Strathcom Media Blog

Digital Marketing for Dealerships

Last-Click Attribution is Fake News

The Stats: Conversion Rates, Goals & Assists

My personal favorite Wayne Gretzky statistic? If you take away all his goals and just count his assists, he would still have more total points in the NHL than any other player’s goals and assists. Combined.

It is worth noting, however, that a certain ageless wonder named Jaromir Jagr might just make this fact obsolete, depending on how much longer he can evade the chapped, grim clutches of Father Time. Especially remarkable, however, is that while highlighting the baffling number of career assists tallied by Jagr, the Great One remains the all-time leader in goals scored. It’s therefore safe to say that not all of his records are threatened by the mullet-icon. Continue reading “Last-Click Attribution is Fake News”

What IS Attribution Modeling?

Ever wonder why the conversion data in your Analytics account is different from AdWords?  That is because of attribution modeling. An attribution model is a rule or multiple rules that are assigned to different touchpoints in a conversion path.  Consumers may interact with multiple touchpoints during their purchasing journey. Attribution models help marketers develop a better understanding of how to optimize their website and online advertising to facilitate a consumer’s conversion path. There are 6 Attribution Models: Last Click, First Click, Linear, Time Decay, and Position-Based.

Google Analytics

Last Click Model

The last click model gives all credit of the conversion to the last ad and the corresponding keyword. This model is best suited for when your advertising goal is to attract people at the moment of purchase, or your sales cycle does not include a consideration phase. This is the default model in AdWords.

In the automotive purchasing journey, car shoppers experience many touchpoints before they commit to a purchase. According to Google, a consumer can have over 900 digital interactions over a 3-month period. By only tracking with the last click model, we are missing out on the hundreds of interactions before the final conversion.

First Click Model 

The first click model gives all credit of the conversion to the first clicked ad and keyword. This model is helpful when tracking initial brand awareness. If you are trying to build your brand, this model will help track when your customers are first exposed to your brand.

Linear Model

The linear model gives credit of the conversion across all of the touchpoints in the path. For example, your Paid, Organic, and Social channels will all equally contribute to the conversion. You will use this model if you want to maintain a presence with the customer throughout the entire purchasing journey. All of your campaigns are equally important during the buying process.

Time Decay Model

This model gives more credit to clicks that happen closer to the time of the conversion. If a customer clicked on your Facebook ad a week ago and never converted, but converted an hour after clicking your paid search ad, your paid search ad will be given more credit to the conversion than the Facebook ad. Advertisers who run short promotions will find this model most useful to give more credit to interactions that happened during the days of the promotion.

Position-Based Model

Position-based model gives 40% of the credit to the first and last clicked ads, and spreads the remaining 20% across all other touchpoints. Advertisers who use this model value the first interaction that introduced the costumer to the brand, and the last interaction that lead to a sale.

Fractional conversion credits are available to accounts that follow an attribution model that attribute fractional credit for each conversion across multiple clicks. The fractions are represented as a decimal such as 0.33 or 0.5 to give an accurate representation of the credit of the keyword or ad.

At Strathcom Media, our advertising experts have the skills and the tools to track all of the necessary touchpoints to understand your consumer purchasing journey. Interested in making the most of your online advertising with attribution modeling? Contact our sales team today to get started on a smarter way to advertise online!

Hero Conf 2018 Wrap Up

Hero Conf wrap up

The 2018 PPC Hero Conference (aka “Hero Conf” for those who prefer to abbrev) has come and gone, and we had the pleasure of traveling down to Austin to attend. As one of the largest online advertising conferences in the industry, Hero Conf attracted attendees from all over the world for a jam-packed three-day PPC marathon. With keynote speakers ranging from heavy-hitters such as Pinterest and Optmyzr, and breakout sessions hosted by some of the best and brightest minds working in the industry, obviously there’s no way to convey every detail of an event so rich in content and actionable information in one blog post. But we wanted to share snapshots of this year’s iteration, both in content and ambiance. Continue reading “Hero Conf 2018 Wrap Up”

The Key Benefits of Google’s Local Pack Ads

Think of the last time you were out and about and found yourself in need of a good or service. Maybe you weren’t familiar with the area or just wanted to find the closest location. Our first instinct is to Google the answer, and with the Local 4-Pack, you are able to see at a glance a map with a selection of results for your area. In just a few clicks, you are connected with hours, directions, contact information and reviews. Clicking through on any of these results or on the More Places link sends you through to a larger map of your area and a fuller listing of applicable results for your area.

