing? Are service cars presented to our customers clean and fully operational? Do we keep our service customers informed if there are delays or unforeseen obstacles? Do we greet all our service customers promptly even if we are busy? Are service customers always called the next day to ensure satisfaction? Are “heat” cases taken seriously and addressed immediately by department heads? Is customer parking easily accessible? Are all signage, banners and promotional material current and up to date? Is your service drive/lounge inviting with current magazines, TV, etc? Is it clean and all furniture presentable? Do you have a service shuttle and are sales reps available to take a customer home or to the office, mall etc. if needed? Do you have enough loaner cars and do you have a great relationship with Enterprise or other car rental company? Do we host “owner clinics”?

On a regular basis do we meet with our staff and go over all the reviews and surveys….both “good” and “bad”? Do we reward staff for excellent reviews on, DealerRater, Edmunds, Yelp, CarsGuru, etc or manufacturer surveys? Do we tie their pay plans to this activity?

Is our store clean? Are the floors polished and windows washed? Do we have amenities? Are the restrooms stocked and clean? Are our work stations orderly and bereft of customer information, etc? Are the showroom cars clean and presentable? Are all indoor and out door lights working?

Poor Work Ethic/Attendance:Though I can honestly say I have never been guilty of this transgression, I have seen it first hand when I was coming up through the ranks. So, one must ask do I lead by example? Do I work as hard as my fellow managers? Do I have a late night or two or three? Am I there on Saturdays or on Sundays? Do I lend a hand when one is needed or do I take my title to mean that certain tasks are “beneath me”? Do I desk deals? Do I TO? Do I handle “heat” cases personally? Do I help train the staff? Do I set the pace for the dealership? Is my door always open to everyone and anyone? Do I manage my time well? Do I pay attention to the DOC and immediately address wayward trends? Do I remember what it was like to be a “newbie”? Do I recall what upset me during those days and how I felt? Do I smile and have fun? Do I “earn” by my demeanor and leadership; or, do I “demand” respect through intimidation and innuendo? Is there a noticeable change in my behavior when the dealer principle is on premises; or, am I myself and a good example if he/she is present or not? Do I truly believe that assisting my fellow employees in their career aspirations is also good for me in the long run? Finally, am I a team player? Do I subscribe to the axiom that “what is good for the team is good for me”?

Complacency/Entitlement: Of all the transgressions we can commit, this is the “sleeper”! This is the SBD (silent but deadly) sin that will blindside you. The first question one need ask is “Do I make a difference”? In other words, if I left tomorrow would it make a difference in store operations/profits/employee retention/customer satisfaction scores, etc? Would the owner or dealer group have a hard time replacing me? Am I a good manager? Do I deserve my job? Or, do I feel “they owe” me? Do I feel I deserve to be able to “sit back” and enjoy the fruits of my labor? Or, perhaps, due to my tenure, they will never replace me! Maybe we feel that since we had a few good months the owner/CEO will be happy. The biggest lie we tell ourselves is this: “Everyone else had a lousy few months so I am okay. After all, no one else has been doing well.” If you start thinking this way, you better believe your replacement is already being sought.

In the end you need ask your self one question (preferably looking in the mirror). “Can I honestly say I gave it my best and worked to the best of my ability”. This is a tough one. When I first attained my GM title, a seasoned colleague remarked “just remember, having the GM title means you are the first one out when things go wrong”! I believe that is true only when you have ignored the many questions aforementioned. Smart owners/CEO’s know when they have a winner who has heart, vision and a desire to win. The one’s that do not you would not want to work for anyways!

Non-Involvement/poor department interaction – This issue is really about communication. Do your various departments communicate with each other or are they at odds? Do you hold department head meetings every week at a set time? Do you go over the DOC/Reports with them? Do you have a mutually agreeable agenda? Do you track goals with them on a weekly basis? Do you invite open discussion as to the “state of the department” with them? Do you openly invite suggestions from them? Do you settle disputes quickly and as fairly as possible? Are you proactive regarding concerns? Do you view each department as an important integral part of the dealership? And if so, do you let them know? Do you invite the head of the detail department to the meetings? If not…why not? Do you provide a “working lunch” venue for these meetings with dealer provided refreshments/pizza/sandwiches, etc? Do you have someone take minutes and notes?

