Best practice

Harnessing the Power of Live Chat

Classified sites like Carsales have conditioned people that as soon as a lead (contact information) is entered into a form on a site, a salesperson will call them up and try to sell them something. As a result, over the years, lead volume and conversion rates of lead forms have been gradually declining. Vehicle buyers hold onto their contact details longer and try to control their first contact with the dealer. First contact is often by phone and as a walk-in.

At the same time as conversion rates have been dropping, the focus of effective CRM and lead management has been rising. Successful sales in the digital era rely on effectively managing prospects from the moment of first contact through to sales, service and then repeat purchase.

Live chat is a powerful tool for generating additional leads from your website. Offering real-time engagement, live chat allows you to respond to site visitors’ queries immediately, eliminating wait times and enhancing the customer experience and increasing the likelihood of converting visitors to customers.

But with the recent growth of AI, one question remains: what is the best way to manage your live chat? Do you do it yourself, rely on a chatbot, or hire someone to do it for you? In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of each approach and offer some insight on the best way to implement live chat into your lead management.

Why Do You Need Live Chat?

The average conversion rate (i.e. convert a visitor to a lead) for a website is under 3% – that’s 97% of potential customers who visit a site and don’t convert.

Chat is a very effective strategy to deal with declining leads as visitors can see live chat as a softer way to engage with the site than submitting a lead form.

Imagine walking into a physical showroom and being met by a helpful salesperson ready to guide you, answer questions, and make suggestions tailored to your needs. Now, translate that to the digital world: your website is your Digital Showroom, and live chat functions as your ever-present digital salesperson. Live Chat can actively greet visitors, initiating a meaningful conversation that helps identify their requirements, for example, it can be used to qualify visitors and ask questions such as:

‘What are you looking for?’

‘Do you have a trade-in?’

‘What is your budget?’

“do you need finance?”

Live chat transforms your website from a passive digital brochure to a dynamic sales platform by offering immediate engagement, effectively converting casual browsers into engaged leads. This active engagement method significantly boosts website conversion rates, turning passive interest into engaged leads and enquiries!

In addition, the modern consumer is constantly on the go and values convenience and accessibility. With live chat, your business can provide 24/7 support, ensuring that no matter when or where your customers are.

In our experience, live chat can give businesses a 30% boost in conversions – a remarkable increase and one that is potentially worth tens of thousands in sales. Now that you understand what’s on offer, let’s dive into some of the options for live chat.

Self-Managed Live Chat:

Data from the auto industry has shown that the first few minutes are crucial when responding to an inquiry, and the best salespeople will aim to respond in 10 minutes or less.

Source: eProfitfocus 2022 Australian Car dealer benchmarks

With live chat, that 10-minute window can be reduced to a minute or less, and with a self-managed live chat, you can respond to each unique inquiry as it arrives personally. Although potential customers highly value this personalised service, it is also inefficient from a business perspective unless you are a high-volume dealership or part of a larger group that can build a dedicated team for this task.

If you’re the GM of a dealership, your focus needs to be on growing the business, not spending your day responding to enquiries. Additionally, a self-managed live chat inevitably runs the risk of creating longer delays in your lead management, as customers are forced to wait for a response every time you step away from the chat, whether that’s to have your lunch or respond to something within the dealership that needs your attention.

Another downside of self-managed live chat is that it is usually placed in the hands of someone (such as a receptionist) who already has another job. Although they will be very engaged for the first few days, inevitably, their other duties take priority, and they quickly drift away from managing the live chat.

So, while self-managed chat may offer a cheap solution, it quickly adds little value to your business and frequently leads to frustrated customers.

Chatbots: Efficient But Not Always Effective

Chatbots are automated programs/plugins that use an algorithm to respond to numerous inquiries simultaneously and match them with the best response. While chatbots are highly efficient and have the advantage of being online 24/7 (meaning no delays for customers), they can be limited in interpreting an inquiry and matching it with the best answer or solution.

The fact that chatbots are always online offers an additional benefit because a significant portion of enquiries and leads come outside of business hours: 39% on carsales and roughly 30% on Machines4U. In our own experience, we have seen up to 60% of live chats come outside of business hours on client sites that have live chat installed.

Despite this, the biggest downside of chatbots is the simple fact that they aren’t human. Customers today constantly deal with chatbots, robocalls and automated customer support, all leading to frustration and dissatisfaction because they can’t speak to a human.

Though chatbots might present a cheaper and more efficient alternative to employing a real person, a bad experience with a chatbot can sour a potential customer on your business and hurt your ability to convert leads into sales.

Live Chat Agents: The Power of a Real Person

A live chat agent is a customer support person who only deals with live chat inquiries, and represents a middle-ground between managing your live chat yourself and handing it off to a chatbot. The most significant benefit of a live chat agent is that they possess the knowledge and intuition of a real person, allowing them to adapt their response to the needs of the individual customer.

Compared to chatbots, live chat agents can respond to inquiries with greater empathy and a more personal touch, offer a more natural chat experience with the customer on the other side, and solve more complex problems that a chatbot might not be equipped for.

This last point is often the greatest friction point with chatbots, which are great at dealing with generic inquiries but lack the ability to respond to issues that don’t fit the framework they are trained on.

For instance, a live chat agent can tailor their response and set the correct expectations when an issue needs to be referred to the Sales or Support teams. In contrast, a chatbot might take the conversation in the wrong direction or around in circles, creating a bad experience for the customer that puts them off your business entirely.

So, What's the Best Live Chat Software?

As with all decisions, the right approach will depend on the needs of your business. If you’re a small dealership that only receives a few inquiries a day, it’s entirely possible to self-manage your live chat within working hours.

As a general rule, human interaction is always preferable to an automatic one, and wherever possible, we recommend using real, live chat agents to handle your inquiries and provide real-time customer support.

However, if your business is very large or lacks the budget to employ enough people to deal with your inquiries, then a chatbot (or a chatbot that screens and funnels inquiries to live chat agents) might be the best option for managing your leads and inquiries.


The Value of Links: Why They’re Important & How to Get Them

What is Link Building?

Why Are Links Valuable?

Link Building Strategies for Dealers

Guest Posts

Online Directories & Citations

The Importance of NAP

Get Links from the Local Community

Leverage Your Media Spend

Link Building Strategies for OEMs

Leveraging Your Dealer Network

Maximising Your Press Releases

What About Buying Links?

Understanding No Follow Links & Sponsored Link Attributes

How to Approach Buying Links

Some Final Notes On Link Building

Retain Media: For Industry-Leading Insights to Boost Your Digital Marketing

Market reports

2023 Motorcycle Market Brand Equity Report

We are proud to release the first of our Brand Consideration Reports. These reports are intended to serve as a snapshot of the major manufacturers’ brand awareness, as measured by their search volume and market in Australia.

The figures in this report were gathered using three keyword research tools to assess over 40,000 search terms, representing more than 6.2m make and model searches in Q3 2023. The data shown in this report was collected between Q4 2022 and Q3 2023 and is based on the calendar year, not the financial year.

During our research, we elected to include dealership searches that included a brand name e.g.
“Springwood Suzuki” but excluded dealership terms that didn’t include an OEM brand e.g. “Sydney City Motorcycles”. We also elected not to include search terms for parts and merchandise and excluded any terms that imply a used bike search e.g “2021 Yamaha R1”.

This report first looks at the industry leaders among all brands, before we analyse the leaders based on the manufacturers’ region (European, Japanese, and North American), as well as seperate categories for Learner Approved Motorcycles (LAMs) and ATVs.

