Automotive Digital Marketing Agency Produces 3-Year Study on SEM Conversion Improvements

February 20, 2019 0 By admin

Automotive Online Marketing Agency Shares 3-Year Benchmark Comparison Data

When it comes to obtaining automotive conversions, success isn’t solely measured by conversions achieved. Success is dependent upon whether or not a dealer can out-convert its competition.

SEM is one of the most powerful tools an auto dealer can leverage when it comes to securing steady lead flow and growing conversion rates, and therefore it is where the vast majority of their marketing budgets are spent. That’s why it is essential that automotive marketers possess a keen understanding of best SEM practices, and that dealerships have objective numbers to verify results.

To that end, we’re sharing a recent study performed by the automotive digital marketing agency Lincoln Digital Group in which they compared their conversion rates over the past three years against the nationwide benchmarks.

Nationwide Automotive Benchmark Conversion Comparison

Lincoln Digital Group compared its data against benchmarks reported by the leading SEM software provider Wordstream, which gathers its benchmark data directly from its clients’ AdWords accounts. For the agency’s part, it collected its own proprietary data from campaigns spanning all 48 Continental United States with a heavy emphasis on Florida. This particular data set is drawn from 2018.


  • Automotive Retail

Benchmark: 6.03%

LDG: 7.99%

Conversion Rate: 24.5% greater than benchmark


  • Automotive Service

Benchmark: 4.06%

LDG: 16.85%

Conversion Rate: 315% greater than benchmark


  • Cost Per Conversion

Benchmark: $50.54

LDG: $24.25

52% most cost-effective than benchmark

The agency also analyzed PMA vs. non-PMA to show the success of their efforts at targeting SEM within 15 miles of a dealer’s rooftop.


  • Automotive SEM Performance Within 15 Miles:

2018 conversion rate 9.85% vs. 9.53% (2017) vs. 5.93% (2016)

2018 cost per conversion rate $55.42 vs. $50.15 (2017) vs. $71.85 (2016)

Averages 2016-2018: 8.69% conversion rate and $57.53 cost per conversion


  • Automotive SEM Performance Outside 15 Miles:

2018 conversion rate 3.22% vs. 3.82% (2017) vs. 3.07% (2016)

2018 cost per conversion $168.40 vs. $121.45 (2017) vs. 150.96 (2016)

Averages 2016-2018: 3.93% conversion rate & $126.88 cost per conversion


  • 2016-2018 Average Totals, Inside 15 Miles vs. Outside 15 Miles

Conversion rate: 55% better inside 15 miles

Cost per conversion: 54.7% more cost-effective inside 15 miles

These numbers make it clear–with locally targeted SEM conversions are not only more likely to be generated, but less costly to achieve.

Finally, the agency studied 3-year conversion and cost per conversion averages by Make.


  • 2016-2018 Automotive SEM Benchmarks by Make:

BMW 9.12%, $65.24

VW 7.06%, $70.89

Audi 6.16%, $89.80

Strategies for Outperforming Automotive Conversion Benchmarks

The benchmark data here is clear. To learn more and review the full Lincoln Digital Group, read the report in its entirety.

Check back again soon for more automotive conversion data.