No one General Manager/Platform Director has all the answers. And, I do not pretend to have all the answers myself. I humbly offer this article more as a testament to what I believe we should all question. If we don’t ask the questions, we will never seek the answers.

So, take this written offering for what it is worth. If you see a few things that may spark some interest, then it was not a waste of time. The auto business, while being one of the most lucrative, is ever demanding and changing. Sometimes, we all need to take a step back and ask some basic questions. Your comments, suggestions and insights are very much welcome!


Car Sales Quicken and Trucks Continue Momentum as American Honda Sets New Sales Records in November Mon, 05 Dec 2016 22:41:16 +0000
  • Powered by both cars and trucks, American Honda and the Honda Division set new November sales records
  • American Honda and Honda Division trucks also set new November sales marks
  • Sub-Compacts lead, with Fit gaining 43 percent and HR-V soaring 132 percent above year ago levels
  • MDX sets November pace for Acura while RDX gets new November record
  • Acura NSX reaches another milestone
  • Omni Advertising Honda

    TORRANCE, Calif., – American Honda Motor Co., Inc. today reported total November sales of 122,924 Honda and Acura vehicles, an increase of 6.5 percent versus November of last year to set a new November record. American Honda trucks gained 9.9 percent for a new November record on sales of 62,737 units. Honda Division overall vehicle sales also set a new November mark of 111,308 units, rising 7.9 percent. Acura Division sales held fairly steady in November, totaling 11,616 units for a decrease of 5.1 percent.

    Continuing to buck the industry trend, Honda car sales helped push the brand to a new November record. Fit and Accord led the way for Honda cars, with strong support from Civic. Honda truck sales maintained strong momentum with a new November record as HR-V jumped in triple digits and both CR-V and the new Ridgeline had strong sales performances.

    Honda Division sales rose 7.9 percent on sales of 111,308 for a new November record.
    Honda cars gained 5.6 percent on sales of 56,943 units, while trucks increased 10.3 percent on sales of 54,365 units for a new November record.
    Accord, recently named one of Car & Driver magazine’s 10 Best cars for a record 31st time, enjoyed a robust gain of 6.3 percent on sales of 27,182 units.

    HR-V sales totaled 8,141 in November, a remarkable 132 percent increase.
    Civic sales topped 25,000 for the month, gaining 1 percent and keeping Civic on track to set an all-time annual sales mark in December.

    “Considering the continued consumer appetite for trucks and SUVs, we’re excited to see Honda cars resonate so well with our customers,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda Division. “This is especially gratifying considering the strength of our light truck lineup, as we continue to hit on all cylinders with individual retail buyers.”

    Acura light trucks continued to show sales muscle, with MDX leading the month of November for the brand and RDX recording best-ever November sales. On the car side, RLX showed an uptick while NSX reached a new milestone.

    Acura trucks continued on pace to top 2015, gaining 7.6 percent with sales of 8,372 units in November.
    Sales of the redesigned MDX rose 13 percent on sales of 4,622 for the month.
    RDX had its best November sales to date, rising 1.6 percent on sales of 3,750 vehicles.
    RLX sales moved up slightly in November, gaining 16.7 percent on sales of 140 units.
    Reaching another milestone, the custom-crafted NSX supercar has topped 200 customer deliveries since sales commenced in May.

    “Strong sales of the new Acura MDX demonstrate that our design direction and focus on performance is the right path for the Acura brand,” said Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of the Acura division. “With the NSX and the MDX leading the way, we will take our entire lineup toward Acura’s Precision Crafted Performance DNA.”


    What These 3 Auto Trends Mean For Brands Mon, 21 Nov 2016 20:24:19 +0000

    As the automotive industry undergoes transformational change, old assumptions about consumer habits are being challenged. Looking at the latest search data and recent Google Consumer Survey results, here are the three most pronounced shifts.

    The car industry is at a crossroads. At no other point have there been so many paths to purchase open to consumers—and yet car-sharing services challenge the very idea of car ownership. Even in this moment of new uses and rapid technological innovation, however, the biggest developments are still being driven by the consumer. Google pored over recent Search data and Google Consumer Survey results to determine where consumers are going—and how marketers can meet them there.

