Google does not currently have a dedicated car rental service (similar to hotels and flights), so providers are forced to rely on tweaking their existing ways of working with it.
The fact that car rental brand Hertz is also going through one of those "digital transformation" projects, in the face of stiff competition from the likes of Uber, taxi apps and others, means that traditional uses of paid search are under large scrutiny for their apparent effectiveness.
At the heart of a recent collaboration between Google, Forward 3D and Hertz is an examination as to how the company can move into attribution modelling for its PPC campaigns.
The company says the only way it was able to do this was by creating a "single customer view" when it thinks about its paid search programme.
The problem that Hertz had was that its data was held in multiple places around the empire of franchises and reservation points, so not only was there a marketing issue, but also a number of complex, internal issues needed to be ironed out.
Hertz and Google implemented a number of initiatives as a result of the need to ramp up the car rental company's PPC activity, including:
- Cross-device data
- Contextual information
- Audience measurement
- Utilising display advertising
Here is good (but reasonably jargon-laden) clip that explains more:
Hertz inevitably claims the programme has seen some incredible results (it obviously wouldn't be sharing a case study otherwise!), but the idea that a company can overhaul its entire PPC strategy and start reaching profitability rather than just achieving a return-on-investment is noteworthy.
So, in short:
- Smart List-targeted (using segmented user data) ads now have a click-through rate of more than 34% and CPA is less than 10% of overall search CPA.
- Paid search found to be undervalued by 10% when results were based purely on last click and brand traffic.
- 45x more conversions when "upper-funnel marketing" used alongside PPC.
Hertz director for brand and direct channel marketing, Conrad Doyle, says:
"Having all the data in one single repository could be very powerful.
"We could suddenly have a single view of the customer, which is increasingly important these days."
Whether Google's long-term rumoured entry into car rental metasearch ever comes off is another story, but until then the battle for the digital marketing funds of major providers will take place in the increasingly complex world of attribution and retargeting.
NB:Car rental image via Shutterstock.