Brett Morgan, CEO of Florida-based Morgan Auto Group, said managers at his 23 dealerships are offered tailored training on digital advertising -- from how its single-point markets can target local buyers, to how larger stores can customize ads on Google and analyze the results.
Morgan said one of the top managers in the group treats his digital pay-per-click campaigns through Google the same way many dealers "treated [classified] liner ads 10 years ago."
"From a copy standpoint, it's appealing and communicating a strong message to get a high conversion," he said.
Customization, according to Cole, remains "rarer than it should be" for many dealers. Every month, he said, dealers should analyze their goals for the month and tailor ads to meet those objectives.
"It's not setting up a campaign, or letting someone else do it for you, and saying, "I did it,'" he said.
Google offers a variety of services and tools for dealers and their advertising and marketing partners to help analyze and optimize ads and website traffic -- from the AdWords and AdSense services that place ads on relevant websites to testing a company's website for speed and mobile friendliness.
"The opportunity to support dealers is significant," said Guy Schueller, Google industry director of automotive.
"The focus to automotive has been something that we have really put time, effort and people against because we feel there is an opportunity to do it better."
The tech giant has expanded its reach in recent years by working more closely with dealers and affiliated companies as well as increasing its auto footprint through employment and resources.
Google search is ever-evolving due to its complex algorithms as well as the way customers search and engage.
"It used to be more turnkey," Morgan said. "Now, frankly, there's a level of accountability because there's a level of understanding that didn't exist in the past."
More than three out of four car shoppers, according to a report by Google and media measurement and analytics company comScore, used search in the process of purchasing a new car.