All Brands

Most-Searched Models

European Road Brands

Japanese Brands

North American Brands

Learner Approved Motorcycles (LAMs)

ATV & UTV Brands

Retain Media

Market reports

Social Media Statistics Australia 2023

As of March 2023, 21 million Australians aged 14+ are online every month, spending an average of 107 hours online per month. 49% of total time spent online is on social networks.*

That’s roughly 52 hours per month on social networks. To put that in perspective Australians spend:

  • 23 hours per month watching free-to-air TV
  • 35 hours per month in streaming services
  • 41 hours per month watching paid TV**

Social media has come a long way since the earliest days of internet chat rooms and now commands a greater attention share than traditional media. As new trends and platforms have hit the market in recent years, Australians’ social media usage has shifted in kind and continues to do so today. As a result, understanding social media usage is essential to developing a sound digital strategy.

This article will examine key statistics about Australia’s social media usage and how they can inform your digital marketing strategy. To start, let’s look at what social media platforms Australians use.

The Top 8 Social Media Sites Used by Australians:

The Top 8 Social Media Android Apps Used by Australians:

Source: Insights by Retain Media of the top 8 Social Media Android Apps by Australians as of July ’23

Five of the top 10 sites Australians visit are social media platforms, and 3 of the top 10 apps by usage are social media apps. This underscores the power of social media.

Australian Social Media Usage

Australian social media users spend a ton of time on social networking sites. According to the Digital 2022 report from Data Reportal, the most popular social media platforms (measured in hours used per month) are TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, and Instagram, although there are several other lesser-known platforms that present opportunities to businesses looking to grow their digital marketing. Let’s dive into each of these a bit further.

Source: Data Reportal

The Rise & Rise of TikTok

TikTok, the Chinese video-sharing app that has taken the world by storm in the past few years, continues its immense growth in Australia. Its success can be attributed partly to the Covid lockdowns: stuck at home with nothing to do, younger generations especially craved a deeper sense of connection and a more immediate form of entertainment than social media like Facebook and Instagram were able to offer.

Now, more than three years after the first lockdowns, TikTok is rapidly gaining ground on Meta’s main platforms, with 1 billion active monthly users worldwide and entire communities and subcultures forming that reflect its more vibrant appeal.

TikTok demographics - Australia 2023

According to the Digital 2022 Australia report, of Australians aged 16-64, 32% regularly use TikTok, spending 23.4 hours a month on the app – the highest of any social media and a 40% increase over the previous year. As of 2023, TikTok has 8.3 million users over the age of 18 in Australia, more than 31% of Australia’s total population.

As impressive as this number is, the true figure is likely even higher, as ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) only collects audience data on users over 18. Despite these limitations, TikTok ads reached 40.3% of all Australian adults over 18, representing a massive potential market on its own.

Source: Insights by Retain Media

Of the reported data, we can see women over-indexing, making up 55% of the audience. The 18-24 age group is the largest age group, making up almost 40% of total TikTok users, with the 25-34 age group not far behind at 37% of total users. In this age bracket, the number of women is almost double that of men. After 35, the number of users drops off dramatically, reinforcing the fact that TikTok is overwhelmingly a young person’s platform.

On a state-by-state basis, people in New South Wales are slightly more likely to be on TikTok than those in Victoria and Queensland, with Western Australia and South Australia lagging far behind, and Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT having a negligible amount of users compared to the national population.


YouTube is both a social media platform and a search engine, and if it was a stand-alone search engine it would be the second largest in the world behind Google. Despite being one of the oldest social media platforms, YouTube is still a force to be reckoned with, with Australians spending on average over 17 hours per month on Youtube, the third-highest of all social media platforms.

Advertising data from Google indicates that YouTube has 21.30 million users in Australia at the start of 2023, though it is important to note that this is not the same as monthly active users. Even so, YouTube’s figures suggest that the platform’s ads reach an estimated 81% of the Australian population, or 84.2% of Australia’s total internet user base, regardless of their age.

YouTube’s importance was underscored this year when Fast Company labeled YouTube #1 on its list of the most innovative companies in 2023. While other social media platforms popularity may wax and wane, YouTube – which is now approaching its 20th birthday – remains steadfast in its appeal and shows no signs of going away.


Facebook’s decline has been one of the major stories in the tech sector over the past few years, and it is a story that will continue in 2023. Last year, Facebook’s user base declined for the first time in its history – a development resulting from its falling popularity with younger users.

A large part of this decline is because younger users have migrated to competitors such as YouTube, Snapchat and especially TikTok, but there are several social and political factors contributing to the loss of users as well. 

Between Facebook’s numerous, well-documented scandals and its perception among Gen-Z users as a social media for old people, Facebook’s dominance of the social media space may be coming to an end.

Meta demographics - Australia 2023

Despite the news, Facebook still has 14.9 million users in Australia. Facebook continues to see widespread use among older generations. 55% of Australian users are between 25 and 54 years old, a demographic responsible for Australia’s highest household spending levels.

Combine this with the fact that Facebook’s ad reach in Australia is equivalent to 57% of the total population, as well as the fact that the aforementioned demographic is the most likely to click on ads, it is clear that Facebook remains a fantastic way for many businesses to reach potential customers through its Ads network.

Older Facebook users are the most likely to engage directly with ads (Source: Meta, via Data Reportal)

Source: Insights by Retain Media

As of September 2023 women over-indexing, making up 56% of the audience on Facebook.

The 25-34 age group is the largest age group, making up almost 24% of total Facebook users. More than 75% of Meta’s Australian user base is over the age of 25, indicating that the drop in users is coming from trend-focused Gen-Z consumers, as we discussed above.

On a state-by-state basis, the spread of Facebook users matches the population, more or less mirroring the numbers seen amongst TikTok users.

Source: Insights by Retain Media

Is Instagram On the Way Out?

The counterpoint to TikTok’s success is the slow decline in the popularity of Instagram. While the platform maintains a base of 11.6 million users in Australia – 52.5% of the ‘eligible’ population, as Instagram restricts the use of its app to people over the age of 13 – data published by Meta (Instagram’s parent company) show that its potential ad reach decreased by 1.1 million people (-8.6%) between 2022 and 2023, with a decrease of 400 thousand coming between October 2022 and January 2023 alone. 

Despite this, Instagram’s total ad reach still accounts for 44% of the Australian population or 46% of the local internet user base, regardless of age. Of this ad audience, 56.2% are female, and 43.8% are male.

Although these figures represent a substantial audience (especially for brands and businesses with a large number of female consumers), public sentiment towards Instagram is undeniably shifting, especially among Gen-Z, who, as we mentioned before, are leaving both Facebook and Instagram for TikTok. 

Source: Meta, via Data Reportal

Is Snapchat Worth Your Time?

With 6.6 million users in Australia, Snapchat is certainly the smallest of these first four social media platforms in terms of its overall reach. Of these users, 54% of Snapchat’s ad audience is female, while 46% is male.

Between January 2022 and January 2023, Snapchat’s potential ad reach increased by 450 thousand users, with more than half of that growth occurring between October 2022 and January 2023. 

Although this growth may be a positive sign for Snapchat itself, its value to businesses (and the value of Snapchat as an advertising platform generally) is distinctly limited. Because Snapchat is effectively a personal messaging service, there is very little opportunity for businesses to engage directly with users and even less upside to advertising on the platform. 

Snapchat demographics - Australia 2023

Snap Skew heavily towards younger social media users with 55% of its users under 24.