    People who use car-sharing also buy cars

    There is a lot of discussion around the impact of car-sharing services on the auto industry, and for good reason. Industry watchers and futurists alike have predicted that, eventually, cars may no longer be privately owned. As measured by Google query trends, searches for car-sharing services are up 59% year over year.1 And yet today, being in-market for a new vehicle may not necessarily preclude consumers from using car-sharing. In fact, it may make them even more likely.2

    In August, Google asked consumers about their car-sharing behavior. Twenty-two percent of respondents who reported having used a car-sharing service within the past month planned to buy or lease a vehicle in the next year,3 while 80% of those respondents said they already owned or leased.4 Meanwhile, of consumers who had not used a car-sharing service in the past month, just 14% planned to buy or lease,5 and 71% currently owned or leased.6

    This suggests that using car-sharing does not preclude consumers’ interest in buying or leasing. Rather, the two might be complementary.

    Auto Trends

    At the same time, millennials name price as the most important factor when buying a car, ahead of fuel efficiency, design, safety features, and vehicle technology.7

    This speaks to pronounced shifts in how consumers regard the car itself. Like other technologies, cars enable experiences—they’re becoming more like services than status symbols. Long term, this shift has the potential to disrupt the driver-as-owner model, but for the time being, consumers prize utility and affordability—whether they manifest in their driveway or at the tap of an app.

    Takeaway: Consumers prize convenience. As car-sharing grows in popularity and practicality, consumers will increasingly regard cars as a service, asking which solution—a privately owned car or a shared car—is most useful in the moment. Marketers have to be attuned to consumers’ ever-more-fluid priorities, and adjust their messaging and targeting accordingly.

    Consumer behavior is changing—and video is leading the drive

    In years’ past, a consumer might have read reviews in magazines, asked friends and relatives for advice, and visited any number of dealerships before settling on a vehicle. That practice has gone the way of the in-dash tape deck.

    Leveraging YouTube and Search, consumers are positively bingeing on digital content before making their purchases—and multiplying opportunities for marketers to be there in shoppers’ which-car-is-best moments. Last year, consumers spent on average three hours more time researching than they did in 2013.8 They also performed 75% of that research on digital.9

    All that research has huge ramifications for the brick-and-mortar showroom. With shoppers armed with so much information, dealerships have moved from being places to shop and explore—as they were in the days of in-dash tape decks—to mere points of sale. The average in-market shopper makes just two visits to a dealer before making a purchase.10

    There’s no substitute for sliding into the driver’s seat, but consumers increasingly turn to YouTube before a test drive. In fact, one in three adults in the U.S. watches auto content on YouTube once per month.11 Research shows that consumers are gravitating particularly toward five video styles: test drives, walk-around, feature highlights, reviews, and safety tests.12 Mobile video particularly drives in-market consumers to take action; after watching content about cars, trucks, or racing on a smartphone, one in four will visit a dealer.13

    Last year, consumers spent on average three hours more time researching than they did in 2013, and performed 75% of that research on digital.

    These tendencies highlight an opportunity to attract viewers to brands’ official channels. Mercedes-Benz recently responded to audiences’ research behavior with a suite of videos that scratched viewers’ walk-around itch, as well as offering feature demos of its redesigned E-Class sedan.

    Takeaway: As a resource to whittle down a car shopper’s consideration set, video is invaluable. Consider creating content around the five popular video styles (test drives, walk-around, feature highlights, reviews, safety tests), which allows shoppers to research by simply hitting play, and make sure it’s optimized for mobile. Mercedes-Benz’s example illustrates how marketers can be there in shoppers’ which-car-is-best moments in creative, digital-first ways.

    Bold brands think digital first

    What do Volvo Cars, Tesla Motors, and Jaguar Cars have in common? Aside from manufacturing some of the most desirable vehicles on the planet, they’re pursuing bold, digital-first marketing strategies that resonate.

    Volvo’s introduction of its redesigned XC90 was punctuated by a 100% digital launch, where 1,927 First Edition models of the SUV were available online to reserve—the number echoing the year of Volvo’s founding. The Swedish carmaker was also first to utilize Google Cardboard: a low-cost video-immersion solution that provided a 360-degree viewing experience of the XC90—months before the SUV arrived in showrooms. Tesla, meanwhile hosted a livestream of its Model 3 launch in March, logging over 300,000 online orders in the first week alone. And Jaguar broke through with a “dedicated day of digital” aligned with its new F-Pace SUV, with homepage takeovers of, YouTube, Spotify,, and others.

    These brands’ strategies illustrate a truth of online marketing: It’s not enough to be digital-first; a brand must be digital-savvy.