Imagine you are a business owner and you want to drive foot traffic into your location. You have a Google My Business (GMB) listing, and keep it up to date and well maintained. You also have Google AdSense set up to run search and display ads and have them targeted to your local area. Now you are ready to take your advertising to the next level. By linking your GMB to your AdWords and enabling location extensions, you have the option to start advertising directly into these local search results.

First announced in 2016 and rolled out in various forms through 2017, Google’s Local Pack Ads (also known as Local Search Ads) have begun to effectively integrate themselves into online advertising. Oddly enough, while these have become increasingly popular in America, we are just starting to see these sorts of ads show up in the Canadian marketing scene.

Google touts Local Pack Ads as having 3 key benefits…

Google's Local Pack Ads

Increasing Visits to Your Business

This is can be an awesome advantage for restaurants and boutique shops that want to able to target the foot traffic in their area or a home service that needs to be accessed on a tight time frame. A lot of our shopping has moved online, and while this can be an amazing everyday convenience, it does have its limitations. While a customer might research a big ticket item online, at the end of the day, going into brick and mortar store can be necessary. When these kinds of purchases happen its important for your customers to know you are in their area and ready to serve. Being listed before organic listings can help ensure your business is getting the impressions that might otherwise be lost.

Encourages Communication with Convenient Contact Options

On both Mobile Search and the Google Maps App platforms, the local search results have prominent call buttons that allow the customer to easily contact your business from the search results page. Note that this call information is linked directly to your Google My Business Listing, so its vital that this information is up to date. Additionally, this information is not trackable through Google Analytics as you might assume after working with call extensions within AdWords. This information is instead available to track through your AdWords account under click attribution. While this option is not available on Desktop, those customers instead have the option to click through to your website’s home page. Clicking through the ad will bring them to your GMB Listing, which then makes contact information available.

One-Click Overview of Your Business

When the client clicks on your ad, instead of being automatically linked through to your website, it will open your Google Business Listing. It allows the customer to get an overview of your business at a glance. Your location, hours, starred reviews, and the map are shown, as well as sections for Q&A, peak hours, and photos. The option to click through to your website and get directions are also available. This is the chance for the customer to get to know more about your business, and in particular, how your business interacts with its community.

While what Google has to say is true, its important not to let the flash of a new advertising option run away with our imagination. Its still a relatively new feature, and there are some outstanding questions on how quality score and keywords effect ad auction and position. This is a great new opportunity, and they are uniquely positioned to reach customers that are lower in the purchasing funnel, like customers that know what they want or need, and are now looking for a place to purchase it. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these ads are in their element when it comes to businesses that are looking to capitalize on spur-of-the-moment transactions. It’s also important to remember that the success of Google’s Local Pack Ads hinges on the businesses interaction within their GMB account. Are the hours up to date; are reviews being replied to; are the questions being answered; are there recent photos and updates? You need to provide the customer with a good experience when they go to interact with your listing, because in some cases it might be the only online interaction they have with you.

At the end of the day, we should be viewing Google’s Local Pack Ads as a fantastic added feature, and not a new marketing strategy. If you already use both GMB and AdWords on a regular basis, it is a great opportunity to capture more advertising space in your immediate proximity. Interested in learning more about the benefits of Google’s Local Pack Ads? Get in touch with us at Strathcom to learn more.

Decoding The New Consumer

Being a Google Premier Partner gives Strathcom access to events held by Google across the United States and Canada, and we got to take part in one such event in Vancouver on March 1st called “Decoding The New Consumer.”

With Google trainings and events, much of the info is about the data they’re willing to share about the trends they see in today’s consumers, and to no ones surprise, today’s consumers want accurate info and they want it now! Today, consumers are 80% of the way through their car-buying journey before they ever step into a dealership, so being in those moments to provide the consumer with what they are looking for can make or break your sales.

One bit of info I was surprised to see was that Google searches which contain “near me” – after years of increasing – are going down in frequency. Why? Because people expect Google to know where they are, so they don’t feel the need to say “near me.” If they search “Pizza,” they expect Google to know where they are, and show them the best option near them – no need to type it anymore. This is an ongoing trend Google is seeing where people are acting more natural with search; instead of ‘Googling something’ they are asking Google the same way they would ask their friends, which is outlined beautifully in this Google Home ad:

With the decrease in people searching “near me,” Google is seeing a 100% increase in people searching “where to buy.”

