Recent research by Google has revealed how digital is changing the car buyer’s consumer path to purchase, showing propensity to ditch the old, unchanged purchase path in favour of the ease of and immediacy of digital.

The research found that 4 out of 5 car buyers were undecided on the brand and model of car they wanted to purchase and the internet widened the breaded of their research.


Consumers are increasingly making use of their second screen (Smartphone, tablet, laptop) to react to offers and placements made from traditional channels like TV or Print Ads.With second screen becoming so ubiquitous to the way we consume information, brands are having to work harder to maintain serious continuity in messaging from TV Ads, to online advertising to landing pages. Consumers make heavy use of search engines during this time to find the offer or placement they just saw. Given SEO is a long tail effort requiring days, weeks or month to rise in search rankings, many marketers turn to SEM to ensure their brand appears immediately to match the TV Ad, this process and matching is generally part of a well rounded marketing campaign.

Landing pages that look different to, or have no connection to the messaging of their ad copy most likely mean a serious blow to conversions. This means that there needs to be a connection or a “scent” between Searched Keywords –> Ad Copy –> Landing page copy/messaging.

Many larger organizations face a common issue of internal silos, there is a clearly disconnected effort between the teams that manage SEM Spend & Write AdCopy vs the teams that manage Landing Pages, Web pages, heading and CTA and Lead Capture funnels.

Lets deep dive and see who is doing this right?

Given I’ve been in the market for a small/medium car recently, I’ve picked the Australian Automotive landscape to examine how a typical car buyer looking to buy a car would research deals.

So lets get started and see who is nailing it and who can do this better. We’ll have a look at the Small to Medium Sector and we’ve picked the Top Selling cars for the period of June 2015. Typically a consumer in the market for a Small to Medium Car would be using the internet as their first port of call for research reviews and more importantly offers given the competitive pricing of these models.

Today, lets have a look at the Top 4 Best-sellers here in Australia in no particular order and put them through the test.

  • Mazda 3
  • Hyundai i30
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Volkswagen Golf

The Hyundai i30 was the best selling car in June 2015 according to CarAdvice  with 5521 sales.

Test Case 1: Hyundai i30 Active X

Google Search Results

Search Term: Hyundai i30 Active X
Search Term to Ad Copy Message Match: STRONG

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 11.50.50 AM

Landing Page

Ad Copy to Website Message Match: WEAK

Comments: The Hyundai i30 is Australia’s best selling small to medium car. Hyundai impresses by matching the Ad Copy to the search term, but after this it all seems to go pear shaped. As you can see the landing page brings you the the generic i30 product page and there is no mention of the offer it presents in the Ad copy. Hyundai’s i30’s product page is absolutely stunning and visually appealing however the purpose of this is to educate the user about the product, brand and features – not particularly about the deal or offer. A potential buyer looking for the deal mentioned on the Ad Copy is instantly lost. They do however have a strong Call-To-Action to organise a Test Drive.




Test Case 2: Toyota Corolla

Google Search Results

Search Term: Toyota corolla sale
Search Term to Ad Copy Message Match: STRONG


 Landing Page Results

Ad Copy to Website Message Coverage: MEDIUM
Comments: Given Toyota holds an excellent track record with sales of this car, its a little surprising to see the Corolla buried more than half way into the page and well below the fold. A rushed/lazy car buyer would easily miss this being below the fold causing a high bounce rate for the page. To their credit, the offer on the Ad Copy does does match the headline “Celebrate the Feeling” and also the matched pricing of $23,990 Drive Away.


Test Case 3: Mazda 3

Google Search Results

Search Term: Mazda 3
Search Term to Ad Copy Message Match: STRONG

mazda 3 Google Search

Landing Page Results

Ad Copy to Website Message Coverage: STRONG

Comments: The Mazda 3 is no doubt one of the hottest selling cars in Australia, Mazda has done a phenomenal job of both the reputation and the marketing the car. Given Mazda’s brand positioning of this new model,  an average buyer is expecting to pay a small premium. Aligning with the premium offering, Mazda has stepped away from providing a Drive Away price but instead focused on product. The message match of “Your first won’t be your last” is matched. However, unless you’ve done your research its highly unlikely an average buyer would know what KODO Design or MZD connect is, so the page does a good job of touring the features. So from a message match perspective, Mazda have done an excellent job.

Mazda3 Your First Won t Be Your Last

Test Case 4: VW Golf

Google Search Results

Search Term: VW Golf
Search Term to Ad Copy Message Match: STRONG

vw golf Google Search

Landing Page Results

Ad Copy to Website Message Coverage: MEDIUM
Comments:  Given the VW Golf model has has been around for a while, the manufacturer is now competing on price and they do a good job of highlighting their Drive Away price of $25,490. However visitors are presented with the entire range of VW’s on the landing page which means the buyer can be easily distracted when looking for a particular model. To make things worse, the page defaults to the Manual model of the car giving a different price to the one in the Ad copy.  Overall, the experience is fine – however there are a few tweaks that would have made it more effective from a message match perspective.

Special Offers Volkswagen Australia



Issues with NOT getting message match

  • Lower Quality Score
  • Lower Ad Rank
  • High Bounce Rate
  • Low Conversion Rate

Getting this RIGHT is critical and you’ll benefit with

  • High Conversion Rate (yay!)
  • Low Bounce Rate
  • Higher Ad Rank
  • High Quality Score

8 Checklist items to NAIL your Message Matching and increase conversion

  1. Ensure you are sending paid traffic to a specific page and not the homepage
  2. Design and Plan Ad Copy and Page copy in conjunction. Work with the respective teams to ensure consistency of messaging
  3. Make the Headline of the Landing Page match the upstream Ads
  4. What is the 1 Action you want your visitor to take? Place it above the fold and test it to make sure it appears above the fold on mobile devices including iPads (second screening on tablets is very common)
  5. Drastically reduce the number of links on the page to keep it distraction free. Remember humans are very click happy!
  6. Summarise copy and use bullet points to match the value proposition in the upstream ad
  7. Use videos to increase effectiveness and conversations by as much as  80%
  8. Use CompeteShark to track content changes and optimizations being made your fellow competitors.


In Summary

Hyundai is spending big on advertising, but could be making even more sales across Australia by better matching their Ad copy to landing page messaging. A more targeted digital campaign could be a very easy way for Hyundai to optimize their digital ad spend and perhaps put more people in the seat of an i30.

Any marketers doing paid advertising are not only having to deal with cost of paid ads going up and the attention span of the average consumer going down but its super critical that an awesome message match is made between search, display and landing pages. This match is a critical foundation of conversation optimisation.


Credit: Think Google, Unbounce

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Kiran is a co-founder at CompeteShark. Kiran obsessively researches all things marketing and technology and loves sharing ideas to see his customers succeed.

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