Source: Insights by Retain Media 

While men and women are fairly even up to 25, Men start to drop off the platform at a much greater rate 25+

On a state-by-state basis, people in QLD and NSW are slightly more likely to be on Snapchat, while users in Victoria slightly under-indexed compared to their share of the national population.

Source: Insights by Retain Media 


Another often-overlooked platform is Reddit. Reddit is the 3rd ranked social media site and 29th most-used app by Australians. As of 2022, Reddit was the sixth-most downloaded social media app in Australia, trailing Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google and Twitter.

Reddit has 6.7 million Australians users. All told, Australian users account for 3.9% of all Reddit users globally and are responsible for 190 million visits to the site each year.

The average Australian Reddit user spends 31 minutes a day on the platform, or around 15.5 hours a month, placing it firmly in contention with YouTube and Facebook despite its much smaller user-base. 

Reddit demographics - Australia 2023

Reddit is more popular among males, with only 37% of its users being female. In Australia, people aged 18-34 represent 62% of the country’s users, while the second-largest age group is 35-49-year-olds, with 28% of Australian Reddit users. 

Like most other social media platforms, Victoria and NSW slightly over-index on users when compared to their share of the national population. 

Source: Insights by Retain Media

While Reddit does generate revenue through advertising – and the company has recently opened an office in Australia – most businesses advertising on the platform are large, international brands. As such, we do not recommend advertising on Reddit, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.


Unlike in the United States, Twitter does not occupy a large role in Australians’ social media usage. With just 5.25 million users, Twitter’s ad reach in Australia is equivalent to 20% of the total population, 23.7% of the eligible population (those aged 13 years and older), and 20.7% of the local internet user base. Twitter’s potential ad reach increased by 1.6 million in the year between January 2022 and 2023, with an increase of 550,000 between October ‘22 and January ‘23 alone. 

What is particularly interesting about Twitter is the demographic breakdown of its ad audience: 31.7% of users are female, and a whopping 68.3% are male. It is also worth noting, though, that Twitter infers its users’ gender by analysing things such as the name they use on their profile rather than having them select a gender when they create their profile, as Facebook and Instagram do.

As such, it is difficult to know what the true breakdown of Twitter’s ad audience is and the opportunities this presents to businesses and advertisers, especially as these figures can fluctuate significantly over short periods of time. Add to this the fact that a substantial portion of Twitter accounts belongs to businesses, institutions, public figures, etc., and it becomes hard to justify its value to businesses, especially SMEs. 

What’s the Point of Pinterest?

One of the most overlooked social media platforms is Pinterest’s 4.1 million Australian users – representing 16% of the total population. It may seem like an audience that is hardly worth paying attention to, but don’t be so quick to dismiss it.

Pinterest demographics - Australia 2023

While this audience may be small in the grand scheme of things, it does offer value to certain businesses. With 83% of Pinterest’s Australian users being female, there is tremendous potential for businesses with large numbers of female customers, especially those in the beauty, fashion, design, wedding and photography industries.

Source: Insights by Retain Media

The 18-24 age group is the largest cohort, making up almost 30% of total platform users, with the 25-34 age group not far at 28% of total users. In this age bracket, the number of women is almost double that of men. Like TikTok, after 35, the number of users drops off dramatically.

On a state-by-state basis, people in NSW and Victoria are slightly more likely to be on Pinterest, compared to their share of the national population.

Source: Insights by Retain Media

Learn to Leverage the Strengths of LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s advertising audience is significant with almost 15 million members in Australia as of August 2023. This audience is growing and has grown by almost 6% (700,000 members) since January 2023.

It should be noted this is based on total registered members rather than monthly active users. As such, the total number of active users will likely be considerably lower than 14 million.

LinkedIn pitches itself as the world’s largest professional network, and its main value is as a B2B platform, where you can communicate with other businesses in your industry. 

LinkedIn demographics - Australia 2023

LinkedIn users skew slightly male with a user base that is 53% male and 47% female.

Source: Insights by Retain Media

52% of all users are aged between 25 and 34. Victoria and New South Wales users slightly over index compared to their peers in other states – a figure that aligns with the fact that the nation’s two biggest professional cities are located in these states.

Source: Insights by Retain Media

The State of Social Media in 2023

We live in a rapidly changing world, and that is true too of social media. While the past decade was seemingly dominated by the big three of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, new, more dynamic social media platforms are emerging that look set to supplant the old platforms, with more sure to appear in the coming years.

However, that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel when it comes to Instagram or Facebook and focus all your attention on growing the world’s greatest TikTok account. Social media is not a zero-sum game, and just because one platform is in the ascendancy, it doesn’t mean the others are no longer worth your time.

An effective social media presence can encompass a wide range of platforms and approaches and is often determined more by which platforms suit the specific needs of your business. If you have spent the past 10 years building a following and developing a community on Facebook, you don’t need to jump ship to TikTok suddenly. Likewise, if your efforts on a certain platform are not delivering results, it can be worthwhile to focus your attention elsewhere – it’s all about seeing what works and acting accordingly.


**Source Insights by Retain Media 

Best practice Facebook Advertising

How to Use UGC to Sell More Vehicles!

The landscape of social media has changed so much in recent years that deciding on a strategy can be challenging. As well as figuring out what role platforms such as TikTok will play in your social media strategy, you also have to adapt to the changing nature of the existing platforms (Facebook, YouTube and Instagram) and the ways that their changes can impact your reach.

In recent years, Facebook especially has made it much harder to reach potential customers and engage with fans of your page. Despite this, one thing we have noticed in the time that we’ve been managing our clients’ social media accounts is how well user-generated content (UGC) performs, especially for dealers and OEMs.

But what is UGC, and more importantly, how do you use it to your advantage? In this article, we’ll give you an overview of UGC and offer some suggestions for how you can incorporate it into your social media strategy to get the greatest benefit.

What is User Generated Content?

User-generated content is any content created by a business’s customers (instead of the brand itself) and usually refers to photos or videos of the customer using the product. UGC can come from anyone, from a customer posting a photo of their new caravan on Instagram or sharing a YouTube video of their latest trip.

Why is UGC Important for Caravan Dealers and Parks?

Several advantages to UGC make them well-suited for use by caravan dealerships and parks.

  1. Authenticity and Trust: UGC acts as a form of peer recommendation. When potential customers see real users enjoying their caravan purchases, it paints a genuine picture of the product’s quality and usability and acts as social proof of its value.
  2. Cost-Effective Marketing: Sourcing user content can significantly reduce content creation costs, making UGC a budget-friendly marketing tool.
  3. Increased Engagement: Posts with UGC tend to have higher engagement rates. Customers who see their content showcased are more likely to share and comment on the post, expanding its organic reach.
  4. Native feel: Social media platforms at their heart are meant to be “Social”. UGC can feel more natural – one person connecting with another rather than slickly produced ads, which feel more like ads and raise people’s mental barriers.

Curating UGC

While UGC content can cost less than arranging photo and video shoots, it still costs time. There are some tools and software to help automate the process.

While there are tools you can use to scrape content from platforms like Instagram, it is much easier to search for hashtags related to your brand #brandname or #modelsnames. Don’t stop there. Industry of lifestyle-specific hashtags, #vanlife, for example, in the caravan industry, can be a treasure trove of user-generated content.

Using a hashtag while posting can encourage owners to use your official hashtags (e.g. #Brandname), which can help increase usage of your #brandname and give you more content to use.

An extension of this is running a specific campaign to prompt owners to post photos and videos using your product with specific hashtags. Offering rewards and incentives can drive engagement and help generate more UGC. This could be in discounts, freebies, or promoting the user on your social channels.