Next, Jason Fohlstrom took us through what Google and their A.I./Machine Learning arm DeepMind (they have an office here in Edmonton) are working on. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are two buzzwords you’ve probably heard somewhere in the last few years, but most people don’t know that A.I./Machine Learning already play a huge part in all our lives. They will affect 33% of all the world economic markets (that’s $24,000,000,000,000 – yes TRILLION!) in 2018. You’ve probably heard of it in use mostly with Google’s self-driving car project Waymo, trying to learn how to drive itself without causing an accident or killing someone. It has now driven over 5,000,000 miles completely on its own. This A.I./Machine Learning is actually available to everyone running AdWords today, whether it be through a/b ad testing, which AdWords will do by default with the ads in an ad group, and also through data-driven attribution, with which Google will be able to tell you which steps of the buying process should get the credit for a sale. This is better than giving all the credit to the last click in the process or through a linear model (which Strathcom uses) to give credit to all steps within the process. Smart Display Campaigns let you put in some creative, text and headlines, and your target cost per acquisition/lead, and Google will create the ads, figure out who would be the best people to show them to, and change the creative on it’s own as it gets more data on what the user is reacting to. They also announced targeting by life events, knowing who is going through a targetable life event like marriage, buying a car, graduating from college, etc, so we can show your ads to those people.

In the blink of an eye, Google can analyse 70,000,000 signals to show the right ad to the right person at the right time, which would be impossible without A.I and Machine Learning.

Decoding The New Consumer

Lastly, we had a workshop session where we saw how we could better pull audience data to create better audience lists, an audience list being a list of users who we can show specific ads to. One thing that was apparent from this session is that the journey is fragmented; people are not all taking the same road when it comes to purchasing, and the more signals we can collect, the better. At the event, Google announced that Map data will now be included in the in-market segment data, so when google A.I. is looking for the best person to show your Ford ad to, they can see that people search for a Ford dealership in Google Maps and opt to show that person your Ford ad. Another great stat Google shared was that 80% of a user’s time is spent outside of search. We know search is usually the main driver of leads, and that needs to be the first place an auto dealer should be, but considering only 41% of users will actually contact a dealership prior to visiting it, it’s also important to diversify your online advertising portfolio and get what you want to sell in front of the right person at the right time, even if it means that person isn’t going to send you a cold hard lead. What better place to do that than the second largest search engine, YouTube! YouTube has always been known as more of a branding play; you can’t expect to get many leads from it, but it is a platform that lots of consumers use in their journey, including for car test drives, car reviews, car walk arounds, etc, so if you want them to find your business, you should be there.

Google made another announcement at the Decoding The New Consumer event, and that is they will now have CPA bidding for YouTube, which means we can set a target cost per lead, that Google will try to reach using A.I.. You have to be reasonable with it though; if you say you want to have a cost per lead of $2, it’s not going to work. You should start with what you would be happy with as a cost per lead (which should be a little less than what the lead would be worth to you) and then Google will work toward that as well as work toward lowering that.

Many of these insights will be shared on https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-ca/ eventually, so keep an eye out there and here on the Strathcom blog too for more updates on what’s happening in the online advertising industry!

HeroConf 2017: Recap On 3 Days Of Non-Stop PPC

T-Shirt from HeroConf 2017 that says PPC Nerd

From April 17th-20th, I had the opportunity to attend one of the largest gatherings of PPC nerds in North America: HeroConf 2017 hosted in Los Angeles.  This was my first PPC conference and I had no idea what to expect, but I couldn’t have felt more at home at the conference among other people who live and breathe PPC.

It was a busy week filled with learning, networking, and free drinks. Despite all the fun, I came home excited to share my new knowledge with the Strathcom team. Here are my key takeaways about what to expect in the world of PPC in the future.

 

It’s Time to Move on From Last Click Attribution

Attribution Modeling was one of the hottest topics discussed at HeroConf. Speakers from all industries agreed that it’s time to ditch the last click model, and focus on other touchpoints that lead to a conversion. However, there is no magical way of knowing which model is right for you. Speaker Jeff Greenfield of C3 Metrics discussed the importance of not waiting around for the perfect model, but to test and test again. The only way to prove the value of attribution models is to test until you become less wrong. Attribution modelling is extremely important in the automotive industry as we move away from the standard sales funnel, to a customer journey with multiple touchpoints. By ignoring the touchpoints a customer reaches today, we may never see them again for another 3 years.

Integrate Your Paid Social & Paid Search Strategies

Continue reading “HeroConf 2017: Recap On 3 Days Of Non-Stop PPC”

Google Analytics 360

Looking for a way to deep-dive into your customer data and take Google Analytics one step further?

Introducing the new Google Analytics 360.GA360Suite_Vertical_Logo

This new premium paid, enterprise-level solution is designed to help businesses just like yours integrate all of your customer data into one platform so you can easily make sense of it all and create better marketing campaigns. It’s taking advantage of all those micro-moments car buyers experience and giving them the right messages at the right time.