    Takeaway: The digital landscape has leveled the playing field. Consequently, marketers don’t need a big budget to see big impact; a well-thought-out digital strategy that meets shoppers at each moment of intent allows it to punch above its weight. And because consumers are increasingly treating dealerships as mere points-of-sale, it’s that much more critical to target them during their research. Consumers who think they’ve made up their minds might still be swayed by an alternative: you.

    # # #

    1 Google Data, U.S., Jan.–Jul. 2015 vs. Jan.–Jul. 2016, searches related to top car-sharing services.
    2 Google Consumer Survey, U.S., n=1,500 U.S. consumers who reported having used a car-sharing service within the past month; n=1,508 U.S. consumers who reported they had not used a car-sharing service within the past month, Aug. 2016.
    3 Google Consumer Survey, U.S., n=1,500 U.S. consumers who reported having used a car-sharing service within the past month, Aug. 2016.
    4 Google Consumer Survey, U.S., n=1,504 U.S. consumers who reported having used a car-sharing service within the past month, Aug. 2016.
    5 Google Consumer Survey, U.S., n=1,508 U.S. consumers who reported they had not used a car-sharing service within the past month, Aug. 2016.
    6 Google Consumer Survey, U.S., n=1,522 U.S. consumers who reported they had not used a car-sharing service within the past month, Aug. 2016.
    7 Google Consumer Survey, U.S., n=1,003 U.S. consumers aged 18-34, Sept. 2016.
    8,9,12 Millward Brown Digital and Polk, “Automotive Shopper Path to Purchase,” U.S., Sept. 2015.
    10 Google/TNS, Auto Shopper Study 2015, U.S., consumer barometer n=500.
    11 Google/Ipsos Connect, Mobile Video Study, U.S., n=2503, among adults aged 18-54 who go online at least monthly, Feb. 2016.
    13 Google/Ipsos Connect, Mobile Video Study, U.S., n=195, among adults aged 18-54 who watch cars, trucks, and racing content on YouTube at least monthly, and recently watched cars, trucks, and racing content on YouTube on their smartphones to gather information for the purchase of a product/service, Feb. 2016.

    With a third of mobile searches being local, Google brings “Promoted Pins” to Maps Thu, 10 Nov 2016 22:20:52 +0000 Local searches are growing 50 percent faster than mobile searches overall.

    Omni Advertising promoted pins

    Google has experimented with ads in Google Maps off and on for years. But in the “mobile first” era, it’s getting much more serious about ads on Maps.  Omni Advertising is proud to be working with Google through the beta program for this new venture.

    Among a number of announcements coming out of Google’s Performance Summit, the company is introducing the “next generation of local search ads” on Google and Google Maps (apps and mobile web). The company is also bringing what it calls more “branded and customized experiences” for dealers to Google Maps.

    Recently, it began showing ads in the Local Finder. Now, the company is introducing “promoted pins” or “promoted locations” on Maps (below, left image). Users will see branded pins along their route or nearby. It’s worth noting that Mapquest has done this for quite a few years.

    Marketers will need to use location extensions to appear in promoted pins. Google also says it’s still testing and experimenting with formats, so we’re likely to see an evolution of this over time.  We have begun a test with Jim Hudson Hyundai, so we will report back on those early results.  Contact us if you would like to run a pilot program with Google for your dealership.

    New-look local pages (below, right image) will also offer new features and customization. Businesses will be able to include a range of content types, as appropriate to their category. For example, retailers can include local product inventory (provided they have an inventory feed going to Google). Auto Dealers can also include promotions and discounts to encourage store visits.

    Promoted pins

    Indeed, the purpose of these ads is to drive offline foot traffic and conversions, which Google says are outpacing e-commerce transactions for many marketers. To capture and illustrate that phenomenon, Google discussed its AdWords Store Visits, which has to date only been available to large brands and retailers. The company says that it has “measured over 1 billion store visits globally” in the two years since the introduction of Store Visits.

    During the Performance Summit, Google’s AdWords VP, Jerry Dischler, indicated that the company was seeking to greatly expand availability of Store Visits data, including to small businesses over time. He said, however, that was a more challenging proposition and probably would require a “hardware solution” (e.g., beacons) because of challenges with accuracy and scale.