Facebook groups (especially owner groups) are a fantastic place to find UGC, as they have highly active communities where members share many photos.

Youtube can often be overlooked in social media discussions, but Youtube is a social media platform loaded with high-quality UGC.

The easiest UGC to collect and use can be reviews.

Reviews and Testimonials

Positive feedback from real customers builds credibility. 90% of buyers trust what others say about your brand more than your messages.

Encourage satisfied customers to share feedback on platforms like Facebook and Google Business Profile (GBP). The GBP should be prioritised for a dealership or Local Business as these reviews will make the dealership more visible on Google searches in the local area. You can read more here:

Positive reviews can then be reposted to your social platforms, acting as further social proof and allowing potential buyers to hear what current owners – in their own words – value about your product.

Your Google Business Profile has a link that can be shared with or sent to buyers. The link can be found in the “ask for a review” section

When asking for a review from your customers, ask them to include an image. This has 2 benefits:

  1. Creates a collection of user-generated content for use in other marketing efforts
  2. Google prefers reviews with photos, so this positive review will be visible longer on the GBP

Video Testimonials

Video testimonials can be more impactful than written ones.

Google Business Profile reviews tend to be requested by dealers at the time of sale. They are typically more of a sales process review (see the reviews of cheap car insurance companies; the sales process reviews are four and 5-star reviews, while the claim reviews (product use) are mainly 1 and 2-star.)

Returning to your buyers or reviewers 2 or 3 months after purchase can be a very effective way to get actual product reviews.

Several platforms are specifically designed to capture these reviews via video. They ask the owner to leave a video review and open the camera on their phone when they agree so they can start shooting immediately.

Integrating UGC in Your Marketing Strategy

People consume content differently, and incorporating UGC into the mix of brands’ content helps with the diversity of content and building trust, credibility, and engagement with your audience.

Be sure to also have variety within the UGC Shared, including written, video, or audio, and from various customer backgrounds and experiences.

Collaborative Content Creation or Influencer marketing

An influencer is an individual who has established credibility, expertise, or a significant following in a specific niche or industry. They can impact their audience’s opinions and purchasing decisions due to their perceived authenticity, knowledge, or charisma. Partner with influencers or regular social media users to co-create content. This has several benefits, including:

  • Audience Reach and Engagement: Influencers often have a large and dedicated following within specific niches or demographics. Partnering with influencers allows vehicle manufacturers to tap into these engaged audiences, reaching potential customers who might not be reached through traditional advertising methods. This can lead to increased brand exposure and awareness.
  • Credibility and Trust: Influencers are seen as trusted authorities within their niches. When they endorse a vehicle or share their experiences with it, their followers are more likely to trust and consider the recommendation. This can help build credibility for the vehicle manufacturer, especially if the influencer has a strong track record in the category.
  • Authenticity and Storytelling: Influencers often excel at creating authentic and relatable content. They can provide a more personal and humanised perspective on a vehicle, sharing real experiences and stories. This storytelling approach can connect with consumers emotionally and help them visualise themselves using the product, which is crucial for a high-involvement purchase like a caravan, bike, car etc.
  • Targeted Marketing: Influencers can help vehicle manufacturers target specific market segments more effectively. By selecting influencers whose followers align with the manufacturer’s target audience (e.g., off-road enthusiasts, eco-conscious consumers, luxury travel enthusiasts), the marketing message can be tailored to resonate with those potential buyers. This precision targeting can lead to a higher conversion rate among the influencer’s followers.
  • Cost: When potential buyers research a vehicle purchase, they consider,” What will this look like when I own it?”. Getting photography and videos of vehicles in the wild can be very costly, so having a few influencers in different locals can be a very cost-effective way of getting quality content in different environments and settings.

Enhancing Your Use of UGC

Don’t limit UGC to just one platform. If an owner posts a great photo on Instagram, consider posting User Generated Content on Facebook, Twitter, or even in a monthly newsletter. Doing so will give it the greatest reach and also ensure that you present a consistent feed across all of the brands social media platforms.

Using UGC in Paid ads

As well as incorporating UGC into your social media strategy, you can use it in your ad campaigns instead of the usual graphics. Most people are okay for brands sharing user-generated content as a post so long as they are tagged and acknowledged. If using the UGC for paid ads, it’s best to seek permission from your customers.

Once you have made UGC part of your regular social media posts, you can turn the UGC posts with the highest engagement into ads. One way to identify which posts can be successful as ads is by engagement rate. We find any post that has an engagement rate of 5% or higher is a good candidate for becoming an ad.

In addition to offering social proof and building trust with potential buyers, UGC ad campaigns intercept high-intent prospects at a crucial point of their buying journey and show them what their life could be like if only they had your product.

Embrace Handover Posts

Another option, though, and one which we find to be a strong performer are Handover Posts. Although they are not technically UGC (as they aren’t user-generated), handover posts remain one of the highest-performing types of content in terms of engagement and reach. They are also one of the easiest to generate, as all you need to do is have a team member take a photo of the buyer with their vehicle once the handover is completed.

The buyer usually likes and comments on these posts, which seeds the post in their network as their friends and family also comment. This is a good strategy for building awareness and endorsement of your dealership with the network of your customers.

There are tools specifically for this purpose. They capture the handover photo, encourage a review on the Google Business Profile and then allow a dealership or business to post the photo with the review as the caption across social media platforms.

Using the language of your Customers

UGC doesn’t always have to be images and videos. Using the language of your customers is very powerful. This can be picked up in reviews on the GBP, Comments on social media posts and reviews on 3rd party platforms such as

Using your customer’s language to speak to them in their own words creates a connection between them and the brand and helps land the brand message better.

Best practice Facebook Advertising

The Facebook Advertising Conundrum: Organic Posts or Paid Ads? Which is Right for You?

Australia is connected. Twenty-one million Australians aged 14 or over are online every month. 49% of this time is spent on social networking platforms. Several social platforms are competing for this time, including TikTok, whose dramatic rise has dominated headlines and left the other platforms scrambling; YouTube, which flies under the radar as a social platform; and Facebook or the Meta platforms, with over 2 billion daily active users, including over 19 million Australians.

In modern digital marketing, Facebook and Instagram stand out as a force to be reckoned with. This social media marketing platform offers dealers and OEMS an unparalleled opportunity to engage with and convert their target audience to leads and sales.

Two of the most powerful tools in a social media strategy in the Facebook marketing arsenal are Organic Posting and Paid Ads.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and trade-offs of these dynamic approaches and how they can be combined to create a harmonious social media presence that resonates with a broader audience of Australian consumers.

Organic Posting on Facebook

Organic Posts are the posts a dealer or OEM publish on their Facebook page or profile.

If you have been using Facebook regularly to post, you most likely have noticed declining reach (number of people who see your posts) over the past few years.  

The latest research suggests that the average reach is only between 3 and 5%, so if a brand had 10,000 followers, an average post would be seen by 550 people.

It's natural to wonder, are Facebook posts still relevant in 2023? 

The cost-effectiveness of organic posting is particularly appealing. Compared to Paid Ads, Organic Posting doesn’t require significant financial investments to reach and engage with the target audience. However, it does require an equally valuable resource: time. Effectively managing an organic social media presence demands consistent effort, thoughtful planning, and a keen eye for detail.

Facebook is looking for signs a business is posting good-quality content. If an account is posting low-quality content, it will throttle reach. On the other hand, if an account posts good quality content, it will increase its reach.

Comments and shares are 2 of the critical metrics it looks at. It also considers how long people spend engaged with your post – is the post a scroll stopper?

