Global Search Awards 2022 – Finalists

Well… Almost.

We took a chance this year and instead of just going against all of Canada, we went against the Globe. 🌍

What was our submission?

We’ll Share!


DealerUp & Bruce Auto Group: Supercharging Electric Vehicle Sales in Truck Country

Google Ad Spend

Units To Move

January 2021 marked a bleak moment for many auto dealerships. As COVID peaked, auto sales slumped. But the team at DealerUp and Bruce Automotive Group analyzed data and predicted a looming shortage of vehicles – yet another byproduct of pandemic-fuelled business and supply chain chaos.

Boosting vehicle inventory proved extremely difficult, particularly for high-demand vehicles (pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, and others in the petrol-powered category.

Bruce Hyundai in Nova Scotia, Canada, worked against headwinds:
Secured 50+ electric vehicles (surplus of vehicles due to lower Canadian EV demand).
EV adoption in Nova Scotia was practically nil.
Colder weather/agricultural focus skewed heavily for petrol-powered trucks/SUVs.

Not willing to risk the financial devastation of high marketing costs on top of acquiring the inventory, Bruce and its former in-house marketing agency DealerUp launched a powerful, low-cost paid search campaign.

Implementation & Creativity

Creating Demand Where None Existed

DealerUp is no stranger to seemingly impossible challenges. This time, the team would need to implement new strategies. They had to work within geographic marketing restrictions placed on physical dealerships (unlike up-and-coming online “superstores” that can market across coverage areas. 

Creative focused on demand generation:

  • Raise awareness of the value of EVs.
  • Expand trust in longstanding local/regional customer relationships.
  • Earn customers’ consideration of an entirely new model of auto transportation.

Biggest Challenge

  • Nova Scotia lagged far behind EV adoption curve
  • Colder climates are generally less EV-friendly
  • Agricultural base = primary demand for big petrol vehicles

Overcoming these challenges required smart paid search, integrated with traditional marketing/education tactics. 
The team first analysed search demand via Optmyzr’s PPC Investigator tool. This particular function within the Optmyzr suite indicated very low EV-specific search volume in the market. Google Trends data predicted local interest sufficient for TWO EV sales/month.

As multidimensional marketers, some site traffic was generated in more traditional ways. DealerUp tapped the auto group’s extensive databases of business clients. Direct emails highlighted savings and provincial rebates available for businesses that purchased electric vehicles. Those clients were added to the custom audiences in Google to develop powerful lookalike prospects not yet in the database. DealerUp served Discovery Ads to this now-robust audience of business clients!

Followup emails invited prospects to the landing page, This page promoted the desirable attributes of EVs – efficiency, low cost of ownership, ease of home charging, fun-to-drive performance, environmental-friendliness, etc. Communications also explained the largely unknown incentives for purchasing green vehicles, along with the spinoff benefits of being perceived as a green organisation. 

As one simple proof point, one of the local universities (Acadia) upgraded one of its team vehicles to an EV. The university now has an electric charger onsite at the athletic complex, which also provides a nice PR boost among students and green enthusiasts in the community. 

DealerUp actually created significant, conversion-heavy interest where virtually none had existed just a short time before.

    Campaign INFORMATION

    Results & Evaluation

    EV Units Sold

    Months To Sell