    It’s very much in Google’s interest to make online-to-offline metrics available to as many marketers as possible. In a case study presented during a press briefing, Dischler said that Nissan in the UK found, though Store Visits, that “six percent of mobile ad clicks result in a trip to a dealership, delivering an estimated 25x return on investment.”

    While Google has offered a range of different “local as a percent of overall mobile search” metrics in the past, the company said that local searches on mobile devices are growing 50 percent faster than mobile searches overall.


    Keith Hudson Wins National Recognition for Community Service and Industry Accomplishments at NADA Convention Fri, 28 Oct 2016 16:31:31 +0000 Keith Hudson Columbia

    Contact: TIME Dealer of the Year Hotline (212) 522-5518
    E. Sims Floyd Jr.
    South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association
    (803) 252-0205


    Keith Hudson Wins National Recognition for Community Service
    and Industry Accomplishments at NADA Convention

    (New York, NY, October 24, 2016) – The nomination of Keith Hudson, president and owner of Jim Hudson Buick GMC Cadillac in Columbia, South Carolina, for the 2017 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced today by TIME.

    Hudson is one of a select group of 49 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 100th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 27, 2017. The announcement of this year’s nominees was made by Meredith Long, SVP : GM, News & Luxury, TIME, and Tim Russi, president of Auto Finance for Ally Financial.

    “We are excited about the extraordinary group of nominees that are in the running for the 2017 TIME Dealer of the Year award,” said Russi. “These dealers have been recognized for the ways that they ‘do it right’ in their communities, and we look forward to sharing their stories over the next few months and celebrating their accomplishments at the NADA convention in January.”

    In its sixth year as exclusive sponsor, Ally will recognize dealer nominees and their community efforts by contributing $1,000 to each nominee’s 501(c)3 charity of choice. Nominees will also be recognized on, which highlights the philanthropic contributions and achievements of TIME Dealer of the Year nominees.

    The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors. Recipients are among the nation’s most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. Hudson, 47, was chosen to represent the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 49 auto dealers from 16,000 nationwide – nominated for the 48th annual award. The award is sponsored by TIME in association with Ally Financial, and in cooperation with NADA. A panel of faculty members from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan will select one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year.

    “My father told me that if I wanted to work in the family car business one day that I would need to spend time in every department,” nominee Hudson said. “I truly believe that this career path has given me the tools needed for achieving financial strength and sustainable growth for our company – and has allowed me to meet and exceed the goals and objectives of the brands I represent.”

    A 1987 graduate of Airport High School in Columbia, Hudson studied automotive marketing at Northwood University (now Keiser University) in West Palm Beach, Florida, graduating in 1991. He earned an M.B.A. in 1993 at Palm Beach Atlantic University Rinker School of Business, also in West Palm Beach.

    Hudson started working at his father’s dealership, Hudson-Moore Oldsmobile, at the age of 12 in 1980. “I started in the detail department that summer,” he remembered. “I would wash cars on Saturdays and in the summer for two years. After learning the importance of the detail department, I was ready to move on.”

    He continued in that vein through high school and college, gaining experience and an in-depth knowledge of the workings of the entire dealership, from the ground up. “I had the opportunity to stock parts and order inventory in the parts department; to estimate and work with insurance companies in the body shop; to learn the importance of scheduling and customer satisfaction in the service department; and to understand how to appraise, recondition and acquire used vehicles,” Hudson said. “After that, I knew the automotive business was the career path that I wanted to take.”

    Hudson moved to Michigan after earning his M.B.A. in 1993 and took a job outside of the family operation at Pat Moran Oldsmobile GMC. After three years of studying how other successful dealers ran their operations, he returned home to the Jim Hudson Automotive Group to apply his knowledge. Today, the group encompasses seven South Carolina dealerships in Columbia, Irmo and Lexington.

    “This whole journey was an amazing experience and one I would recommend to anyone wanting to work in a family business,” Hudson said. “I learned the value of each department and how it plays a vital role in the dealership’s success.”

    And that success is shared with the community through fundraising initiates. In 2016, the Jim Hudson Automotive Group donated $200,000 to Harvest Hope Food Bank, which feeds the hungry across 20 counties in South Carolina, through its annual sales race. Hudson also supports Oliver Gospel Mission in Columbia (provides shelter, food, clothing and counseling to the homeless and those in need); Special Olympics; the Salvation Army; and the American Red Cross.