Organic Social Strategies

 Too Often, dealers and OEMs can fall into the trap of posting “for sale” type posts. In the eyes of the Facebook algorithm, this is generally low-quality content (i.e. gets low comments and shares). People generally are not on Facebook looking for a new car, bike, caravan, truck etc.

Accounts that get the best results vary their content in 2 ways – the type of content (in-stock, handovers, UGC or user-generated content, lifestyle or branded entertainment, new releases, sales events, humour, tips, etc.) and the format (video, static images etc.)

Different people consume media differently. Some users prefer video, some images, some longer form text etc., so a combination of content types helps increase the overall reach of the account.

Apart from the actual content, the time that the post goes live can have a significant impact on results. The life of a Facebook post is about 6 hours. The first 2 hours are key, so ensuring your content is posted at the right time to reach your audience is key.

User-Generated Content

Facebook is a social platform and it should come as no surprise that User-Generated Content (UCG) work particularly well.

UCG is perceived as authentic and genuine and can be more relatable than slick or highly produced ads. It is seen as more native to the platform and, as such, helps the audience connect with the content on a deeper level.

UGC also acts as a form of social proof as it shows real people using the product.

An extension of UCG in dealer land is the handover post. These posts showcasing delivery have proven highly effective in generating reach and engagement as the new owner is more likely to comment on and share the post – the key signal Facebook likes. They also act as an endorsement or recommendation and help seed your brand with your buyer’s social group and build the brand.

This type of organic content creates a sense of authenticity, building brand awareness and trust among potential and existing customers, ultimately driving engagement and conversion.

Quality Over Quantity

A common mistake that many businesses make with Facebook posts is believing that they need to be posting all the time. Quality, not quantity, is a far more important factor in the success of your posts. 3 or 4 years ago, we found dealers wanted three daily posts (a used, a new and a branded entertainment post). For most businesses, 4-7 posts a week is plenty, so long as they provide value to your audience.

Boosted or Sponsored Posts

Organic reach is small, and the time investment can outweigh the benefits of organic posts. A small ($20-$30) budget can go a long way and dramatically extend the reach of posts.

One way of increasing the organic reach can be to boost the posts to your own audience (page followers). This is the most likely to engage the audience with your posts, and this engagement can then help boost the overall organic reach.

Facebook Targeting

Facebook differs from Google Ads in that it targets ads at users rather than actions (e.g. typing in keywords to Google)

Most Australians are on Facebook, and Facebook knows a lot about them. Facebook is suspected of having 52,000 data points on every user.

This is the data it uses to target ads, and with its advanced targeting features, dealers and OEMs can target potential customers based on specific interests (outdoor enthusiasts), behaviours (e.g. showing signs of being in the market for a vehicle), demographics (family with kids), pages they follow (a competitor profile), how they have interacted with your brand in the past (remarketing), lookalike audiences (people with similar traits to your best customers or prospects) and so much more.

This level of targeting and the ability to A/B test creative vs. specific audiences can really help dealers and OEMs narrow their focus and deliver highly targeted ads to users who are more likely to become customers.

For example, targeting people interested in specific ute models could interest dealers launching a competing model, caravan or boat OEMs targeting buyers with a tow vehicle, etc.

Dynamic Product Ads (DPA)

There are many different forms of ads on Facebook, from standard images and videos to Shorts and Instant Experiences. People consume content differently and so a mix of ad types will maximise the potential of an account.

One ad type, in particular, is very powerful for dealers (OEMS can also use them). These are Dynamic Product Ads or DPAs. DPAs are ads based on the current stock in the dealership. These ads allow dealers to showcase their current inventory.

By leveraging the 52,000 data points Facebook has on user behaviour, DPAs dynamically display relevant products to each user, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

DPAs can be particularly powerful in retargeting or re-engaging with users who have visited your site. These ads can display the exact models the users were interested in, along with relevant pricing and specifications. They can also showcase similar or related models. This personalized approach helps re-engage potential customers and encourages them to take the next step, such as scheduling a test drive or requesting more information.

Offline Conversions

In addition to its powerful targeting capabilities and other analytical tools, Facebook offers offline conversion tracking.

The ability to generate and track leads is fantastic. With offline conversion data, dealers can measure the effectiveness of their Facebook ads in driving actual sales.

The screenshot below shows how sale values can be viewed in the ads manager, and sales attributed to specific campaigns (and ad groups)

For OEMs and dealers, customers make significant purchasing decisions after visiting dealerships.

Offline conversion tracking gives businesses a more granular view of their advertising performance. It means they can make informed decisions about their ad targeting, creative strategies, and budget allocation, ultimately driving more effective and efficient advertising campaigns. It also means they can optimise campaigns based on sales rather than leads.

Data and Insights

The significance of using offline conversions is obvious for dealers where the sale happens offline. It helps accurately measure the impact of their Facebook ads and to understand the true return on investment (ROI).

Not every business or every dealer can or wants to feed Facebook sales data. In fact, the majority work towards leads and another standout advantage of Paid Ads lies in measuring and analyzing campaign performance. Through Facebook’s powerful analytical tools, dealers and OEMs can gain real-time data and valuable insights, enabling them to refine their ads continuously. These insights help optimize paid social campaigns for maximum impact.

Using Posts and Ads Together

One of the key benefits of organic posting is the ability to gauge what type of content resonates with your target market. Through careful analysis of engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and shares, brands can gain valuable insights into their potential customers’ behaviour and preferences. This allows businesses to fine-tune their content strategy, focusing on creating more of the types of posts that generate the most engagement.

We generally view posts with over a 5% engagement rate as strong and having the potential to be turned into ads. In this case, we would be looking for the type of posts that resonate with the audience so we can build more of them.

 To view your previously published posts, go to

 Each post will have reach and engagement numbers. 

Unfortunately, the engagement rate needs to be calculated manually. Simply divide the reach by the engagement to get your engagement rate.

In the above example, the post reached 4.2k people or accounts and had 463 engagements, which is an engagement rate of 11%.

On the other hand, the post below reached 5,121 accounts and only had only 150 engagements  or an engagement rate of 3%. 

The first post could be potentially turned into an ad.

This approach helps businesses maximize their advertising budget by investing in ads that have already proven successful in engaging their target audience.

It’s dangerous to make decisions just on one post. On the post side of things, we would look at the last 60-90 days worth of posts (depending on the frequency of posts – we want enough data) to spot trends.

This would help us identify what type of posts get the most engagement (and what ones don’t).

This would give us a plan for the next few months on the type of posts to produce. As an agency, we do this exercise once a month and make adjustments. 

Ultimately, leveraging the insights gained from organic posting empowers brands to create a more targeted and effective social media presence that delivers a high return on investment.

Best practice Facebook Advertising

Facebook Ad Account Hack

Over recent months, unfortunately, talk of hacking has become a frequent news item. It seems every week, another prominent institution has been breached.

As well as the high-profile hacks, Facebook Business Manager account hacks are on the rise, too. How do we know? Because we were one of the agencies targeted. 

Luckily, we were able to catch the hack and put a stop to it before any harm was caused to us or our clients, but it was a serious reminder of the sophisticated approaches that scammers now employ and the immense importance of strong cybersecurity. So, in the interest of transparency, we thought we’d share the details of what happened so that you can avoid falling victim to this or any similar scam.

So, What Happened?

On Friday, May 5, at approximately 9:20 am AEST,  a Facebook profile in our Facebook Business Manager account was hacked. The hackers managed to break through a 16-character password and two-factor authentication.

They then changed the password for that Facebook profile and removed the associated email address.

