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Motoroso revs up with a little help from Bing Ads

  Article , Automotive , Customer story

Market network for auto enthusiasts gets more results at less cost

Two years ago, Motoroso.com CEO and founder Alex Littlewood had a moment of inspiration that changed his life forever. As a marketing and sales professional, he was driving digital strategy and achieving great results for his clients at the leading Pinterest marketing and analytics startup, Piqora. Littlewood was also renovating a house and pursuing his lifelong passion for driving and racing just about anything on wheels. He was using Houzz.com as a resource for his home renovation project, which was, as he puts it, “an addictive platform that I valued tremendously.”

Houzz is what’s known as a market network — it connects consumers with products, contractors, interior designers and other service providers, giving them a broad platform to help plan, organize and execute their projects. The site made Littlewood’s renovation project much easier. He realized that Houzz had galvanized a formerly scattered industry, and that the similarly fragmented automotive and power-sports industry needed the same type of platform.

During the evenings and weekends, Littlewood began building just that: a platform that would bring together an incredibly broad and diverse audience of enthusiasts — from classic car brand loyalists to mad scientist types who might hack up different vehicles to create their own customized vision of what they wanted to drive — where they could find ideas, get inspiration and plan their restoration projects and creations.
Better results for less cost. That’s as simple as I can make it. If I look at the quality of the traffic we get for the dollars we spend on Bing Ads, our ROI is fantastic.

— Alex Littlewood, CEO, Motoroso

A startup is born

Photo of Alex Littlewood, Motoroso.com CEO.

Alex Littlewood, Motoroso.com CEO.

As he immersed himself in this online adventure, Littlewood realized his “sideline” project brought together the driving forces of his life: his passion for branding and marketing and his love of all things on wheels. Littlewood committed to Motoroso full-time in August 2013, had a beta site ready by September 2014 and launched it shortly thereafter. The site, whose tagline is “Find What Drives You,” has grown tremendously since then, most recently with the help of Bing Ads.

Littlewood’s passion for adventure and vehicles that go really fast came to him honestly. His childhood included an informal apprenticeship as a tinkerer and amateur pilot. When he was about 12 years old, he and his father, a computer electrical engineer and aviation enthusiast, built a small side-by-side plane and flew it across the country from their home in California’s Silicon Valley to the Experimental Air Association annual airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin (a three-day trip). The show is the largest of its kind, and the young Littlewood got his first taste of what a passionate crowd of enthusiasts looks like. After that maiden voyage, Littlewood and his dad often took the craft out for day trips in California, soaring over the redwood forests to Ukiah or hopping over to San Juan Capistrano for lunch.

Teaming up for an internet marketplace

Meanwhile, in the Midwest, the kid who would become Motoroso’s director of product and growth was growing up in a family of auto enthusiasts who gathered around the TV for the Indy 500 every year. As a teenager, Brian Bagel enjoyed drag racing with his dad — the two of them sharing the family’s 1986 Buick Grand National. When Bagel was learning to drive a manual transmission on his dad’s brand-new Corvette, he came within an inch of backing it into a rock wall. When they surveyed the scene and saw how close they’d come, the senior Mr. Bagel simply said, “No harm, no foul,” and put his son back in the driver’s seat. Bagel explains, “I take that phrase and that idea with me to this day.”

Bagel and Littlewood’s paths crossed while working at Wildfire, one of the hottest startups in Silicon Valley in 2012, and they quickly recognized their complementary professional chemistry as well as their shared passion for marketing, automobiles and power sports. When the time was right, Littlewood brought Bagel onboard, on the same day that Motoroso was accepted into Techstars, a global accelerator and development program for startups.

Bing Ads puts the pedal to the metal

Bing Ads automotive statistics.

Bing Ads automotive statistics.

It was about that same time that Littlewood decided to add Bing Ads to his online marketing mix. “My gut told me we might get more traffic less expensively from Bing Ads,” he explains. “I also had a hunch that the Bing audience was a little bit older and more affluent, which is the target for our business because they have the discretionary income.”

His hunch was correct. Bing’s unique audience tends to earn more, spend more online and have higher levels of education than the wider online audience. In Littlewood’s words, Bing Ads provides “more targeted, more refined, better traffic for a better price.” In September 2015, Bing Ads delivered 21 million automotive industry searchers in the U.S. Of the Bing automotive audience: 

  • 69% are age 35 or older.
  • 77% have attended college.
  • 50% earn $75,000 or more a year.
Bing Ads absolutely has been one of our most effective marketing channels .

— Brian Bagel, director of product and growth, Motoroso

“Better results for less cost”

Bagel, who took over writing ads and managing Motoroso’s paid search activity, uses Bing Ads Editor to write the ads, schedule campaigns and monitor and report on campaign performance. The tool helps him be highly productive in this part of his business. As Motoroso is a small business with limited resources, he’s always looking for the best ROI and found it with Bing Ads.

Bagel explains, “Bing Ads absolutely has been one of our most effective marketing channels. The clicks are more cost-effective than any other search engine marketing channels, and once they get to Motoroso they’re highly qualified. They’re spending a lot of time with us and signing up with us at a rate that’s better than our other paid marketing channels. It performs very well for us and that’s how I look at our return on investment. It’s one of the things that I think is most impressive about Bing Ads.”

And what does Littlewood have to say about Motoroso’s experience with Bing Ads? “Better results for less cost. That’s as simple as I can make it. If I look at the quality of the traffic we get for the dollars we spend on Bing Ads, our ROI is fantastic.”

After an exciting and productive summer in the Techstars program, Littlewood’s next steps professionally are focused on the continued growth of Motoroso.com. And while he still and always will enjoy owning, driving and racing classic cars and motorcycles, over the long term he has another goal that involves a different type of fast vehicle. He explains, “Eventually I’m going to get my pilot’s license and take my dad for a ride.”

Keep reading

See a quick summary of how auto-market network Motoroso gets better results at less cost and reaches a high-value audience with Bing Ads.

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