    A community and business leader, Hudson was named to the Airport High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2009. “I was flattered to be recognized by teachers, staff and peers for my contributions,” he said. “I am honored to represent my public school and am proud of where I came from.”

    Hudson was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by E. Sims Floyd Jr., executive vice president of the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Denise, have two children.


    About Time Inc.
    Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) is one of the world’s leading media companies, with a monthly global print audience of over 120 million and worldwide digital properties that attract more than 150 million visitors each month, including over 60 websites. Our influential brands include People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Time, Real Simple and Southern Living, as well as more than 50 diverse titles in the United Kingdom.

    About Ally Financial Inc.
    Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE: ALLY) is a leading digital financial services company and a top 25 U.S. financial holding company offering financial products for consumers, businesses, automotive dealers and corporate clients. Ally’s legacy dates back to 1919, and the company was redesigned in 2009 with a distinctive brand, innovative approach and relentless focus on its customers. Ally has an award-winning online bank (member FDIC), one of the largest full service auto finance operations in the country, a complementary auto-focused insurance business, a growing digital wealth management and online brokerage platform, and a trusted corporate finance business offering capital for equity sponsors and middle-market companies.

    The company had approximately $157.9 billion in assets as of June 30, 2016. For more information, visit the Ally press room at or follow Ally on Twitter: @AllyFinancial.

    Google to Penalize Websites Using Annoying Pop-ups Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:40:31 +0000 google_mobile_pop-ups

    Helping users easily access content on mobile

    In Google Search, the goal is to help users quickly find the best answers to their questions, regardless of the device they’re using. Google recently announced two upcoming changes to mobile search results that make finding vehicles online easier and to make the car buying process more enjoyable.

    Simplifying mobile search results

    Two years ago, Google added a mobile-friendly label to help users find pages where the text and content was readable without zooming, pinching, and all those other tricks we used to have to use to view non-mobile friendly sites. Since then, the internet has evolved and Google recently found that 85% of all pages in the mobile search results now meet this criteria and show the mobile-friendly label. To keep search results uncluttered, Google will be removing the label, although the mobile-friendly criteria will continue to be a ranking signal. They will also continue to provide the mobile usability report in Search Console and the mobile-friendly test to help dealerships evaluate the effect of the mobile-friendly signal on their pages.

    Helping shoppers find the vehicles they’re looking for

    Although the majority of pages now have text and content on the page that is readable without zooming, we’ve recently seen many examples in the automotive industry where these pages show intrusive pup-up ads, trying capture customer information. While the car is still present on the dealership’s page, the photos or vehicle information may be visually obscured by these “lead capture forms”. This can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result.

    Dealership websites that use intrusive interstitials provide a less enjoyable customer experience than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.

    Here are some examples of techniques that make content less accessible to a user:

    • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
    • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
    • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

    Examples of interstitials that make content less accessible

    t1i1 t1i2 t1i3
    An example of an intrusive popup
     An example of an intrusive standalone interstitial
    Another example of an intrusive standalone interstitial

    By contrast, here are some examples of techniques that, used correctly, would not be affected by the new update:

    • Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
    • Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
    • Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.

    Examples of interstitials that would not be affected by the updated, if used responsibly

    t2i1 t2i2 t2i3
    An example of an interstitial for cookie usage
    An example of an interstitial for age verification
    An example of a banner that uses a reasonable amount of screen space

    Remember, this new signal is just one of hundreds being used to determine the you website’s organic ranking. The intent of the search query is still very important, so a page may still rank highly if it has relevant content.  Google just wants to keep the customer experience as enjoyable as possible which will only help your website convert to more car sales in the end.

    What if my dealership is using these types of pop-ups?

    If your store is currently utilizing tactics that are in violation of this update, that’s ok, there’s still time.  It would be a good idea to measure the success of your current efforts and determine if the value is really there.  Often times, pop-up lead forms cannibalize your website’s organic submission forms and deliver leads that you would have converted anyway.  The ROI on these aren’t always what their reporting makes it out to be, so there are ways to test its actual performance value.

    Part of Omni’s responsibility for our dealers is to constantly evolve and develop new strategies for adhering to Google’s constant algorithm updates.  So this change just brings another challenge for new and exciting ways to enhance your website and your dealership’s overall online strategy.  We have already reached out to many of our partners who have website conversion tactics to ensure their tools do not violate any search ranking signals.