Once inside the hacked account, the hackers proceeded to duplicate existing ad campaigns across a number of our clients (1 per client), changed the Pixel ID and ad creative associated with these campaigns, and upped the daily ad spend to between $45,000 and $65,000.

And they did all this in the rules area of the business manager:

This hack aimed to launch scam ads for their products, paid for by the credit cards on our ad accounts. Below is a screenshot of the ads the launched.

The site where the ads were sending traffic to has been identified as a scam by ScamAdviser

The fraud campaigns began to be pushed live at approximately 3pm AEST.

The hackers cleverly copied the naming conventions of our ad campaigns to conceal the presence of their fraudulent campaigns. Fortunately for us, one of our vigilant Facebook Ads Specialists discovered the duplicates of fraudulent campaigns before they managed to eat into those massive daily spends. Most we caught before they incurred any spend and combined across the impacted ad accounts only around $1,500 was charged before the campaigns were deactivated. 

Although we were able to remove the compromised Facebook profiles’s access to our Business Manager, the hackers attached three Pixel IDs to each of the ad accounts.

These Pixel IDs have no actual access to the ad accounts and are not receiving any data from them, and so far, Meta has been unable to remove them.

We can, however, see data from them, and they are still active, hacking other Facebook ad accounts.

Who’s Behind the Hack?

At this stage, we don’t know who exactly, but we do know that we aren’t the only agency to be affected – in fact, variations of this same hack seem to have targeted digital marketing agencies around the world in recent months, as commenters on this Reddit post have reported.

After reading about the experiences of other agencies, we realised we were more fortunate than we first thought. While we caught and stopped the fraudulent campaigns soon after they launched, others were billed upwards of $100k before they noticed and are still waiting for refunds from Meta. Things could have been a lot worse.

The aim of the hack was simple: to direct traffic and sales to an e-commerce website without the hackers having to pay for the advertising themselves. In our case, the product they were promoting was a slipper.

Although this scam seems to have struck many agencies in just the last few months, it has been running far longer than that, albeit with slightly different approaches and methods. This 2021 article from Mashable reports that digital marketer Loni Mayse fell victim to the same hack two years ago, with hackers gaining access to her account through a piece of malware after reaching out through Facebook Messenger pretending to be a prospective client.

In the Reddit post linked above, several commenters reported that their accounts were hacked by email addresses associated with, a domain considered high-risk and frequently used by fraudsters to create disposable email accounts, as you can see below.

According to the aforementioned Mashable article, this particular hack is commonly run out of Vietnam – and what do you know, one of the creators that attached the fraudulent Pixel IDs to our ad accounts has a Vietnamese name; Hài Đăng.

What Have We Done in Response to the Breach?

As mentioned above, our team quickly identified and prevented the hack from escalating. We contacted Facebook support and removed all fraudulent activity from the accounts. We removed the compromised Facebook profile and suspended the associated email address. Additionally, we have consulted with a cyber-security specialist who has been reviewing our policies and procedures, and we have begun implementing their recommendations.          

We have also recorded the attack with

At the time of writing, we are waiting for Facebook to conduct their review.

Market reports

Marketing in a Downturn

Both new and used car sales surged during the Covid spell, as did the sale of Motorbikes, Tractors and Trucks. The Australian caravan scene also exploded as families swapped international jet-setting for local road trips, making caravans their companions.

But the rising cost of living and increased interest rates are now steering the market towards a drop, with stock listings booming but actual buyers leaving the market or spending longer in research mode.

30% Drop in Active Buyers

At the Caravan Industry Conference earlier this year, Peter Clay from The Caravan Industry Association of Australia predicted Australian caravan production would drop roughly 30% from 28k to 21k units.

We have already seen that drop in Google searches. For most of last year, the term “Caravan for sale” averaged 165k monthly searches on Google. Today, it averages 110k. That is a massive 30% drop in active buyers in the market.

It is not just the caravan market where buyers are leaving the market. In the motorcycle market, searches for “Bikes for sale” are down 25%, while the car market has faired better, with searches for “cars for sale” only down 12%.**

Stock on Classified Sites is at an All-Time High

In addition, stock is building up in the yards, while stock on classified sites is, in some cases, at all-time highs. For example, cars listed for sale on Car Sales was 172k last October. Today, there are 229k cars online – a 33% increase.

And it’s not just cars, in the leisure industries, last October, the number of vans listed for sale on Caravan Camping Sales was sitting at 9k – today, there are over 13k vans for sale, an almost 40% jump. Bikesales has seen a similar jump (from 14k to 20k) as has marine ( from 12k to over 15k boats)

On the industry side, Trucks, Farm and Construction equipment listed for sale on Machines4u has grown 23% from 16k to 20k.*

The Cost of Holding Stock

In 2013, Deloitte released some research on the cost of holding stock (you can read it here), which estimated the cost of approximately $27 per vehicle per day. In 2013, the average used car cost around $10k, according to CarHistory.

The average used car today is around $30k, according to Carsguide. Adjusting for the average cost of the average used car today and inflation, the cost of holding stock is more likely $100 per day.

Holding costs can start adding up quickly: holding a car for just ten days could cost a dealer $1,000, rapidly eating into profit margins.

Buyers are Spending Longer Researching

In addition to the stock flooding the market as buyers exit, we have also seen conversion rates dropping as the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) increases. Across multiple industry on both dealer and OEM sites, we see the time spent on-site and the number of pages visited per session increase. This signals that the buyers still in-market are switching to research mode rather than action mode and are spending more time researching models and considering their purchase before pulling the trigger. 

Taken as a whole, the market is tightening up with fewer buyers active. Dealers must learn to sell again and work harder to get leads and sales. 

Capturing Active Buyers

With a shrinking market comes increased competition, which we have seen across advertising networks. The recent end of the financial year saw more ads than ever across the Google and Facebook networks, with advertisers becoming increasingly aggressive in their approaches: discounts are back, and messaging is direct to create urgency amongst buyers. 

So how do you get new customers in a shrinking market? And how do you move stock fast to minimise the holding costs?

Website Maintenance

The website is the cornerstone of all digital marketing strategies. All marketing points back to it. When other marketing channels are turned off, it remains live. A robust website amplifies the results of all other media.

The website is often viewed as a once-off investment of time and money. The website is the online showroom; just like the physical showroom, it needs ongoing maintenance and attention.

When times are more challenging, and deals are tougher to come by, the website must be performing and converting visitors to leads at its full potential.

Prioritise Mobile-First Design

57% of traffic in Australia comes via a mobile device.


Dealers tend to be phone call-based businesses. Make sure your website is mobile and phone call friendly. Some quick website checks include:

– Make sure ALL numbers on the website are click-to-call.

– Make sure the numbers are fully visible at all times; often, the numbers are hidden in the menu on the mobile view.

– View the order of items on your site vs how users consume content, e.g. buyers tend to be visual and will look at photos first. On the mobile view, ensure the key call to action is below the photos to capture leads or phone calls when interest is highest.

– Add call-to-action buttons floating in the “sweet spot” on the mobile view. Toyota dealers do this well, with the three call-to-action buttons floating at the bottom of the screen on stock pages.

Local Marketing

In terms of bang for the buck, a strong Google Business Profiles (GBP) is one of the best investments a dealer can make for local marketing. The GBP is the front door to your business, and a fully optimised GBP with the correct categories and content will make your dealerships more visible to potential buyers in your area.

Dealers and manufacturers miss opportunities by ignoring their GBP.

