Acura Bans Franchise Dealers From Using 5 Keywords in Google Adwords


By Brian Pasch

The day has finally come; OEMs are now restricting which keywords their franchise dealers use in Google Adwords to sell their new cars. Acura is telling dealers that they can no longer buy these five keywords:

  • Acura
  • Acura USA
  • Acura Cars
  • Acura Auto

Acura will commit 100% “Share of Voice” for these five keywords and have an ‘always on’ strategy. It looks like Acura is forcing dealers to pay into their marketing strategy and create a more homogenous online experience for specific high volume keywords.

Acura believes that this strategy will provide consumers the content they’re looking for however it will not prevent third parties from buying those keywords.

Websites that collect leads or provide consumer information like,, or would still be able to buy these keywords.

Acura believe that third parties will be paying a premium for buying the five restricted keywords that franchise dealers cannot purchase.  The higher price they believe will discourage third parties. Acura also believes third parties will likely have a lower position in the SERP than Acura.

This is not necessarily the case.  If the landing pages used by Acura are not designed as well as a third party landing pages, which can use structured data and third party consumer reviews, third parties can rank higher.

Bidding on Acura Models

Dealers will be able to bid on terms such as  “Acura TL” and “Acura MDX” but in conjunction with Tier 1 and Tier 2 guidance.   It seems that Acura wants to control channel costs for Acura terms to reduce keyword inflation.  Overlap it seems is not good for franchise dealers.

This is great news for Adwords conquest strategies from competing brands. Can this policy open up the top positions, once occupied by OEM and Acura franchise dealers, to competitors? Yes!

Not Just Acura

In addition to Acura, look for similar restrictions coming from Honda in the coming days.  This is going to be a very lively discussion because dealers who fail to comply will face CMA punishment.

What do you have to say about this new direction in the auto industry?



Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Consulting