The full suite comes with:

  1. Google Analytics 360 – Formerly known as Google Analytics Premium, this software is coming out with new capabilities over the next couple of months
  2. Google Attribution 360 – Formerly known as Adometry, it has been rebuilt to better help you determine the value behind your marketing efforts and allocate budgets for the best returns
  3. Google Tag Manager 360 – Allows you to add code into your website in a simplified and efficient way, saving Marketers a ton of time
  4. Google Data Studio 360 – Takes data from all products in the Google Analytics 360 suite and converts it all into visual and interactive dashboards and reports
  5. Google Optimize 360 – A brand new website-testing and -personalization tool that will let you A/B-test different versions of your website for better performance
  6. Google Audience Center 360 – This new tool will help you understand your customers better and find more customers just like them

So if you think your team has mastered Google Analytics and just wants more, then Google Analytics 360 and its new product suite may just be the perfect new tool for you!

2014 Paid Search Marketing Expo (SMX) Advanced Recap

Amid the vivid lights and sprawling skyline of Seattle, the brightest minds in search marketing from across the globe gathered for the week of June 9. The home of the Seattle Mariners was host for a team of a different kind: SMX Advanced 2014.

I was there for Advanced Sessions for Paid Search Advertising, and now I’m back to report on what your dealership can take from the latest SMX conference.

Seattle Skyline

Advanced AdWords Workshop

Brad Geddes, Founder of Certified Knowledge and a prominent educator in the PPC industry, led this lecture. Advertisers from a variety of industries joined in discussions about advanced AdWords topics like display advertising, location targeting, quality score, landing page optimization, and the sales cycle.

The key topic was understanding what our customers are looking for and why. People search the web for answers, and it’s your opportunity to use paid ads to answer your customers’ questions. Use your text-based ad to capture a searcher’s attention, and then provide a solution through the landing page. Doing this correctly can lead to higher conversion rates and satisfied customers.

By thinking about the searcher’s needs, and giving them the best solution to their problem, they’ll be more likely to convert and to return in the future.

The lecture went into advanced topics like how to build successful AdWords Campaigns, organizing ideas and topics, and other methods to increase leads. While we won’t go into advanced topics in detail, feel free to contact us if you would like to learn more about how we can improve your paid search account.

Day 1: The Mad Scientist of Paid Search

Bryan Minor, the Chief (and possibly mad—in a good way) Scientist at Acquisio, introduced the first session of the week: Bid & Budget Management. This tool supercharges PPC accounts by fine-tuning budget with real-time accuracy and increasing qualified traffic.

Mad Search ScientistLars Hirsch and Jared Schroder (not to be confused with Schrödinger, although a scientist in his own right) showed us new methods for testing paid search marketing beyond keyword expansion and ad copy testing.

Their work involves testing regression models and analyzing trends to discover the primary secrets of paid search auctions, attributions, and search behaviours.

Strathcom was one of the first companies in Canada to use Acquisio’s Bid & Budget management tool. When Bryan Minor approached me with the idea, I knew that he was on to something. Our test was a huge success, and we now use it across all of our PPC accounts.

We took away some key points from the talk:

Try New Ad Testing Techniques.

Every Paid Search Specialist has different techniques when it comes to testing, but it doesn’t hurt try new ideas. We learned some effective and quick techniques to make testing new ads quick and effective.

Connect Paid and Social Advertising.

Social is here to stay. Whether we like it or not, Facebook and Twitter have moved from the realm of your teenage daughter’s iPhone to the domain of big business. Social advertising mediums represent a big opportunity for the car industry. With new features like Graph Search, Facebook has made it possible to learn more about potential customers with information like interests, location, “likes,” and more. This is a great channel to increase awareness and leads.

Day 2

Conversion Rate Rockstars. This was by far the best session of all. When it comes to improving your conversion rates, it’s all about testing and optimizing your web site. Your PPC account can have the best structure a killer keyword strategy an awesome click through rate but without a great site it will never generate leads.

Paid Search Tactics & Tools. This session was AdWords on steroids. The speakers showed how to leverage analytics and other AdWords tools that are not used to their full potential. There have been 1000+ changes in AdWords and Bing over the past year. Tactics used last year are history.

What’s New?

Yahoo rolled out “Yahoo Gemini,” a new platform that combines mobile search and native advertising into a single marketplace.

Yahoo Gemini

Recent studies found that people were 25% more likely to look at native ads than banner ads, and viewed them 53% more frequently. People were also more likely to share native ads with their contacts and demonstrated greater purchase intent after viewing them.

Yahoo Gemini Native vs Mobile Search

SMX advanced was all it promised to be. I got to meet and learn from great people like Brad Geddes, Larry Kim (Wordstream), Chris Goward, and so many others. I can’t wait for next year’s conference!