The Right Category and Relevant Content

Each GBP can have ten categories: 1 primary and nine secondary categories. Often, we see only one category selected when dealers should be aiming to get as close to 10 relevant categories as possible. We have previously published the relevant GBP categories for dealers here.

Most GBPs we review are also missing keyword-rich content i.e. GBPs need descriptions and the products and services of the dealership or OEM listed. The below example on the left are the dealers listed on an OEMs site. On the right, only two appear on Google Maps when the OEM brand is searched.

This is an example of the GMBs missing critical information — the product and description sections of these Google Business Profiles.

Social Proof

Word of mouth is one of the most influential “media” on the path to purchase. Today. word of mouth has gone online through social proof and reviews.

One of the key review platforms is the Google Business Profile. These reviews are visible to active buyers where and when they are researching, and car dealers have long recognised this. In the example below, the top 3 Ford dealers in Sydney have 1.7k reviews, and the three dealers with the most reviews are the first to show when searching for a Ford dealer.

In addition to the social proof, your customers’ words when reviewing your dealership or OEM are used by Google for local ranking.

In the example below, car dealers with reviews similar to “best car dealer in Melbourne” are the car dealers that show for that search.

MapDescription automatically generated

Ask your customers to review your dealership and ask them in a way to seed keywords in the reviews, as this will help your dealership benefit from social proof and improved organic rankings.

Google Business Profile Posts

The Google Business Profile has a section called ‘add update’. These updates offer a great form of free local advertising.

They also aid rankings for a business on Google Maps and allow you to show Google the most important pages on your site via links.

GBP posts are different dimensions to posts from other social media channels, and one of the most common mistakes we see is businesses using the wrong size, leading to the key message being lost. See below for an example of the same post – one copied and pasted from Facebook, the other optimised for Google Business Profile.

We have built a Canva and PSD template to ensure the sales message is visible. Get the template here.

Email Marketing

Email marketing can be some of the most profitable marking a dealership or OEM can undertake.

When undertaking the site maintenance mentioned above, another thing to check is ensuring the “join our email list” form works and feeds the emails to the mailing platform. When email marketing is not regularly used, we frequently find the email sign-up form has not been collecting emails when we turn it on.

Sales Events

Sales are back. Discounting is back. People have given their email to you and, by extension, permission to contact them. Make sure EDMs are a part of any sales event or promotion.

Service Centre

In tough times, buyers tend to maintain existing vehicles longer. Email marketing to the existing customer base can be a very effective (both in terms of cost and results) way of driving these customers into your service centres and maintaining long-term relations for when the market returns.

Nurture Emails

The path to purchase is long, and the competition is fierce. A website prospect is not a sale. Some dealers close 1 in 4 leads to a sale, and others close 1 in 20. For those with a 25% closing ratio, that’s 75% of leads who potentially bought another brand or from another dealership.

A nurture email sequence is a sequence of emails sent to a potential customer triggered by some sign of intent by that prospect, for example, a brochure download or lead or engagement with a finance or pricing calculator.

These nurture emails can keep your brand in mind with the prospect during the research process and keep bringing the prospects back to your site, building the relationship and improving the chance of converting that lead into a sale.

These require a bit of effort to set up at the start, but once up and running, they keep your leads warm and engaged and will improve the closing rate.

So far we have covered how a dealer or OEM can get better results from the assets they already own – the website, Google Business Profile and mailing list. The next section will deal with how to get the best results from marketing spend in an economic downturn.

Intent marketing

Google search ads and SEO are intent-based marketing. Appearing on Google, either paid or organically, allows a dealership or OEM to reach and influence buyers who are in-market and actively researching a purchase.

It is as close to bottom-of-the-funnel marketing as a dealership or OEM can undertake.

Google ads are an immediate impact investment, whereas SEO is a long-term investment.

Google ads can be turned on and generate leads today, whereas SEO may not yield a result for 3-6 months. The best approach is a mix of Google Ads and SEO.

Google Ads

Google ads insert your brand onto the top of a search results page and in front of your potential customers.

Google is a for-profit business. They make money from ads, so it is no surprise that 90+% of the desktop screen can be taken up with ads for high-intent keywords. In the example below, “Ute for sale” is almost all ads. The first Organic listing, Autotrader, just about makes it onto page 1.

Fish Where the Fish Are

As markets get tighter and the marketing budget comes under increased scrutiny, Google search ads offer the opportunity to get your brand in front of in-market buyers where and when they are researching a purchase. In a downturn, Google ads offer a direct path to reach and influence in-market buyers. Done right, it is exceptionally cost-effective with minimal wastage.

SEO - Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is the process of getting a site to appear on page 1 for terms potential customers will use when researching a purchase on Google.

It is often said that the best place to hide a body is on page 2 of Google. The chart below shows a site’s potential if they rank on page 1.


Position 1, page 1, has a CTR of over 27%. Ranking position one can significantly impact website traffic, leads and sales.

The important thing to remember with SEO is that it takes a lot of work and will often take at least 3 – 6 months to see meaningful results. In the leisure industries, such as marine, caravans and motorbikes, we see search volume, site visits and leads generated peak every January. The January peak can see 30% more searches than the lowest month of the year!

For example below is the weekly search volume over the last 12 months for the term “caravan for sale”.

January was the peak month with 47k searches per week, compared to 29.5k searches in July ’23.

SEO is often one of the first marketing channels cut in an economic slowdown, as the ROI isn’t immediate.

At the start of this article, we stated that the website is the cornerstone of all digital marketing strategies; it is the online showroom, and just like the physical showroom, it needs ongoing maintenance.

SEO is a crucial part of this ongoing maintenance. A good SEO strategy will ensure that the website is up to date with Google’s best practices and that the content and structure are presented in the best possible way to rank for specific terms. Part of any good SEO strategy also includes making sure the site converts traffic to leads or sales.

If you want to have a chance of your site ranking when the market peaks in January, the best time to start is now. 

Interruption Marketing

Social media can be classified as interruption marketing. The intent of the users of these platforms is not to research a product to buy but instead to engage with friends and family. They are also very effective platforms for reaching and influencing prospects, but which platform is the best one to use?


TikTok may be taking all the headlines, and considering the average Australian spends 23+ hours a month on it, deservedly so. The downsides are the audience is younger, and the creative demands are heavier, i.e. content needs to be refreshed more frequently.

While it may not be the darling it once was, Facebook is still commanding over 17 hours a month and has a robust advertising ecosystem. Its audience is also older (i.e. can afford big ticket purchases), and for industries such as ours, where the product is a lifestyle, the visual element of Facebook and Instagram perform exceptionally well, selling the emotion and creating a connection.

Handover posts work exceptionally well on Facebook and Instagram.

They are easy to generate, build social proof and tend to get strong engagement with users. Strong engagement = more organic reach. Often the people who engage with it are those who bought the van and their friends, so the opportunity is to build your social proof with people similar to a recent buyer.

Adding a link to the post tends to reduce reach, so a brand needs to decide if they want greater reach or traffic to their website (however, adding the link as the first comment of each post can allow a brand to aim for both reach and traffic).

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are interruption marketing. When people use Google, they are researching a purchase, whereas when they use social media, they are there to be entertained or to connect with family or friends. 

Another difference between Google and Facebook, is that Facebook advertising is targeting a person rather than a search term. Facebook allows you to precisely target your ads based on demographics, interests, behaviors and online activities. This granular targeting ensures that your ads are shown to individuals who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.

Due to the way Facebook ads are targeted, the marketing messaging should initially focus on relationship building (top of funnel, ‘benefits’ type ads) to engage with potential customers. Remarketing plays a huge role in the success of any effective Facebook or Instagram campaign (see below for more details).

While Google Ads remain effective, Facebook’s audience segmentation capabilities, lower cost per click, and lower competition can lead to a better return on investment.

Try Our Ad Spy Tool Today

Looking for inspiration for your ads? Click here to browse 7,000+ Facebook ads by car, caravan, bike, boat, truck, construction and farm equipment dealers and OEMs.

Retargeting or Remarketing

The path to purchase is long in this industry, and the market is cluttered. Hundreds of sites compete for your potential customer’s attention, from competing dealers and OEMs to classified sites, social media groups, blogs, forums and industry sites, and even adjacent industries.

The average conversion rate for a website is under 3%, i.e. less than 3% of users will convert to a lead.

The remaining 97% leave your site, re-enter the clutter, and may never return. How does your business stay top of mind with these prospects?

Remarketing is a key strategy for that 97%, and Google and Facebook offer effective solutions to re-engage with and stay top of mind with potential customers.

If marketing budgets have been cut, remarketing offers a cost effective way to stretch the available budget and get the best ROI by

More Than Display

Google ads allow users to be retargeted for a maximum of 540 days.

Display remarketing is the most common form of remarketing on Google. With display, users knowing they are being remarketed to, they can be seen as annoying after a while. This is not to say don’t run them, more so to be careful; add frequency caps (how often an ad is shown to a user) and retarget for shorter spans (30 or 60 days).

Remarketing on search for 540 days allows a dealership or OEM to reach buyers who have been on your site and are now searching related terms on Google again over the next 18 months. The beauty here is the ads are only triggered when the user shows signs of intent (by searching specific terms on Google), and the user doesn’t know or feel like they are being retargeted. This can be great for long path to purchase products (caravans and motorhomes), service centres or repeat purchases e.g. farmers may buy multiple ATVs or UTVs.

Facebook Retargeting

Despite the ios14 update, where Apple cut Facebook’s access to data, retargeting on Facebook is very effective – indeed, in our experience, Facebook remarketing gets a better result (lower cost per lead) than Google.

Facebook offers the opportunity to retarget users who have been on your site or who have engaged with your brand on Facebook. Users who engage with your brand on Facebook can be retargeted for 365 days, while people who have visited the website can be retargeted for 180 days.

In our experience, Facebook retargeting is more powerful than Google, and if marketing spend is tight then Facebook retargeting will deliver a better ROI than Google.

Want to Drive More Traffic, Leads and Sales?

If you need help to capture prospects in this tightening market, get in touch with Retain Media to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation; get in touch with our team today, and don’t forget to check out our Insights for more tips and tricks to transform your digital marketing.

*Source insights by Retain Media

**Source insights by Retain Media

Best practice

Best Practice: Lead Management

15 years years ago, the average car buyer visited 5 dealers on the path to purchase, but by 2019, this had dropped to just  2.3 visits with 40+% visiting just one dealer.

Buyers today are time-poor and no longer physically go from dealer to dealer to do their research. Just as when they’re booking a holiday or buying a new TV, the majority of car buyers are doing their research online, and the dealership website, rather than the sales yard, is now the key asset for generating leads.

The 2022 Deloitte Dealership Benchmarks report states that dealership websites are now responsible for generating 77% of new vehicle leads, whether that is directly through the website itself or by prompting a customer to call or walk-in.

Lead Origin. Source: Deloitte Dealership Benchmarks 2022

How to convert leads to sales.

As you can see from the table above, the dealer website contributes 77% of leads on new vehicles and 22% of used leads.

In an era of same-day delivery and instant gratification, potential customers expect immediate responses, and if they don’t receive them, they’ll simply take their business elsewhere. The image below shows that the best sales staff respond to leads in 10 minutes or less.

Waiting a day, or even an hour is no longer an option if you want to convert your leads to sales. According to Inside Sales, the first 5 minutes following a customer enquiry is key.

Speed of Response impacts conversions. Source: Inside Sales

The quicker you can respond, the higher the likelihood of a conversion.  But why is that?

Because buyers are doing their research online.

In the old days, a lead would either call you or walk straight onto the yard and once they did so, you had their attention.

Now, however, buyers are submitting multiple leads at the same time: on average, for every email you receive, a buyer has submitted an enquiry to 3 other dealers as well. What this means is that you no longer have their attention as you once did – that belongs to whichever salesperson responds first. 

Of course, if you can be the one that responds first, you will essentially own their attention and can potentially stop the prospect from submitting other leads. 

Lead follow-up process.

The key to getting the best result from your leads is having a system and process in place that is underpinned by documentation. Below is an example of a response process that includes multiple contact attempts with the first 3 days.

  1. Auto response email that goes to all leads as soon as the lead is submitted. Include a link back to your stock.
  2. A phone call to the prospect within 10 minutes of their enquiry.
  3. Follow up with an email. Include a quick walkaround video of the vehicle (this can be shot on the salesperson’s phone) to build a personal connection between buyer and salesperson and builds trust and confidence.
  4. Phone call again later in the day.
  5. Call again at a different time the next day.
  6. Email or text the prospect saying that you have tried to call multiple times and will try again at a certain time the next day.
  7. Call again at said time.

This is a very simple lead-handling process but it is one that makes contact 7 times within the first 3 days.

Set yourself up for success.

When communicating with your prospect these four questions will help qualify the customer. The first question gets the customer to sell the vehicle to the salesperson, providing vital information on motivations. The following 3  help qualify the customer further. The four questions are:

  1. What made you enquire about this vehicle?
  2. When are you looking to buy?
  3. Do you have a trade-in?
  4. What is your budget?

With these 4 questions, you will be able to get out ahead of your competitors and give your salespeople additional lines of enquiry to pursue when they do their follow-up. Salespeople are like lightning: they look for the path of least resistance to a sale. These questions can also help identify vehicles that are better suited to the prospect and, more importantly, identify opportunities to upsell. 

Know your numbers.

The most important metric is the Closing Rate. How many leads does it take to generate one sale? Going beyond this, one thing that should be underpinning your process at every stage is the documentation: what happened, when, and by whom.

For an Owner, GM or DP, understanding what is happening to your prospects is key to improving results in the dealership. Every contact and stage needs to be documented and time-stamped. This will give insight into the dealership including:

  1. Closing rate by salesperson
  2. Number of contacts needed per appointment
  3. Number of appointments needed per sale
  4. Are leads being closed out too soon?
  5. If deals fall over, why? Is it price, product, finance, trade etc.

This will help refine the sales process and identify problems within the dealership.

Closing take away.

If there is only one takeaway from the above, it would be this –  be sure to follow up leads quickly and repeatedly to give yourself the best chance of converting them into sales.

If you’re struggling with your lead generation, get in touch with one of our team today and see if we can help.

Best practice

You Can’t Win On the Showroom Floor If You Don’t First Win Online!

In late 2022 the Caravan Industry Association of Australia, in partnership with Retain Media, launched Digital Garage

The ‘Digital Garage’ initiative is designed to support caravan and camping businesses in their digital journey and better position them to meet the needs of consumers increasingly researching and purchasing online.

Since then, several articles with tips, pointers and tools have been published to help caravan and camping businesses meet the buyer online.

At the 2023 Caravan Industry National Conference (May 10-12, 2023), Retain Media presented in one of the dealer break-out sessions.

Brian and Lou’s presentation was titled ‘You Can’t Win On the Showroom Floor if You Don’t First Win Online’ and built on what we have covered in Digital Garage.

You can get a copy of the slides from our presentation HERE.